Body contouring surgery improves weight-loss outcomes after gastric bypass

Patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery for weight loss are often left with a frustrating problem: excess skin.

And since skin removal surgery is expensive and not always covered by insurers, getting a "new body" after excessive weight loss usually involves dealing with unsightly flaps and folds on the stomach, under the arms or in the torso area.

But besides cosmetic purposes, body contouring surgery may also have long-term health benefits, report researchers in the October issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Better weight control

Patients who had received body contouring surgery after gastric bypass procedures were more likely to have better long-term weight control, said study author Dr. Ali Modarressi, from the University of Geneva in Switzerland.

The researchers compared the weight outcomes for two groups of patients who underwent gastric bypass. In one group, body contouring procedures followed to remove extra fat and skin.

While the patients in both groups lost an average of 100 pounds two years following the surgery, those who underwent body contouring gained less weight: slightly more than one pound per year compared to four pounds per year for patients who received the gastric bypass only.

'Essential' part of success?

A recent study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found that patients who received body contouring surgery after gastric bypass procedures reported improved quality of life. Given the new research, Dr. Modarressi and colleagues believe that skin removal should be an "essential" part of the entire process – and should be covered by insurance plans.

"Since plastic surgery after massive weight loss is mandatory for quality of life improvement and weight loss maintenance in many patients, body contouring must be considered a reconstructive surgery for those who have achieved massive weight loss," the authors wrote.

Source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons

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