04 March 2019
Body contouring, also known as body sculpting, is the term used to describe a wide range of plastic surgery procedures which are designed to reshape and improve the appearance of the body.
At Spire Parkway Private Hospital, Solihull, near Birmingham West Midlands, Consultant Plastic Surgeon Mrs Effie Katerinaki has a special interest in breast and body contouring procedures, helping a number of patients with body shape worries, including those who have undergone dramatic weight loss.
Here Mrs Katerinaki answers some common questions about body contouring.
Q: What does body contouring involve?
A: Body contouring involves surgery to change the shape and appearance of the body. It includes procedures that remove excess skin and fat and improve the contour of various parts of the body including chest, abdomen, arms and legs. These procedures include abdominoplasty, lower body lift, chest surgery for men (gynaecomastia), breast lift; arm lift and thigh lift procedures.
Q: Who is body contouring suitable for?
A: Usually people who have lost a significant amount of weight either through diet and exercise or after weight loss surgical procedures (bariatric surgery) are good candidates for body contouring surgery.
Smoking should be stopped before going ahead with surgery as it increases significantly the risk of many complications, such as wound breakdown and infections, post-operative chest infections and deep vein thrombosis and puts the patient at risk of delayed recovery and poor outcome from their procedure.
Q: If I’ve recently lost weight, do I have to wait before undergoing treatment?
A: It is advisable that the weight has stabilised before undergoing any type of body contouring surgery. The best candidate for this type of surgery is the person who has reached their target weight and can maintain this by following a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. If someone continues to lose weight after body contouring surgery there is the chance that they may end up with more unwanted sagging skin.
Q: What should I look for in a plastic surgeon to ensure I’m getting the right advice and treatment?
A: It is important that anyone considering surgery to alter their body shape and appearance follows the guidance given by the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS).
You should research the surgery you want and be clear about the change you want to achieve. Consult with a Plastic Surgeon who is on the GMC Specialist Register and ask the right questions during the consultation.
Ask about their experience with the procedure you are interested in and find out about all the potential risks and complications involved with the surgery.
You need to be confident about your decision to go ahead with the procedure and therefore a second consultation is strongly recommended. Give yourself some time to cool off before you commit.
Ensure you are clear about the aftercare and who to contact if any problems in the post-operative period.
Q: Are there any side effects?
A: Every surgery has potential risks and complications. There are some general risks that will be discussed during the pre-operative consultation such as bleeding, wound infection, delayed healing, poor scarring, asymmetries, post-operative deep vein thrombosis etc. In addition to these risks each procedure has potential risks and complications specific to it. These will be discussed with the Plastic Surgeon in the clinic pre-operatively.
Q: What happens after the procedure?
A: When ready to be discharged from the hospital, you will be given appointments to return to the Cosmetic Dressing Clinic at Spire Parkway Hospital where our experienced cosmetic nurses will remove your dressings and give you appropriate instructions about further wound care and follow-up appointments in their clinic as required.
You will see your Plastic Surgeon approximately six weeks after the surgery date or sooner if required. You will have been provided with the contact details of the cosmetic nurses, the out-patient department and the ward upon discharge so there will always be someone you can speak to if you are concerned about anything related to your recent surgery.
Q: How quickly could I have a consultation, and how much would it cost?
A: It depends on the availability of the consultant you wanted to see, but we pride ourselves on getting you fast access to diagnosis and you can often get a consultation within 24/48 hours. Initial consultation fees vary by consultant, but around £150 is a reasonable guide.
Q: If I need surgery, how quickly could I have it?
A: We have no waiting lists at Spire Parkway, but again it depends on the availability of the consultant you want, but as a guide, and subject to your pre-operation assessment, around two weeks.
Q: I don’t have health insurance, can I self-pay?