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Reconstructive Weight Loss Surgery – What's Involved?


When it comes to the subject of reconstructive weight loss surgery, it may be best define the terms and conditions we are interested in. The dictionary definition of obesity states that it is simply “increased body weight due to excessive accumulation of fat.” Even knowing that much can help those who are concerned about the condition. But what is fat, the thing we have too much of?

Fat, or adipose tissue in animals, is a form of glycerol and fatty acid in a soft, semisolid state. How much fat a person carries on their body is generally determined by how much of the substance is eaten in the food or how much of the food we eat converts to fat. When this process results in an amount of fat that is beyond what doctors consider average a person can become overweight or obese. If a person does not have success with diet and exercise programs, then gastric bypass surgery, lap band surgery and/or reconstructive weight loss surgery may be correct options.

A combination of special diets, exercise and restrictive surgery may produce a significant weight loss. If these programs and procedures are successful there may still be a need for reconstructive weight loss surgery. According to the National Institutes of Health, surgery is usually for men who are at least 100 pounds overweight and women who are at least 80 pounds overweight. If you are somewhat less overweight, surgery still might be an option if you also have diabetes, heart disease or sleep apnea.

Because of the amount of weight (in fat) that is lost, the body may need reconstructive weight loss surgery. For many who lose significant amounts of weight through diet/exercise or weight loss surgery, this large weight loss in a short time results in large amounts of loose skin. (Skin often does not shrink quickly following surgery.) Weight loss patients often choose something such as surgery that will help contour the body and restore the image the individual wants to see.

While most patients can return to pre-surgery levels of activity two weeks after lap band surgery and three to four weeks after gastric bypass surgery, the need may still be there to remove the excess skin with reconstructive weight loss surgery. Typical weight loss with surgery such as lap band is about one or two pounds each week. Patients may lose weight more rapidly with gastric bypass surgery, then lose three to five pounds each week after that. Experience with weight loss surgery has shown doctors that most patients lose 75 percent of their excess weight in the first year to two years.

Surgery should always be performed by a certified plastic surgeon who has experience with weight loss surgery and specifically with reconstructive weight loss surgery.

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