Getting to your goal weight can be a huge achievement, whether through diet and exercise or a surgical weight loss procedure. However, after losing a fair amount of weight, you could notice that you have some excess skin left behind or might not be thrilled about your physical proportions.

After going through a large amount of weight loss, areas like the upper arms, breasts, abdomen, buttocks and thighs could be left looking saggy and deflated. Weight loss typically will leave behind some excess skin, which will not shrink down to the new shape of your body. Skin elasticity comes from functions of age and are also hereditary, and they are not likely to change as time goes on. Plus, after supporting a large amount of fat for a long time, the tissues underneath could have become stretched and now lack tone. Lastly, there could be some stubborn fat deposits that won’t shrink in proportion with the rest of your weight loss, which could result in an uneven look.

Body contouring procedures, which include tummy tuck, breast lift or lower body lift, could help improve your body shape and overall tone. Body contouring might also help you with skin hygiene by reducing the risk of skin rash and infection, which can appear in between the folds of excess skin on some patients. If you wonder whether or not body contouring is right for you, here are some common questions to help you figure it out.

The best candidate for body contouring procedures is an individual who has already reached their goal weight and is committed to keeping it off. Patients will benefit the most if they have excess skin but minimal excess fat. The ideal candidate will also have realistic expectations for their results. While surgery is able to improve overall appearance, each patient will heal differently and with different results.

Recovery time will also vary between patients and depending on the type of surgery that was performed. Typically, a full recovery will take several months. You will most likely be very sore for the first four weeks after your procedure. The use of drains and other surgical garments might be necessary. If you want to optimize your surgical outcome, then follow your discharge instructions carefully.

The extent of scarring after the procedure will depend on the type of procedure used. The chances of scarring can be greater with body lifts compared to liposuction. In addition, if there are issues with wound healing, the scars could end up looking worse.

Other than the general surgery risks, the main risks of body contouring can include wound-healing difficulties, scarring, fluid accumulation, asymmetry and contour deformities. The results and surgical risks associated with body contouring procedures will vary according to each individual. Speak with your healthcare professional to learn more about what approach is right for you.