close up of woman's abdomen in a pink spandex shirt and matching yoga pants

Body contouring is a plastic surgery procedure involving a combination of liposuction and fat grafting to achieve a desired hourglass-looking shape. It can be used to reshape the body after major weight loss, having children, or for those who desire a slimmer hourglass shape and struggle to achieve it naturally. 

If you’re looking for a more permanent and dramatic procedure for fat loss and body sculpting and want to go the surgical route, then body contouring might be the right option for you. Like any other procedure, choosing to move forward with body contouring surgery isn’t a decision to make lightly. You want to have all the information needed to ensure it’s the best option for you. Your first step is to schedule a consultation with a licensed, board-certified plastic surgeon. During this consultation, you’ll be able to go over your goals and expectations, discuss what options are best for you, and ask any questions you have to help you make your decision.

Below, we’ll go over what body contouring entails and various questions you may want to ask your surgeon to determine if this is the right option for you.

The Body Contouring Procedure

Body contouring is a surgical procedure designed to give the patient a slimmer appearance and hourglass shape through fat removal and fat injections to reshape the body. Surgeons are able to provide patients with customized procedures and results since they have control over where on the body to remove fat and where to inject and reshape the body. This allows patients to achieve results that fit their desired outcome and create a more natural-looking shape.

Body contouring typically combines liposuction and fat grafting to reduce the amount of fat and size of specific areas of the body and use the harvested fat to accentuate other areas of the body. This procedure is most frequently used to reduce the size of the waist and augment breast and hips to accentuate an hourglass silhouette.

The liposuction procedure usually takes fat from the areas such as the midsection, including the stomach, flanks, hips, thighs, and back. The areas where your surgeon performs liposuction on you will depend on where you are carrying unwanted fat.  This unwanted fat will then be injected into areas to reshape and accentuate the curves. Most patients have the fat injected into their breasts, buttocks, and hips to accentuate their curves. How much fat is injected and where depends on your current curves, features, and desired outcome. 

During your consultation, your surgeon will discuss with you the areas that will receive liposuction and fat grafting, so you go into your surgery with confidence, knowing exactly what will be happening and what outcomes to expect. 

What Questions to Ask Before?

Knowing what the procedure entails will allow you to make a confident decision. Ask yourself and your surgeon many questions before making a decision. Being an educated patient will help you make the best decisions in regards to the procedures you desire. Here are six questions to ask before moving forward.

1. Am I A Good Candidate For Body Contouring?

Even if you have a good idea of what body contouring entails and think it’s the best choice to achieve your desired look, you still have to make sure you’re a qualified candidate for the procedure. Candidacy is determined on a case-by-case basis. Your surgeon will determine if you’re a good candidate for body contouring by examining your problem areas to ensure this procedure will provide you with the results you’re looking for. They will also require a physician to perform a medical evaluation to ensure you’re healthy enough to undergo surgery. During your consultation, it’s important to be completely honest about your medical history, concerns, and expectations to ensure that body contouring is the best option for you. 

2. Am I At My Desired Weight?

One of the biggest misconceptions about body contouring is that it’s a weight loss procedure. While this procedure does remove fat, it is not used to obtain a certain weight loss goal. This procedure simply removes fat from certain body areas and redistributes it to other areas to create a slimming and sculpting effect. It’s recommended that you’re already at or close to your ideal weight before undergoing the procedure. 

Body contouring will help you redistribute stubborn fat and inject it in areas where you want to accentuate your curves. And if you want to undergo this procedure to add to your curves, your surgeon may even recommend you gain some weight first so that you have enough fat to harvest for fat grafting. 

3. What Do Surgery And Recovery Entail?

It’s a good idea to know what the surgery and recovery process is like so you know what to expect and determine if it’s something you want to go through. During your consultation, you should ask about the procedure’s steps, what the procedure day will be like, and what the recovery process and aftercare requirements are. It’s also a good idea to ask what you can expect as a final result, and when you should see the full results and how to maintain them.

4. What Are The Possible Risks And Complications?

Although body contouring is safe when performed by a qualified surgeon, it’s still a surgical procedure, and there’s a chance of experiencing complications. When making a decision about any procedure, it’s important to know the potential risks and complications. Your surgeon should discuss these with you during your consultation and answer any questions you have about them. They should also explain what steps you can take to prevent them, and how to handle the potential complications should they arise. 

5. How Do I Prepare For The Procedure?

During your consultation, the surgeon will give you all details and instructions for how to prepare for the procedure. This should include any lifestyle and diet changes that need to be made, any required changes to your medications, and any arrangements you may need to make for your recovery time. It’s imperative to follow all pre-operative instructions to ensure that your procedure and recovery go smoothly and that you get the best results possible. 

6. What Kind of Results Can I Expect?

Before moving forward with body contouring, it’s important to ensure that the results will meet your expectations and that you and your surgeon are on the same page about what you want to achieve. Since this procedure is highly customizable, results will vary case by case. Your surgeon will review what results you can expect from the procedure for your body.

It’s also important to know that while this procedure can change how your fat is distributed permanently and provides long-lasting results, you’re still responsible for maintaining those results. Excessive weight gain or not maintaining an active lifestyle can change your results over time. If you do not intend to remain active or maintain your current weight, then going through a body contouring procedure may end up not being worth it.

Body Contouring: The Bottom Line

If you’re ready to achieve the body of your dreams and an hourglass figure, and exercise and diet haven’t been enough, then body contouring may be the best option for you. Before making your final decision, it’s important to consult a licensed plastic surgeon and ask questions like the ones presented in this article to make a confident choice and move forward.
Ready to get started? Dr. Leif Rogers, MD, is an Ivy League-educated, board-certified plastic surgeon and a standing member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. If you’re considering body contouring, get in touch with his team to schedule a consultation.

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