At the recent American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery meeting in Washington DC, much attention was focused on advances in body contouring. This expanding field has seen a sharp focus on patient safety and improved contour after these significant procedures.
After a significant stretch the skin’s capacity to rebound to its original size and shape may be seriously impaired. This can leave unwanted skin folds along the upper arms, the sides of the chest and the torso. The legs may also be markedly expanded and the breasts may have had a huge stretch and then a dramatic loss in volume.
Innovations in the techniques are using some of these skin folds to be “recycled” in such a way that the tissues that would normally be excised are tunnelled to help recreate the curvature of the buttock and an appropriate shape to the breast.
Further adaptations in techniques have been designed to reduce the incidence of delayed healing in lifts to the arms, trunk and thighs, as these long wounds are commonly troublesome and slow to heal.
Of course the most common body contouring procedure, Liposuction, can have a role to play in restoring shape. However if the skin elasticity is poor, liposuction in isolation may give a deflated look and occasion a great deal of skin irregularity due to the loss of the capacity to shrink and smooth the contour down. Thus Liposuction may be required to be combined with one of the more extensive techniques to create good contour.
Another area where major advances have been made is in abdominoplasty or “tummy tuck”. The abdomen is the area most commonly ravaged by weight fluctuations and pregnancy. The stretch to the skin is obvious, but there are usually significant pressures put on the abdominal muscle wall from the expanding uterus or even weight gain. Thus an abdominoplasty combines removing this excess skin and the attached fat with tightening of the muscle sheath to return it to its youthful tone. This has a dramatic effect to narrow the waistline and flatten the abdomen. The scar is designed to be situated as low as possible to make it easier to conceal beneath most clothing. The narrowing of the waistline can be further accentuated by limited liposuction to the flank region which helps to taper and lengthen the waistline.
Adaptations in the abdominoplasty technique pioneered by the French have enhanced the improvement in contour achieved with this procedure and at the same time reduce the complication rate and shortened the recovery. The procedure is most commonly performed under a general anaesthetic and hospitalization for two or three nights is normal. Fine catheters may be left in the abdomen to trickle local anaesthetic around the abdominal wall repair for two days after the procedure which greatly enhances the comfort during recovery.
Much like a caesarean, the muscle wall repair is the feature that tends to inhibit mobility after surgery. Most people will have one to two weeks away from work but it takes four to six weeks to get back to full strength there.
The body contouring procedures are amongst the largest of cosmetic surgery operations. However their effects on body contour can be quite dramatic and they really deal effectively with problems that are not amenable to more conservative procedures. Remember that your surgeon is basically adjusting your skin and muscle wall to fit you, so the slimmer you are, the more dramatic the improvement in shape there.
To book a consultation with Dr Terrence Scamp to discuss Body Contouring in more detail contact our team on (07) 5539 1000.