Cosmetic surgery options is often seen as a life-changing solution for individuals struggling with obesity. Many individuals grapple with the question: Is it truly worth it, and can the results stick? These are the prevalent concerns that often loom large as individuals contemplate taking the plunge into this transformative journey.
Well, the chance of weight loss failure after weight loss surgery ranges between 20–30%. That means chances of success are 70-80%. Those are great odds.
What are the odds of permanent weight loss without surgery?
“In a meta-analysis of 29 long-term weight loss studies, more than half of the lost weight was regained within two years, and by five years more than 80% of lost weight was regained” – Kevin D. Hall, Ph.D.
In this post, we'll discuss the factors that contribute to weight regain after surgery, strategies to prevent it, and how to maintain a successful long-term outcome.
What are cosmetic surgeries for weight loss?
First, it is important to note cosmetic surgery is not an alternative to weight loss. We require our patients to start the journey and achieve a BMI under 30 before coming to us. At SixSurgery, we provide ways to help the patient to do that but we do offer cosmetic surgeries aimed at improving the appearance of the body after significant weight loss.
These procedures are not designed to help individuals lose weight but rather to address the aesthetic concerns that can arise after substantial weight loss, such as loose or sagging skin.
Here are some common cosmetic surgeries for weight loss:
- Body Contouring Surgery: This is a broad category of procedures that reshape and contour the body after weight loss. Common body contouring surgeries include:
– Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty): Removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen and tightens abdominal muscles.
– Body Lift: Lifts and tightens skin on the lower body, typically addressing the abdomen, thighs, and buttocks.
– Arm Lift (Brachioplasty): Removes excess skin and fat from the upper arms.
– Thigh Lift (Thighplasty): Addresses sagging skin on the thighs.
– Breast Lift (Mastopexy): Lifts and reshapes the breasts after weight loss, often combined with breast augmentation or reduction.
- Facial Cosmetic Procedures: Weight loss can also lead to changes in the face, and some individuals may opt for facial cosmetic surgery to address these concerns. Common procedures include facelifts, neck lifts, and eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty).
- Breast Augmentation or Reduction: While breast lifts are often performed after weight loss to address sagging breasts, some individuals may also choose breast augmentation (implants) or reduction to achieve their desired breast size and shape.
- Liposuction: Liposuction is not a weight loss surgery but can be used to remove stubborn pockets of fat that may remain after significant weight loss. It is often used in conjunction with other cosmetic procedures. Liposuction does remove fat permanently from the body.
- Body Sculpting Procedures: These procedures focus on enhancing the body's contours and may include Brazilian butt lifts (fat transfer to the buttocks) and calf augmentation.
- Face and Neck Liposuction: These procedures can remove excess fat from the face and neck to enhance facial contours.
What can cause you to regain weight after weight loss surgery?
While weight loss surgery can result in dramatic weight loss, it's important to acknowledge that it's not a guarantee against future weight regain. Several factors can contribute to regaining weight, including:
- Metabolic Changes
Following weight loss surgery, your body undergoes metabolic adjustments to accommodate your altered eating patterns and reduced intake. Over time, these metabolic changes may lead to a slowdown, potentially making weight regain more likely unless you remain vigilant.
- Diet and Lifestyle
While surgery helps get you to your ideal weight, it's important to understand that it doesn't eliminate the necessity for healthy eating and regular physical activity. Falling back into old dietary habits and a sedentary lifestyle can pave the way for weight regain. Prioritizing a nourishing, healthful diet that makes you feel your best is integral to long-term success.
- Psychological Factors
Psychological aspects, such as emotional eating and stress, play a pivotal role in managing weight. Seeking assistance and support when needed and practicing patience in your journey to healthier ways of coping with emotions and stress are critical. Integrating these strategies into your overall weight maintenance plan can significantly enhance your chances of success.
- Surgical Changes Over Time: Failing to maintain proper follow-up and adjustments could impact the effectiveness of the surgery.
Strategies to Prevent Post-Surgery Weight Gain
While thinking of the the possibility of regaining weight after surgery might be unsettling, it's essential to acknowledge it and be prepared to stay on track.
Here are some strategies to help you prevent weight regain and maintain your progress:
- Follow Medical Advice & Attend Followups: Your healthcare team will provide post-surgery guidelines for diet, exercise, and lifestyle. Listening to these recommendations is important for long-term success.
- Mindful Eating: Concentrate on nutrient-rich foods and avoid snacking out of boredom.
- Don't Skip Meals: Starving yourself eventually leads to yoyo-ing. Strive for consistent and small wins versus extremes.
- Regular Exercise: Adding consistent physical activity into your routine helps preserve muscle mass, boost metabolism, and sustain weight maintenance.
- Address Emotional Factors: If emotional eating is a concern, find support from a therapist, nutritionist or counselor specializing in emotional health and eating behaviors.
- Stay Hydrated: Hydration can assist in managing hunger and preventing overeating.
- Connect with Support Groups: Engaging with support groups or consulting with a professional counselor can offer valuable guidance and encouragement throughout your surgery journey.
- Monitor Progress: Routinely track your weight, measurements, and other health indicators. This proactive approach can help you identify any weight regain early on and take corrective measures.
- Be Patient: Understand change in lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight and it is okay to be a bit lost. Find excitement in the journey to come.
- Finish having children before your surgery: Surgery won’t affect your ability to get pregnant, but pregnant will definitely change your body shape. Try waiting till after.
The key to sustaining your weight loss achievements after weight loss surgery lies in cultivating enduring, healthful habits. By focusing on crafting a balanced, sustainable lifestyle that aligns with your unique needs and preferences, you can maximize the advantages of your weight loss surgery and experience enduring success in maintaining a healthier weight.
While hesitations about weight regain after surgery is understandable, it's important to acknowledge that success is attainable with the right mindset and dedication. By making informed choices, adopting a healthful lifestyle, and addressing psychological factors, you can substantially reduce the risk of weight regain and enjoy the enduring benefits of your surgery journey.
Remember, you're not alone—lean on the support of your network and the guidance of healthcare professionals to navigate this path successfully. Our team is here to help when you're ready.