For many people an ongoing and very demanding concern, often a daily task, is achieving and maintaining a healthy physique. We all like to feel and look the best we can, but sometimes diet and exercise simply isn’t enough. In such circumstances Body Contouring may help us achieve this goal.
The term Body Contouring refers to any medical or surgical procedure that changes the shape of part or parts of the body through the removal of fat or skin or both together. It involves resizing and reshaping certain areas so that a person’s overall appearance is more balanced and in proportion. It can also include toning certain areas and improving the appearance of the skin.
In Body Contouring surgery, the most frequently performed procedures are the Tummy Tuck, which has several variations, and also Liposuction of various parts of the body. Other types of Body Contouring include several muscle-enhancing procedures, such as calf, buttock and pectoral implants, abdominal six-pack etching, and there are also Arm Lift and Thigh Lift procedures. Such ‘Lift’ procedures are employed particularly when the skin has lost elasticity due to ageing or dramatic weight loss. Many of the procedures can be performed either in isolation or in conjunction with one another, and also with Liposuction, so as to optimise results.
Body Contouring in its many forms, and particularly Liposuction, is becoming increasingly popular Everywhere. Indeed Liposuction is one of the most frequently requested cosmetic surgery procedures in this region of the world.
To understand how the two most popular procedures from the Body Contouring Group are used and the implications for the patient we spoke to Mr Allen Rezai, lead Consultant Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon at Harley Street London. “To avoid any misconceptions, at the outset it should be understood that body contouring should not be considered to be a treatment for weight loss, but as an additional tool employed to correct certain target areas that are not responsive to a balanced diet and exercise,” states Mr Rezai. “Fortunately, however, the result of body contouring is that a person will look and feel slimmer, and also notices an improvement in the way that clothing fits.”
Concerning the use of Liposuction, Mr Rezai explains “Liposuction is one form of what is known as Lipoplasty surgery. It is typically used when localised fat deposits develop in regions of the body and persist in spite of proper diet and exercise. Problem areas that can be treated with Lipoplasty include the arms, inner and outer thighs, upper and lower abdomen, flanks, hips, buttocks, knees and chin. Many of our patients have battled for years to reduce localised deposits of fat and to improve the shape and tone of their body through exercise. However in some circumstances, Lipoplasty is the only solution”.
“The term Lipoplasty,” continues Mr Rezai, “encompass both the traditional form of fat removal, Liposuction, which is used in removal of deeply situated fat, and also Liposculpture, a more modern development of conventional Liposuction. Liposculpture uses much smaller cannulae and involves removing fat from areas much closer to the surface of the skin. As a result, it leaves far less residual fat, and in experienced hands will produce a smoother, more aesthetically pleasing result. By using such small instruments, the plastic surgeon is truly able to sculpt the body in a gentle and controlled manner.”
According to Mr Rezai, Lipoplasty surgery may be carried out under local anaesthetic, local anaesthetic with sedation, or general anaesthetic, depending upon the precise nature of the treatment and the needs of the individual patient. The operation can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours or more depending upon on the volume of fat to be removed. Many patients do return home the same day, however more complex cases will require an overnight stay in hospital.
“Lipoplasty can produce considerable benefits, and these benefits last exceptionally well,” says Mr Rezai. “The result is also permanent, since the removed fat cells will not regenerate. By maintaining a sensible diet, and preferably also by exercising, the patient will be helping to both maintain and even improve the result of their surgery.”
Tummy Tuck surgery is known medically as Abdominoplasty. This procedure involves the surgical removal of excess skin and fat in the region of the abdomen. According to Mr Rezai, there are several variants of the Abdominoplasty procedure. “Firstly, there is the Mini Abdominoplasty,” says Mr Rezai. “In the Mini Abdominoplasty procedure, excess skin and fat above the pubic bone is removed, the navel remaining intact. Then there is the Standard Abdominoplasty procedure in which excess skin and fat between the pubic bone and the navel is removed. In the Extended Abdominoplasty excess skin and fat around the loins and back is also removed. Finally there is the Abdominoplasty with Muscle Plication. In this procedure, in addition to the removal of skin and fat, the muscles over the abdominal wall are tightened.”
“Ideal candidates for Tummy Tuck surgery,” explains Mr Rezai, “include women with excess skin and fat, following pregnancy or weight loss who are not able to achieve their goal through healthy diet and exercise. There are also those who have been left with weak abdominal wall muscles following weight loss or pregnancy. However, as with Lipoplasty, Mr Rezai is careful to point out that Tummy Tuck surgery is most definitely not a treatment to be used for weight loss or treating obesity and a thorough examination is required to determine the suitability of the patient for this procedure. It is important to determine if the excess bulk is external to your abdominal musculature and is treatable with body contouring as sometimes the bulk may be inside the abdomen and will not be helped.”
According to Mr Rezai, the Tummy Tuck procedure is performed under general anaesthetic, and it can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours depending upon the precise nature of the surgery. Patients will also stay in hospital overnight.
“Tummy tuck surgery can produce considerable benefits, and these benefits last exceptionally well,” concludes Mr Rezai. “By maintaining a sensible diet and exercising regularly, the patients will be doing all they can to both maintain and even improve the result of their surgery. Looked at as a whole and with right indications, Body Contouring is able to provide excellent benefits for a person’s physical appearance and emotional well-being, leading the way towards a healthier and more confident life.”
“It is important to understand that there are risks associated with all types of surgical procedures and a thorough consultation with a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon is required to discuss your concerns and goals and to determine whether or not you have the right indications for surgery. There are many factors to be taken into consideration when contemplating surgery and you should be fully informed of the implications involved so you can make an informed decision as to whether or not surgery is the right option for you.” concludes Mr Rezai.