More and more people are looking to have body contouring done after losing a significant amount of weight with bariatric surgery. Even though there is an increase in the number of people who have had bariatric surgery looking into body contouring procedures, only 21% actually undergo them. This low number can be attributed to out-of-pocket cost, lack of insurance coverage, limited access to a qualified plastic surgeon and/or a general unawareness that these procedures exist and can really help.
Body contouring may help resolve issues directly related to the excess skin, improve hygiene and improve your quality of life – especially related to self-image. Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t always appreciate the cost-effectiveness and impact on quality of life. Some plans do not cover body contouring despite documentation of medical issues related to excess skin.
A study by Dr. Balague published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery demonstrated for the first time that body contouring procedures could contribute to the long-term success of bariatric patients in maintaining their weight loss. Two groups of patients were evaluated. One group underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RNYGB) only and the other group underwent RNYGB and subsequent body contouring surgery. After seven years following RNYGB, the patients that had body contouring surgery were able to maintain greater than 50% of their excess body weight loss compared to those that did not undergo the body contouring procedures (75% vs. 29.2%, respectively).
More work needs to be done to educate people on the benefits of body contouring, but research shows that this could be a good addition to your comprehensive weight loss plan.
By Molly McBrayer, clinical manager, Roper St. Francis Bariatrics & Metabolic Services