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Reaching your goal weight is an incredibly rewarding experience, but losing weight does not always mean your journey to reaching your aesthetic goals is complete. Loose skin is a very common problem post-weight loss, as are issues like genetic fat deposits that do not respond to diet or exercise. The good news is, there are many cosmetic procedures that can help you address these issues. Tummy tucks, body lifts, liposuction, and more are all common body contouring procedures patients seek after weight loss.

We will provide you with a brief overview of your options below to help you decide what’s right for you.

Skin Tightening

Full Body Lift

If your weight loss was very substantial, consider a full body lift. A full body lift tones multiple areas, such as the breasts, buttocks, abdomen, and thighs. It is a good procedure for those hoping to address sagging skin in multiple areas in a single surgery.

A full body lift is performed under general anesthesia and the specifics of the procedure vary greatly depending on personal needs. Your surgeon will make incisions in the various treatment sites and then remove the loose skin. A small amount of liposuction may be needed as well.

In rare cases, a body lift can be performed on an outpatient basis, but the majority of patients will need to spend at least one night in the hospital or aftercare facility. For the days following surgery, you will have bandages and surgical drains in place. You should be able to resume daily activities within four to six weeks, although individual timelines always vary, so follow the aftercare instructions your surgeon outlines for you.

While you can resume your normal routine within a few weeks, it can take four to six months for swelling and scarring to subside and many patients do not see the final results until a year following surgery.

Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

Not every patient needs a full body lift as some patients only have substantial sagging in specific areas. For minor sagging around the abdomen, a tummy tuck will probably be sufficient.

A tummy tuck is performed under general anesthesia. Your surgeon makes an incision, typically from hip bone to hip bone, and then removes excess skin and fat and tightens the underlying abdominal muscles. Then they close the incision with sutures.

Recovery from a tummy tuck takes a minimum of six weeks before full normal activity can be resumed. (Although, as always, talk to your surgeon about your specific timeline.)


Those seeking less invasive body contouring options to address loose skin may be good candidates for Renuvion. Sometimes called a “scarless tummy tuck,” Renuvion works by using plasma energy to contract underlying tissues. Patients that qualify for Renuvion typically have minor skin laxity issues.

Renuvion is a relatively quick procedure, however the times vary depending on how many areas are treated and whether or not liposuction is done prior. Your surgeon makes a small incision in your skin and inserts a device that releases helium gas and radiofrequency energy, which combine to create plasma energy. This stimulates the production of collagen, causing your skin to contract and tighten. You will see improvement in not just the tightness of the skin, but often also the abdominal wall itself.

You need to wear a compression garment for four to six weeks following Renuvion and may experience some minor swelling or pain during recovery. After this procedure, you can resume your day-to-day activities within only a few days.

Full results should appear within six to nine months and results are semi-permanent — meaning weight gain, pregnancy, and aging out of the results are all possible, but the tissues are permanently changed from the procedure.

Other Types Of Body Lifts

Due in large part to genetics, individuals tend to gain and lose weight in different areas. Not everyone holds onto weight in the abdomen, but may tend to gain weight in the thighs, arms, chest, and so on. In these cases, you may need surgery focused in these areas.

Common body contouring procedures after weight loss include:

  • Breast lift
  • Arm lift
  • Face lift
  • Lower body lift
  • Thigh lift

Recovery times for these procedures vary and can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. As with any other procedure, talk to your surgeon about the specifics of your recovery.

Fat Removal   


Genetic fat deposits may remain in areas like the abdomen, arms, and thighs even if you are at a healthy weight. Such deposits are unlikely to respond to diet or exercise and typically require liposuction for removal.

Liposuction can be performed under either general or local anesthesia. Your surgeon will make a small incision and suction fat out using a thin, hollow tube called a cannula. You can return to most regular activities within 5 to 7 days and complete recovery typically takes 4 to 6 weeks, however, the final results will usually take 3 to 6 months to be fully appreciated.

Fat Grafting

You may have areas you want to contour or tone after weight loss. Fat grafting uses purified fat removed via liposuction and redistributes it to areas like the breast, buttocks, and various muscles. You can, for example, remove fat from the thighs and use it to enhance the breasts.

Fat grafting is performed under either local anesthesia and sedation or general anesthesia. Your surgeon will remove and purify fat via liposuction and then inject it into the treatment areas.

The areas from where fat harvested recover the same as standard liposuction. There will be some mild bruising and swelling, but this should subside within a few weeks. You can resume daily activities within 2 to 3 days, but may need to refrain from certain exercises for up to 2 to 6 weeks. As with liposuction, the full results can be appreciated within about 6 months.

Body Contouring After Weight Loss: The Bottom Line

Post-weight loss body contouring procedures can help you address issues like sagging skin and genetic fat deposits. Most procedures are safe when performed by a reputable surgeon and can help you feel good about your body after working hard to lose the weight.

Ready to get started? 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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