Weight Loss Surgery and Abdominoplasty / Tummy Tuck

It is common for bariatric surgery patients to undergo plastic surgery after the massive weight loss has occurred and a new lower level of weight is stable. Abdominoplasty is a type of plastic surgery procedure performed after weight loss surgery. The paragraphs below provide background about weight loss surgery and the various procedures that would be performed before abdominoplasty.

Understanding Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is an option for people suffering from obesity who have been unable to lose enough weight through regular exercise and a healthy diet. The most popular forms of weight loss surgery are gastric bypass and Lap Band. Both of these procedures involve gastric banding.

People who have unsuccessfully tried to lose weight should contact a bariatric surgeon to determine if they are a candidate for weight loss surgery. Most bariatric surgeons determine the eligibility of candidates based on past attempts to lose weight and body mass index (BMI).

BMI is a calculation of body fat based on an individual's height and weight. BMI has been used as a qualifying factor since the early 1990s when the National Institutes for Health (NIH) established criteria for potential weight loss surgery patients.

The NIH stated that candidates need to have a pre-existing condition related to obesity such as diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure if they have a BMI between 35 and 39. If the BMI is 40 or above, a candidate typically does not need to have an associated condition to be considered for a bariatric surgery such as Lap Band or gastric bypass.

Lap-Band Surgery and Gastric Bypass Surgery

Lap Band surgery and gastric bypass surgery facilitate weight loss by dividing the stomach into two sections, a smaller, upper section, and a larger, lower section. The smaller section functions as the working stomach and helps patients better control their hunger and food intake during a single meal.

Lap-Band surgery is a minimally invasive surgery requiring a series of small incisions. A bariatric surgeon uses a laparoscopic camera to place the belt-like Lap-Band around the upper part of the stomach, creating two distinct sections.

The surgery is typically a same-day procedure and patients are often fully healed approximately two weeks following the operation. Compared to gastric bypass, Lap Band surgery leads to a considerably slower weight loss. A tapering off of weight loss occurs approximately two years after the procedure.

Gastric bypass surgery requires the removal of several parts of the abdomen, which makes it considerably more invasive than Lap Band surgery. A bariatric surgeon surgically separates the stomach into a smaller, upper section, and a larger, lower section while modifying the small intestine so it can be connected to both sections.

Gastric bypass patients typically require a 48-72 hour hospital stay following surgery and are usually fully healed three weeks after surgery. Gastric bypass surgery patients often experience rapid weight loss in the first 3-6 months and notice a leveling off approximately 10-16 months following surgery.

Other types of surgeries available for weight loss are duodenal switch and gastric sleeve surgery.

Locating a Qualified and Compassionate Bariatric Surgeon

People who locate the most qualified and compassionate bariatric surgeon for their Lap Band surgery or gastric bypass surgery will enhance their potential for weight loss and reduce the risk of complications. When researching local surgeons, it is important to be aware of the number of successful procedures a bariatric surgeon has completed and also the level of surgical aftercare that is offered.

Gastric bypass and Lap Band are complex procedures requiring an extremely skilled surgeon. A surgeon should be willing to work with patients once the surgery has been completed. Taking the time to locate a qualified bariatric surgeon to complete the procedure, as well as adhering to the surgeon's directions following surgery, increases the chances of a dramatic and life-changing weight loss.