Body contouring refers to specialized techniques in plastic surgery that enhance the body shape. These techniques address the following changes that occur with age and weight fluctuations:
Sagging of the upper arms
Volume loss and flattening of the breasts
Excess skin on the back and abdomen
Sagging of the buttock, groin and thighs
How can it help me?
Body contouring removes sagging, excess skin and body fat, thereby improving body shape. The result is an overall improved appearance.
What Happens during body contouring surgery?
Anesthesia General anesthesia, or in some cases intravenous sedation, is available for your comfort during body contouring surgery. Your plastic surgeon will help you decide the best option for you.
Incisions Incisions depend on the amount and location of excess skin and fat to be removed. Incisions are typically placed in locations where they can be hidden by clothing, though this may not be feasible in all cases. Your plastic surgeon will discuss expected incision scarring with you before surgery.
Stages & Procedures Body contouring is usually performed in stages. Your surgical plan is individualized for you and will depend on your specific anatomy and body contouring priorities. Each stage involves single or multiple procedures. Recovery is dependent on the extent of procedures performed.
Tightens and shapes the upper arm by removing excess sagging skin
May be combined with liposuction to further improve the shape of the arm
Results in a more toned appearance
Lifts the breasts by removing excess skin and tightening surrounding tissue
Reshapes the breast creating a more youthful appearance
May be combined with placement of an implant if added volume is desired
Improves the abdomen by removing excess skin
Tightens the abdominal muscles for enhanced shape
May be combined with liposuction for additional improvement of the back and flanks
Lower Body Lift
Improves the shape and tone of the trunk tissues
Improves abdominal shape while treating sagging buttocks, waist, hips and outer thighs
May decrease the appearance of cellulite
Reshapes the thighs by reducing excess skin and removing some fat
Improves thigh contour and proportions
Smooths overall appearance of thigh skin
After your body contouring surgery is completed, dressings will be applied to the incisions. A thin drainage tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to remove any excess fluid. You will also be given specific instructions including:
How to care for your surgical sites
What level of activity to perform and when
What to look for at the surgical site
Medications to take
When to follow up with your plastic surgeon
Following your plastic surgeon’s instructions is key to the success of body contouring surgery. Do not subject incisions to excessive force, abrasion or motion during healing.
The results of body contouring surgery are visible almost immediately. However, it may take more than a year for the final results to fully develop. With time, it is natural to lose some firmness, but the overall surgical results are typically long-lasting. Results are usually well maintained when your weight is stable. Healthy dieting and exercise after recovery are highly recommended.
Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Is Breast Reconstruction Surgery Right for You?
If you are facing the loss of your breast due to cancer or other disease, breast reconstruction surgery may be an option for you. There are several ways to perform breast reconstruction. Your plastic surgeon will work with you to decide the best method based on your overall health, goals and achievable results.
Women who are overweight, smoke, have had previous surgery at the flap site or have circulatory problems may not be good candidates for tissue flap surgery.
Breast Reconstruction Options
Breast reconstruction can begin immediately after your mastectomy or weeks to years later. Three methods of performing breast reconstruction are:
Using a tissue expander, followed by a breast implant (gel or saline)
Using your own tissues (called a flap)
Using a combination of both methods
Breast Reconstruction with Implants
Using a tissue expander, followed by a breast implant, is one technique for breast reconstruction. A tissue expander is an expandable silicone device that is placed under the chest muscle following a mastectomy. The expander is filled regularly with sterile saline causing the tissues to stretch creating a breastshaped pocket. This process requires multiple visits to your plastic surgeon after the initial surgery. About four to six months later, the expander will be replaced with a breast implant. Your plastic surgeon will help you determine the type of breast implant used based on the shape of your desired breast. Implants are available in round and contoured shapes, in several sizes and can be filled with either silicone gel or saline.
PMC offers tissue expanders and implants made by both Natrelle® and Mentor®.
Breast Reconstruction Using Flaps
Your breast can also be reconstructed by surgically moving a “flap” of skin, fat and/or muscle to the chest from another area of your body. The flap may be from your abdomen, upper back, upper hip or buttocks. The reconstruction can be done with the tissue flap only or with a combination of the flap and an implant.
Flap surgery is useful when:
Chest wall tissues have been damaged (i.e. through radiation) and are not suitable for tissue expansion
Extra tissue is desired to recreate a large breast without a breast implant
Extra tissue coverage is needed over an implant
Common Types of Flap Surgeries
The TRAM Flap Fat, skin and muscle are moved from the abdomen to the chest. This is often referred to as a “tummy tuck” reconstruction.
The Latissimus Dorsi Flap A section of tissue from your back is moved to your chest. An implant may be used under the flap to add more volume and shape to the reconstructed breast.
The DIEP Flap These are similar to the TRAM flap, but only fat and skin are moved from the abdomen to the chest.
Other Considerations for Breast Reconstruction
Nipple/Areola Reconstruction The nipple is usually removed during a mastectomy. It can be reconstructed with a small skin flap or with part of the nipple from the opposite breast. The areola around the nipple can also be reconstructed with a skin graft or by tattooing the area to match the color of the opposite breast.
Symmetry Procedures To improve symmetry between your natural and reconstructed breast, your plastic surgeon may perform a lift, reduction or augmentation (enlargement) on the natural breast. If it is important to you not to alter the unaffected breast, discuss this early with your plastic surgeon. It may affect the breast reconstruction method being considered for your case.
Insurance Coverage for Breast Reconstruction
All breast reconstruction procedures, including nipple reconstruction and symmetry procedures, are mandated by law to be covered by insurance companies and health plans. Your plastic surgeon’s staff will help get these procedures approved before surgery.
For more information, or to make an appointment, call: