You’ve lost all the weight, and with body lift surgery, you’ve removed the loose skin and sagging. So, after all the hard work, anxiety and relief, what’s next? Is the journey over? Are you obstacle-free? Well, not quite.
You’ve been through a life-altering experience, and with that, your body and mind need time to heal and adjust. It’s important to acknowledge that, so you can assist in your own recovery and eventually move on …
The Physical Challenges
Recovery from body lift surgery (a post-bariatric contouring procedure) is extensive, which sometimes catches people off guard. In addition to the bandaging and surgical drains, you will most likely wear compression garments.
On the plus side, the surgical results of a body lift are apparent almost immediately. They will remain permanent if you are able to maintain a stable weight (although normal aging obviously results in physical changes).
Recovery can be painful, depending on the extent of the surgery and your perception of pain. You should be prepared for swelling (or even numbness) that can last for weeks and sometimes even months. In fact, most surgeons say that complete recovery and final results take up to a year.
Scarring is a fact of body lift surgery, and scars are particularly distinct up until the first year following the procedure. Depending on the person, the body’s healing process should mitigate scarring. While obviously not true for everyone, in the best case scenario, the scars substantially fade over time, becoming quite subtle.
Although scarring is the tradeoff for such extensive surgery, today’s plastic surgeons are skilled at making the smallest and most inconspicuously placed incisions possible.
Help Yourself Heal Physically
Now that you know what may lay ahead, there is a lot you can do to assist your recovery following body lift surgery. Below are some post-surgical recovery tips. With your doctor’s advice and guidance, explore the following:
- Make strategic use of ice therapy
- Avoid hot showers, which can increase swelling
- Rest and take it easy
- Eat right, and drink plenty of fluids
- Choose the right compression garments and wear them for an extended time
- Explore scar-reduction silicone gels and sheets
- Try massage
The Emotional Challenges
Rush of Emotion
Plastic surgery, let alone something as extensive as a body lift, is a major life event. Many (if not most) people experience strong emotions following plastic surgery. While excitement and elation are a natural result of such a positive life change, it is also customary that an entire range of feelings can result.
Post-Plastic Surgery Depression
There is a phenomenon called post-plastic surgery depression which can resemble post-partum depression. It is a known event among experts who see it often. You’ve dreamed and planned, and now that the surgery is done, there’s a certain letdown or a spontaneous negative reaction that comes from change. Recovery also creates the time and opportunity to focus on these emotions.
Be comforted by the fact that you are not alone and that there are people who can help you. You should seek the advice of your doctor for both the physical and emotional results of your surgery.
Help Yourself Heal Emotionally
What can you do if you feel the emotional upheaval following a body lift? Here are a few strategies:
- Talk it out
- Gain the support of family and friends
- Seek out others with whom to counsel (ask your surgeon for patient referrals)
- Raise your spirits with walking or other approved exercise
- Get professional help, if necessary
A good explanation of a body lift, with Before and After photos, can provide you with a fuller understanding of the procedure, as well as the long-term vision and confidence you will need to create an emotional ballast.
Finally, try to be patient—with the process and yourself. Rest assured that although each person’s experience is her or his own, extensive surveys consistently show an extremely high satisfaction rate among those who undergo the procedures that comprise a body lift.
Let Us Help You Unveil The Possibilities.
The Plastic Surgery Center.