Plastic surgery after major weight loss

Massive weight loss achieved through diet and exercise and/or bariatric surgery is a challenging experience and a great achievement. A patient’s physical and psychological journey to reach their new healthy weight takes months to complete. Our plastic surgeons, Dr Amira Sanki and Dr Ilias Kotronakis, enjoy aiding major weight loss patients complete the final stage of their journey by helping them look as healthy as they feel.

While some people are fortunate enough to possess skin that bounces back perfectly after losing their kilos, many are left looking like an older, deflated version of themselves.

Plastic surgery is not always necessary, but it certainly helps our patients to finally feel healthy, happy and complete.

Plastic surgery after extreme weight loss is both reconstructive and aesthetic. Patients seeking body and facial contouring after extreme weight loss often feel

  • uncomfortable moving because of their loose skin
  • awkward finding clothing as their body is still larger in some parts than others
  • trouble staying on top of skin infections, rashes and thrush
  • more unattractive than before their weight loss journey began.

Staging plastic surgery after weight loss

A full body and facial plastic surgery makeover is most safely performed in a series of operations of 3-7 hours duration each. Dr Sanki and Dr Kotronakis will help plan your surgery according to your priorities and will discuss the realistic goals of each of these procedures. No two people are alike after massive weight loss, and therefore your surgical plan will be tailored to you, and your results will reflect your starting position. A typical plastic surgery strategy after extreme weight loss would include

Operation 1: Belt lipectomy

Operation 2: Brachioplasty and Breast surgery

Operation 3: Thigh Lift

Operation 4: Facelift

Who should not have plastic surgery after extreme weight loss

  • your weight has stabilized for over 6 months
  • you are medically cleared by your GP as being fit enough to undergo extensive surgery
  • you have reduced your risk of wound healing complications by ceasing smoking and maintaining good nutritional levels (iron, B12, folate, Vitamin D, protein)
  • you have the support of your work, family and friends.

You should only undergo plastic surgery after extreme weight loss once

What to expect at your first consultation

A consultation with Dr Sanki or Dr Kotronakis about plastic surgery after major weight loss will typically last 45-60 minutes. Our surgeons will listen to your concerns and goals. Any additional health problems that might affect your treatment will be identified. An examination of your body and face will follow. This is done with great sensitivity and care as we are aware that many patients feel very self-conscious after weight loss.  Clinical pictures and measurements will be used if appropriate or required by Medicare to pre-apply for breast lift or breast asymmetry surgery.

We will then discuss the best course of action to address your concerns. Written information will be provided to you, so that you can consider your options. Surgery for body contouring after extreme weight loss is a big step, so a second consultation to discuss the advice you are given is recommended.

How long will I stay in hospital?

Abdominoplasty, total body lift and thigh lifts are major procedures, so we usually recommend some time in hospital after surgery. Most patients spend 2-6 nights in hospital after these operation. This gives you the best chance for a comfortable, safe recovery and a great result. Breast, facial and arm surgery can be day stay, but we usually recommend one night in hospital.

How long will it be before I can drive, return to work and exercise after plastic surgery for major weight loss?

The time off work required will reflect the duration of your operation and the amount of skin removed. Most people having tummy tucks, body lifts and thigh lifts after major weight loss are able to drive one week after surgery, can return to work after 3 weeks and can gently exercise after two weeks. You can perform stronger exercises eg heavy lifting, pilates after 6 weeks. Patients undergoing breast surgery after massive weight loss can usually return to work and driving after one week.

Which hospitals do Dr Sanki and Dr Kotronakis operate in?

Dr Sanki and Dr Kotronakis are plastic surgery after extreme weight loss specialists based in Kogarah and Miranda in Sydney’s South, and perform their surgery at major hospital facilities including St George Private, Kareena Private, Hurstville and East Sydney Private hospitals. We select our hospitals based on their high standards of peri-operative care and their outstanding surgical equipment.

Is it possible to have an all female surgical team?

Dr Sanki has an all female surgical team available weekly. Surgery can be a vulnerable time for women, and having the security of an all female surgical team can be comforting and reassuring. Dr Sanki’s team are not picked upon their gender, but are picked for their experience, dedication and skill.

Can private health insurance be used?

You can usually use your private health insurance for body contouring after major weight loss if you are significantly suffering physically from your resulting skin excess. Private health insurance usually pays for all your operating theatre and hospital costs, including the post-operative stay. Medicare and your private insurance may also contribute to the doctors’ bills. You can call your health fund and see if you are covered. The Medicare Benefits Schedule codes that are likely to be used are 30171, 30179 and 30177. Cosmetic procedures such as breast implants and face and neck-lifting procedures are not covered by Medicare or your health insurance.

Who should perform plastic surgery after major weight loss operations?

Skin removal after extreme weight loss may sound simple but it is real surgery, and should be performed with sophisticated surgical technique for the safest and best results. It carries real risks, and as such should be considered carefully. Fortunately, plastic surgery after major weight loss in Sydney is safely performed by our highly experienced surgeons.

We recommend that you carefully consider your choice of surgeon. Unfortunately doctors without surgical qualifications beyond their medical degree are allowed to perform surgery. Your surgeon should be appropriately qualified with at least a Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS), which means that they have specialist surgical training. FRACS is the standard qualification required in Australia to perform surgery in private and public hospitals.

Members of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons have a FRACS and specialised training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, including tummy tucks.

Our Sydney surgeons, Dr Amira Sanki and Dr Ilias Kotronakis are fully qualified Plastic Surgeons. They are both Australian University trained, having received Honours degree in their medical schools. They both have FRACS qualifications as Specialist Surgeons in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and are members of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. They both have extensive experience and training in plastic surgery after major weight loss, including the most advanced and up to date techniques. They are committed to giving their patients the safest and best treatment available.

Where to get more information

A consultation with a qualified Plastic Surgeon is the best place to get the right advice. More information on body contouring is available online at the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons and Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons websites.

How to choose your plastic surgeon

Choosing the right doctor is one of the most important decisions you can make when considering surgery. Your family doctor can usually give you good advice. Make sure your plastic surgeon has the only specialist surgical qualification recognized by the Australian Medical Council, a Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons specifically in plastic surgery (FRACS Plast).