Body Contouring Surgery: An Introduction

Body contouring is reconstructive surgery to remove sagging skin and extra fat, and to improve the shape and tone of underlying tissue.

The result is a body with smoother contours. Body contouring may be carried out following major weight loss when the skin may not shrink back fully. Areas that are often affected by loose, unsupported skin include the upper arms, breasts, abdomen, buttocks, groin and thighs.

Body contouring is often performed in stages and may take months or even years to complete. Just like diet and exercise, it’s a process that takes careful planning and time. And it’s important to have a realistic outlook on what surgery can accomplish.

“A large part of my practice is body contouring surgery,” explains Dr Matthew Peters. “By removing excess skin and fat, and tightening adjacent muscle and skin layers, I am able to correct both functional and aesthetic concerns people have with their appearance.”

There are many reasons why people may consider these procedures. Pregnancy is a common cause; stretched skin and muscle separation can be corrected by undergoing an abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck. This procedure may improve the abdominal wall appearance but can also improve lower back pain and stress incontinence.

Massive weight loss, through diet and exercise alone – or in conjunction with bariatric surgery – may cause similar concerns but across a wider range of body areas. Procedures exist for correction and can often be combined to minimise recovery down time. The type of procedures that may be considered after a massive weight loss include extended tummy tuck or circumferential belt lipectomy / body lift procedures, thigh reductions, arm reductions, upper back/ back bra lift procedures and neck and facelift procedures.

The breast and chest region often require consideration of what volume and shape the patient desires. Augmentation, reduction and lift techniques exist to address the breasts, and for the men similar techniques can be utilised to correct gynaecomastia.

“Body contouring surgery is a significant decision and not to be taken lightly, but it can be life changing,” says Dr Peters. “There are many operations available however a considered and tailored approach with a suitably qualified specialist plastic surgeon should be undertaken to determine your own personal goals and treatment ideals.”

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Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health professional.