Study shows new ways to look at fat removal

While body contouring has been considered a purely aesthetic procedure, a new report found that the plastic surgery procedure could promote maintenance of a healthy weight following gastric bypass surgery. 

Led by researchers out of the University of Geneva, Switzerland, the study outlined the ways in which removing excess skin and fat greatly improves the lifestyle of those who undergo major weight-loss surgery.

Results that last

By observing a group of 200 patients over  seven years, the researchers were able to determine that body contouring resulted in longer-lasting weight-loss results.

The doctors divided the group into two sections - 98 patients who underwent both gastric bypass and body-contouring surgeries, and 102 patients who only received the gastric bypass procedure.

According to the researchers, patients who had excess skin and fat removed lost 100 pounds within the two years following the gastric bypass procedure.

After seven years, the patients dropped to an average 176 pounds, while those who only received the gastric bypass surgery weighed an average of 200 pounds.

According to the study authors, patients who received body contouring were also less likely to regain the weight over time. Only about 4 percent of the body-contouring patients returned to their initial body weight, while 11 percent of the patients who did not undergo the procedure regained their weight.

Body contouring is essential

An abdominoplasty, or "tummy tuck," is focused on removing a significant amount of skin and fat around the stomach, but it can also be used in conjunction with other body contouring procedures that remove skin and fat from the arms, thighs, buttocks and breasts.

Because these procedures have typically been considered cosmetic, it is not covered by health insurance plans nor is it mandated for gastric bypass surgery patients.

However, lead author Dr. Ali Modarressi suggested that the study shows that the procedure should be an essential step following a gastric bypass to ensure that the patients have the fullest quality of life.

"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," Modarressi wrote in the report.

While the report suggests that body contouring has major health benefits, it might not be the right choice for everyone.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, people in poor health should avoid body contouring. Smokers and those who do not follow healthy diets should also consider changing their lifestyle before undergoing the procedure, the clinic stated.

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