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Body Contouring Procedures

Overview

Body Contouring Surgery is the general term plastic surgeons use when discussing procedures that require surgical removal of fat and skin. Men can have excess, over-hanging or loose skin in many areas, particularly if they have lost weight through diet and exercise or have had weight-reduction surgery (bypass or lap-band bariatric procedures).

Dr. Birchenough will take time to discuss how to maintain a masculine body shape, while removing redundant skin and fat. While the procedures are technically similar to those on women, men have unique concerns.

Abdominoplasty

Often referred to as a tummy tuck, abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that helps flatten and shape the abdomen and waist by surgically removing excess fat and skin and also tightening the abdominal muscles. The best candidates for this procedure are in good physical condition with pockets of fat or loose skin that haven’t responded well to diet and exercise.

Patients who intend to lose a lot of weight are also encouraged to reach a sustainable weight before undergoing the procedure, since skin in that area typically loosens after substantial weight loss.

What Can I Expect During an Abdominoplasty/Tummy Tuck Procedure?

The procedure takes approximately two to three hours and can be performed with general anesthesia or local anesthesia with a sedative. An incision is made along the lower abdomen allow the fat and skin to be removed. The abdominal muscles (rectus or “six-pack”, muscles) are tightened up if they are loose or separated. Then, upper abdomen skin is then brought down to tighten and flatten the stomach. Drains are typically placed under the skin, and these are removed in the clinic usually seven to ten days later.

Liposuction may be beneficial to supplement areas around the upper abdomen or off to the sides at the flanks, during an abdominoplasty, to optimize the results and final shape. A compression garment or wide elastic belt is necessary to reduce swelling and improve the contour.

How Long Will It Take Me To Recover?

Recovery time ranges from two to six weeks, depending on the extent of the surgery. Lifting and strenuous exercise will be restricted initially. Typically, walking can start within one week, with cardio activity starting within two to three weeks. With a balanced diet and regular exercise, results are long-lasting. Of course, recovery is an ongoing process, so you will be able to do more and more gradually, but as a general guideline, patients are driving in one to two weeks, and back at work in one to three weeks. Specific job restrictions should be discussed with Dr. Birchenough, as everyone will heal slightly differently and have unique job requirements.

What Questions Should I Ask Dr. Birchenough?

  • “Will I need drains?”
  • “What is a “mini-tummy-tuck” and is it better for me?”
  • “What is my sustainable weight?”
  • “Can you do liposuction to help improve a tummy-tuck, or do it in place of a tummy tuck?”
  • “What kind of compression garments should I wear to optimize my results?”

Thigh Lift

A thigh lift is performed to remove excess skin and fat from the upper legs. Candidates typically suffer from loose, inelastic skin after extreme weight loss due to diet, exercise or bariatric (aka weight-loss) surgery. Because of this, the procedure is often combined with others such as abdominoplasty or armlift. The thigh lift procedure is ideal for patients who are in good general health but have excess skin and tissue within the thigh area as a result of the natural aging process, pregnancy or significant weight loss. A thigh lift should not be considered an easy weight loss solution, and are most effective on patients who are close to their ideal or sustainable weight but unhappy with the appearance of their thighs. It is important for patients to maintain realistic expectations in order to be satisfied with the results of their thigh lift procedure.

What Can I Expect During an Thigh lift?

In a medial thigh lift (inner thigh lift), the surgical incision is made in the inner thigh along the line where the leg meets the groin. In a lateral thigh lift (outer thigh lift), the incision is made from the groin around the back of the body, so that the buttocks are lifted along with the thigh.

How Long Will It Take For Me to Recover?

Most patients can return to normal social activities within seven to ten days. Surgical drains are usually necessary to help with excess fluid buildup that occurs in the inner thighs. These typically can be removed within five to seven days. Recovery time ranges from two – six weeks, depending on the physical activity that you would like to do. Typically, walking can start within one week, with light cardio activity starting within two to three weeks. With a balanced diet and regular exercise results are long-lasting.

What Questions Should I Ask Dr. Birchenough?

  • “Where will my scars be located, and can you do anything to minimize them?”
  • “Is liposuction appropriate for me, instead of doing surgery with an incision?”
  • “What type of compression garments should I use to help my recovery?”

Arm Lift

An arm lift, also known a brachioplasty, is a surgical procedure performed to remove excess fat and skin from the upper arms for a more toned, slimmer appearance. Over time, the soft tissue in the upper arm becomes lax and may begin to droop and sag, resulting in arms that appear loose and hanging. Soft sagging tissue on the upper arms may also be the result of a very successful weight loss program either surgical or through exercise and diet improvements. Often, even an otherwise productive exercise program cannot address the inelastic skin and fat deposits that may cause sagging upper arms.

Some men are embarrassed by the appearance of loose skin on their upper arms, (especially in tighter fitting clothing), and seek treatment to restore a, more youthful masculine appearance. This procedure is often combined with others such as abdominplasty or liposuction.

The arm lift procedure is ideal for patients who have a significant amount of excess, hanging skin or fat in the upper arm area, maintain a stable weight and have realistic expectations for surgery. It is also important that patients are healthy overall, with no major medical conditions that may be affected by surgery.

What Can I Expect During an Arm Lift?

The arm lift procedure will reduce excess skin and fat deposits between the underarm and the elbow, reshape the skin and contours of the upper arm, and give the arms a more toned appearance.

How Long Will It Take For Me to Recover?

Again, Recovery time ranges from two – four weeks, depending on the physical activity that you would like to do. Typically, walking can start within one week, with light cardio activity starting within two to three weeks. With a balanced diet and regular exercise, the results are long-lasting. Most patients can return to normal social activities within seven to ten days.

What Questions Should I Ask Dr. Birchenough?

  • Will I require drains to help the surgical healing after the procedure?
  • How long will I have to stay in my compression garments to optimize my results?
  • When will the scars fade?

Body Lift

Also called belt lipectomy, the circumferential body lift is performed to remove excess skin from the torso, and lower back. Sometimes these procedures also address the upper/outer thighs or the sagging skin in the lower chest.

Candidates for body lifts typically suffer from loose (inelastic) skin on many or most areas of the body as a result of significant weight loss due to diet, exercise or weight-loss surgery. Because of this, the procedure is often combined with others such as male breast reduction (gynecomastia) surgery, arm lifts and liposuction to retain a proper masculine body proportion and size. Body lifts can help shape the abdomen, back, buttocks, hips and thighs.

What Can I Expect During a Body Lift?

During the procedure, skin is lifted from underlying tissue, muscles are tightened and stitched and fat is removed where necessary and the skin is sutured closed. The navel is often removed and replaced in its new position.

How Long Will It Take For Me to Recover?

Because of the extensive nature of the surgery, longer recovery times are required. Up to three or four weeks may be necessary to get back to normal activities. However, the results can be life-changing.

Results are visible immediately, but final results of skin contraction and tightening can take up to three to four months. Surgical tubes may be needed for five to fourteen days, depending on the extent and location of the surgery. These help to drain any fluid and patients may need to wear compression garments for a few weeks to facilitate faster healing. Compression garments and wide elastic belts are needed to reduce swelling and maintain the right shape. After surgery patients are encouraged to walk as soon as they are able, although strenuous activities must be limited for about a month.

What Questions Should I Ask Dr. Birchenough?

  • “How many body areas can I have operated on at one time safely?”
  • “Where will my scars be located?”
  • “What can I do to maintain my results once I’ve put in so much to have it done?”