If you are dissatisfied with ugly, excess sagging skin, or fatty tissue excess of your arms, tummy, hips or thighs, Dr. Woods has encouraging news for you. He can recommend either liposuction, or direct excision of the unsightly tissue to give you the body contour you have been hoping for. Good candidates for these procedures would be those individuals who have successfully lost weight after a large pregnancy (or several pregnancies), those who have lost weight after a gastric bypass type of operation, or those who simply put on a few undesired pounds a few years ago and are having trouble working them off. These plastic surgery procedures are NOT substitutes for healthy eating and regular exercise. In most cases, Dr. Woods likes to see his patients give an honest effort for at least six months of diligent weight loss attempts, to include focused dietary control and regular (3-4 times a week, 45-60 minutes each day) exercise, before he will encourage plastic surgery intervention.
Brachioplasty is the name given to arm lifts. They are very useful for patients with “bat wing-like”, floppy upper arm tissue that prevents you from wearing sleeveless blouses. These operations may include some liposuction to thin out the upper arm tissue, possibly combined with surgical excision of the residual skin excess. The procedures will leave a permanent scar along the inside of the upper arm, which must be weighed against the improvement gained by removing the bulky, sagging tissue excess. Surgery time is about 2 1/2 hours, is performed outpatient, and requires 1 1/2 to 2 weeks to return to normal arm use.
Abdominoplasty is also known as a tummy-tuck. It has emerged as one of the most powerful tool in a plastic surgeon’s arsenal of transforming procedures. It can thin out thick, bulky fatty tissue collections of the mid-abdomen, tighten stretched abdominal muscles to create a flat “six-pack” appearance, and remove rolls of excess upper and lower tummy skin. The result is a mid-section that is more athletic in appearance, and one that fits into more attractive and flattering attire. These procedures may be combined with liposuction as well. They require about 3 hours of operating time. The patients seem to benefit from an overnight stay in the hospital and are up walking the first night after surgery. Light walking is recommended for the next 2-3 weeks. You can drive in 7-10 days, and total healing to include lifting, household duties, and sit-ups may take 4-6 weeks, not unlike a C-section or hysterectomy.
The workhorse of many body contouring offerings is liposuction. Traditional liposuction, performed with modern thin canulas, is the gold standard all other body contouring methods are compared to. The excess, bulging fat is actually removed from your body, not simply “melted” or “frozen”, waiting to be absorbed by your body’s waste system. While there is some swelling, the results are seen almost immediately and this fat will not return assuming you do not put on another 25 lbs or so. Advantages of liposuction also include removing sizeable amounts of excess fatty tissues through a few 1/4 inch incisions, a short1-2 weeks of recovery, and early walking to get back up and moving soon after surgery. Abdomen, love handles, outer and inner thighs, back and arms are all popular hiding places for unwanted fat collections that the liposuction wand can reach.
A special topic within liposuction is male breast development, or Gynecomastia. An Ultrasonis version of liposuction is uniquely capable of breaking up the gritty substance of the breast to allow a contouring of the chest tissue into the desired, masculine form.
Additionally, a new and promising use of liposuction is the option of re-injecting the fat removed from an area of excess into an area of fat deficiency. This is known as fat grafting (or fat transfer) and an excellent example would be removing fat from a woman’s tummy and hips to create a waistline, while re-injecting some of the fat into the buttock area to add pleasant fullness in a very feminine way. The possibilities are endless.
Liposuction procedures may take 1-4 hours depending on the number of body regions worked on, usually are performed outpatient, and require the patient to wear a snug compressive girdle or vest (which Dr. Woods will measure you for, and provide for you) for 2-3 weeks to minimize swelling and assist skin contraction into the space that the fat used to occupy. We want our patients to be primarily resting after these procedures, especially for the first week, but want you ambulating early, and for frequent short walks to minimize the risks of blood clots in your legs. Return to regular work is usually 7-10 days depending on how strenuous your occupation is.