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Remember that flat tight tummy and trim thighs you used to have? The effects of pregnancy and weight fluctuations are most evident on your abdomen, buttock and thigh areas. Watching what you eat and working out regularly are extremely important to regaining or establishing the best look for you. Unfortunately, these modalities can have only minimal effects on the skin and (at times) subcutaneous tissues. That is where body contouring procedures prove their worth. Lax, loose skin on your abdomen, thigh or buttock areas; weakness or loss of tone of the abdominal wall muscles; loss of volume of the buttock area; those pesky areas of fat that won’t go away no matter how hard you try. These are the areas best treated with body contouring procedures.
Fat grafting procedures utilize the fat from one area of the body and implant it where needed, usually for the purpose of enhancing volume and fullness. Fat is typically extracted from body areas like the abdomen, thighs, or buttocks, and injected into another area that requires plumping, such as a patient’s facial features. Fat grafting face areas is a particularly useful facial rejuvenation technique. When used as a facial filler, fat grafting can improve creases and sunken areas of the face, and can also be used to add fullness to the lips and cheeks.
A thigh buttock lift is frequently combined with an abdominoplasty, and this is called a Lower Body Lift, a procedure very common among weight loss and bariatric patients. This involves a circumferential incision through which the excess lax skin of the buttock, lower back and hip areas is removed, elevating and tightening the buttock and lateral thigh skin while removing excess abdominal skin and tightening the abdominal wall muscles. Patients with more significant laxity of the anterior abdominal skin may also require a vertical midline incision to achieve a more three dimensional removal of skin. That way skin is tightened in two directions pulling both down and toward the midline.
The skin of the insides of the legs is typically thinner and less likely to shrink up on its own after major weight loss, and as the skin ages it typically becomes lax and wrinkly. Skin in this area lacks the elasticity of skin elsewhere on the body. In a large number of patients the only way to improve the appearance of this area is to remove the extra skin. This is called a medial thigh lift. Excess medial thigh tissue can typically be removed through a groin crease incision. This will improve the contour of the upper inner thigh and relieve the feeling of the skin rubbing together. For some patients the degree of improvement required is so profound that an extension of the incision along the inside of the thigh, even all the way to the knee, is required. This additional incision is more typically needed in patients who have lost larger amounts of weight.
With the recent popularity of weight loss and gastric bypass type procedures, patients have come to Dr. Murphy’s to address the residual effects of their weight loss, including sagging and redundancy of skin. Plastic surgery after gastric bypass and bariatric procedures are an important part of how weight loss patients can make full recovery in their life. Over the last five to seven years Dr. Murphy has become well versed in surgical rejuvenation techniques for weight loss bariatric patients and has performed hundreds of post weight loss surgery procedures for this group of patients. Although these procedures are typically performed on patients after significant weight loss, they have proven useful for other patients affected by the laxity of skin age can bring, especially in the buttock and lateral thigh areas.
Whether due to significant weight fluctuations or more simply due to the development of lax lower body and hip structures some patients develop significant laxity of the skin and soft tissues of the lateral and posterior thigh, generally associated with sagging buttocks. These patients see a significant improvement in the appearance of all of these areas with a procedure known as a thigh buttock lift. The procedure involves elevation and tightening of the buttock and lateral thigh tissues. It is frequently combined with lateral thigh liposuction. On occasion excess upper buttock tissues can be rotated into the lower central buttock area as a form of augmentation with the patients own natural tissue.