Introduction Considerable weight loss usually occurs after a conscious decision of the individual to improve his health and life. Plastic surgery often comes as a normal next step after significant weight loss. The individual has gotten rid of the excess weight by undergoing a weight loss program or bariatric surgery, and now he wants to improve the appearance of his body. Losing a considerable amount of weight can result in a not-so pleasing body figure. There is skin sagginess, a loss of body shape definition, and some leftover fat deposits that are difficult to get rid of using usual methods. Plastic surgery procedures recommended after weight loss are designed to correct body imperfections that result after shedding off many kilograms. Among them, the most commonly performed ones are the tummy tuck, liposuction, arm lift, breast lift, and thigh lift. Important considerations before undergoing plastic surgery after weight loss Plastic surgery becomes a viable option to improve the aspect of the body only after the weight loss process is complete and the patient has achieved and maintained a stable weight that is closer to the ideal for at least six months. Weight fluctuations are a significant contraindication when it comes to cosmetic surgery, so it is important to keep this in mind before scheduling your procedure. Weight loss is a process with multiple stages. The last step of this process is maintaining the results achieved. For some patients, this step is the most difficult of them all as it usually involves making important life changes. This is why a responsible plastic surgeon would recommend the patient to wait for six months to one year and even eighteen months before scheduling the interventions after the normal weight has been achieved. This is essential for the success of the surgery and also sustaining the results after the procedures. If considerable weight fluctuations occur after undergoing plastic surgery, the results of the initial intervention might be severely altered. Benefits of undergoing plastic surgery after weight loss The main reason why people who underwent bariatric surgery are resorting to plastic surgery is that they want their body shape to reflect their current weight. Even if the patient has a normal, close to ideal weight but a lot of skin sagginess in all areas of the body, the appearance of the body might not be aesthetically pleasing. A defined body contour makes the patient looks younger and more fit. Here are a few benefits of the cosmetic procedures: – The patient will get rid of the excess skin and the clothes will fit and look better on him – The patient will get rid of the infection and dermatological conditions that can occur on the sagging skin – Improved self-esteem and an enhanced body image. Aesthetic procedures recommended after weight loss In most cases, the patient will require one or a combination of these procedures: tummy tuck, liposuction, arm lift, breast lift, thigh lift. The tummy tuck is recommended to improve the abdominal area that is, in many cases, severely impacted by weight gain and loss. An abdominal pouch can be present with a fold of skin descending towards (and even covering) the pubic area. During the tummy tuck, the plastic surgeon will remove the excess skin while also tightening the lax abdominal muscles. This is how we achieve a firm and flat abdominal area. A complete tummy tuck or the extended tummy tuck might be required, depending on the amount of skin to be excised and the position of the skin folds. But the tummy tuck doesn’t deal with the thickness of the fat layer on the abdomen. So if the patient still presents a considerable thickness, liposuction can be performed to reduce it. In a vast majority of cases, I prefer to perform liposuction on the areas operated for skin excision and lifting purposes because the results after the surgery are superior. With the help of liposuction, we can remodel and reshape the body, better defining different areas of the body. Breast lift surgery is another procedure that is necessary for a woman who underwent massive weight loss. Breasts consist of a skin envelope, fat tissue, and mammary gland, so they are also greatly affected by weight loss and gain. This means that when we put on weight, the size of the breasts also increases eventually and when the kilograms are shed off, fat will be eliminated from the bust area as well. In many cases, the skin envelope doesn’t have the capacity to retract on the new contours of the breasts, especially if the ligaments have been overly stretched for a long period of time or if the weight loss occurs suddenly and many kilograms are lost in a short period of time. During the breast lift surgery, the plastic surgeon will remove the excess skin on the breasts and reposition them higher on the chest wall. This will give the breasts a more natural and youthful appearance. Due to the tissue excision that occurs during this procedure, the breasts will be smaller after the breast lift. This is the reason why many patients choose to undergo the breast lift procedure with an augmentation at the same time. Breast implants can be used to give more projection and volume to the breasts. Arm and thigh lifts are recommended to re-contour areas which are sensitive to weight loss and gain. Due to the structure of the skin on these areas, the sagginess can be more pronounced here than on other parts of the body. Depending from patient to patient and the stage of skin ptosis, we have multiple options when it comes to performing these procedures. Again, it is recommended to combine them with liposuction for improved surgical results. After the arm lift, the patient will have better defined upper arms that are free from excessive fat and skin tissue, and the same goes for the thighs. The general appearance of the body is considerably improved after a body lift surgery. Moreover, the patient will find it easier to find clothes that will fit better and accentuate their new body features. Eligibility conditions for plastic surgery procedures after weight loss Not everybody who lost a lot of weight is a good candidate for plastic surgery. There are a few conditions that need to be met in order for you to be deemed as eligible for surgery, namely: You are in good health condition This means you are free from chronic medical conditions such as heart, lung or blood diseases. Patients with a poor health condition don’t make good candidates for plastic surgery in general as they have an increased risk of developing complications. You don’t smoke Or at least you are ready to quit smoking for at least a few weeks before and after the procedures. This is very important as these procedures are usually performed in combination. This means more incisions and multiple operated areas that need to heal. Smoking causes a lack of oxygenation on the tissues which can trigger severe complications such as delayed wound healing, wound dehiscence, and skin necrosis. You keep a healthy and balanced diet If you are still on a strict diet, the lack of proteins and nutrients from food can interfere with recovery, making it more difficult and long. When undergoing plastic surgery, it is recommended to have a balanced diet. This will also help you sustain the results of the intervention for longer. You have realistic expectations Undergoing plastic surgery after weight loss won’t necessarily bring back the body shape you had maybe years ago before the weight gain occurred. The passing of time leaves permanent marks on the body, and it is not realistic to expect to look like you did before putting on weight. Keeping realistic expectations after plastic surgery is an essential part of the success of your intervention. Trust that your plastic surgeon will do his best to provide you with the best possible aesthetic result. Conclusion Undergoing plastic surgery after massive weight loss will improve the appearance of your body and give you a significant boost of self-esteem. The procedures usually recommended for patients who went through a weight loss process are the tummy tuck, arm and thigh lift, breast lift, and liposuction. One or more procedures might be needed to achieve a good result. Keep in mind that even after a body contouring intervention, the skin will continue to be impacted by the passing of time as part of the natural aging process. This means that you will benefit from the new body image for as long as naturally possible if you sustain a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular physical exercise.