What is post-bariatric plastic surgery?

Practically unknown a couple of decades ago, today post-bariatric surgery has become not only a common set of procedures but also a sub-specialty among plastic surgeons.

With a globally sustainable number of increasing obesity cases in epidemic proportions, each day more patients become obese and receive some kind of weight loss procedure. Medical therapies, restraining procedures, as with intragastrical balloons and other weight loss surgeries have become the ultimate resource for morbid obesity.

The risks of an obese patient are well known by both patients and doctors, hence it’s not a surprise that every day more patients seek medical attention for this condition while doctors work very hard to improve procedures and outcomes. Among all available procedures, bariatric surgery, with all its modalities and techniques is one of the most frequently performed and even when the imminent risks are controlled, once the patient begins to lose weight, problems are far from being resolved.

Plastic surgeons have a major concern when dealing with the effects of dramatic weight loss. Post bariatric surgeons as well those achieving normal weight with diet and exercise, must deal with the consequences of weight loss on their bodies. The skin that once was filled with many pounds of fat now is sagged, pendulous and flaccid, and some skin folds are so deep that even proper cleaning of the area is compromised leading to skin infections, rash and pain.

Due to such negative consequences from weight loss, the challenge for plastic surgeons is to restitute normal function, and shape for not only on a particular area but the entire body. That’s why post-bariatric surgeon is so complex since it’s not just a single procedure but a group of procedures intended to restore normal body appearance.

The very first moment after weight loss, patients are happy and enthusiastic about the results but it does not take them much time to realize the secondary problems to deal with after weight loss. Usually their bodies are disfigured, asymmetric and flaccid making it hard for them to wear tight clothes or to expose their bodies on the beach while wearing a swimsuit.

This is when they look for advice from plastic surgeons to correct such bad conditions. Once at the clinic, a specialist such as Dr. Jan Garcia, board certified plastic surgeon, will take the case and will evaluate what’s necessary to do to minimize the impact of weight loss not only on the patient’s body but also on his/her quality of life.

To accomplish such goals, the surgical team utilizes many procedures such as panniculectomy, lipectomy, abdominoplasty, brachioplasty and thighplasty. All of them intended to remove the redundant subcutaneous fat as well as leftover skin to restore normal body contour, remove folds and return the patient a normal weight and nicely contoured body.

Post-bariatric surgery is not an option but usually a mandatory complement for bariatric surgery. Once all the aforementioned procedures are performed, patients will achieve the ultimate goal regarding weight loss, and will feel good because of their normal weight and also feel normal as individuals again.