Weight Loss Surgery Should Be Followed by Body Contouring, Docs Say

The practice of weight loss surgery- a procedure during which the capacity to consume and or absorb calories is inhibited- is somewhat controversial despite its growing popularity in an increasingly obese America.

Many overweight people find the trend upsetting and dangerous, and others criticize that diet and exercise should be sufficient to enable significant weight loss. That doesn’t even take into account the risks inherent in the practice- just this month, a fifth patient in California died immediately following Lap-Band surgery, which is generally considered the safest form of the procedure.

Patients who have undergone weight loss surgery face additional challenges along with their sometimes dramatic slim-downs. Rapid weight loss under any circumstance can lead to loose skin, a side-effect that is almost always resistant to non-surgical toning methods like exercise or weight training. And a small survey of patients after surgery- the results of which were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons- reveals few opt for the procedure even though without it, they report a decreased quality of life.

Although body contouring after plastic surgery sounds cosmetic, surgeons say it’s really “reconstructive.” Jason Spector of Weill Cornell Medical College told Reuters:

“In order to complete the journey, patients really do need to undergo the appropriate post-bariatric body contouring. Even though that has a slightly cosmetic ring to it, it’s certainly something that we, as plastic surgeons, would consider reconstructive.”

Spector spoke of a patient who was denied the procedure after weight loss surgery, only to suffer an injury when loose skin was caught in her car’s seat as she adjusted it:

“A large piece of skin was ripped off and caused a big open wound and subsequent infection. Up to that point, her insurance company had told her, ‘sorry, you can’t have the surgery. You don’t need it.”

According to the news site, the surgery carries a price tag of about $13,000 on average in the US.