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Excess Skin Removal After Extreme Weight Loss (cont.)

What Happens During the Excess Skin Removal Procedure?

The procedures are performed with the patient under general anesthesia. The more extensive or involved procedures are often performed in a hospital. Tummy tucks, arm lifts, liposuction, and inner thigh lifts may be performed in a day surgical setting on an outpatient basis, depending upon the extent of the procedure.

Hypothermia (the body becoming too cold) is a concern for major procedures. Hypothermia must be prevented because it increases the risk of lung problems, infection, and bleeding, and hypothermia also slows wound healing. The patient's temperature must be kept above 35 ºC (95 ºF).

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) must also be prevented with compression stockings, a medication called low molecular weight heparin, or both. Because birth control pills increase the risk of DVT, the patient may be advised to stop taking them prior to surgery.

What Happens After the Excess Skin Removal Procedure?

Recuperating from extensive surgical procedures can take time. Most people remain in the hospital for 24-48 hours after the surgery. Walking is important on the day of surgery. Sutures generally dissolve or are removed after a few days, and drains (if used) are usually removed after one to three weeks. Many surgeons advise using compression garments to improve long-term contour. Physical therapy may be necessary for help with return to full activities in this patient population after extensive procedures, especially those involving the arms.

After a high lateral tension abdominoplasty or inner thigh lift, it's usually a few days until the person can walk normally, a few weeks until the person is able to carry 10-15 pounds, and a few months before full or vigorous activity is possible. This is in contrast to liposuction, for which return to full activity is often measured in days.

Last Reviewed 11/21/2017
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