Your Health: Plastic Surgery After Weight Loss Part 2
Published November 21st, 2013
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Can plastic surgery make you a healthier person?
Some doctors say yes, as new research shows tummy tucks and other procedures can actually help maintain weight loss results.
Dramatic weight loss should be a reason to celebrate, but for many obese patients who find themselves left with extra skin, the results are sometimes less than desired. New research shows more people turning to plastic surgery... and finding promising results in the long run.
Rachel Ivory says two children led to weight gain that wasn't easily reversed. At her heaviest, she weighed around 278 pounds. Deciding it was time for a change, she had gastric bypass surgery in 2008. She lost more than 130 pounds.
"You lost all that weight you should feel so good about yourself," she says, "and yet you still don't feel good about yourself."
Extra skin was weighing on her both physically and emotionally.
"It was interfering in my life. I couldn't exercise, I didn't want my husband or my children to see me in a bathing suit, and it almost was like a depression," Ivory says.
She decided to have it removed, starting with a lower body lift and then a breast reduction. That was two years ago, and since then Ivory says life changed dramatically.
"I feel like a new me, and Dr. Mast was very supportive of that," Ivory says.
Dr. Bruce Mast, Ivory's plastic surgeon, is the Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at UF Health. He says skin removal can be an integral part of the weight loss process.
"Some of them actually feel worse about their physical appearance after the weight loss than they did when they were morbidly obese," he says, "because the obesity, although is out of the norm, is still considered a normal body shape, but with excess skin, they really feel deformed."
A new study from Swiss researchers shows bariatric patients who have skin removal surgery are more likely to keep weight off, regaining an average of 1 pound per year versus 4 pounds per year in those who didn't have body contouring.
"They're not only healthier from the weight loss, but they're also healthier from a psychological and emotional state as well," Mast says.
That health can result in long term wellness, something ivory says she's looking forward to after years of hard work getting healthy.
"My gastric bypass was the best thing I think that I've ever done for myself, but second to that would be my plastic surgery," she says.
She's not alone.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons says the number of tummy tuck procedures performed each year has risen more than 70% since 2000.
Even more impressive, the number of arm lifts known as brachioplasty rose more than 4,000% in the same time frame.
Ivory says she hopes plastic surgery continues to become more accepted in today's culture. If current trends continue that's a likely outcome.
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