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Information on Body Contouring

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Body contouring is an umbrella term for several different types of cosmetic plastic surgery that reshape the body. It applies to liposuction and to various lift procedures that can be performed on the arms, torso, and legs. The individual procedures that could be included in body contouring include tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), thigh lift, upper arm lift, body lift, liposuction, thigh liposuction and upper arm liposuction.


Liposuction can effectively remove a lump or a bump or a love handle. This procedure is popular and can help you deal with those last few pounds that you could not get rid of with exercise or diet.

A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) can help you smooth out a pot belly or get rid of sagging skin on the belly. For some people, this sagging tissue is a matter of age, the remainder of a weight loss, or the after effects of pregnancies. Some people have a pot belly because their abdominal muscles have been stretched out of shape. A tummy tuck can repair the muscles and bring them back into a normal position.

There are also contouring procedures that can make the buttocks shapelier. Although many people want a smaller derriere and can achieve this with a buttock lift, others want to add something to the bottom half of their silhouette. For them a Brazilian butt lift or butt implants can help.

In general, a lift procedure is what is done to correct a particular area that is sagging. Lift procedures remove excess skin and tighten the remaining skin to create a more attractive appearance. Sagging skin may occur naturally as a person ages and the skin begins to lose elasticity, or it can result when a person loses a significant amount of weight and the skin is not elastic enough to shrink and reshape it'self to the more slender figure. In either case, one of the body contouring procedures can be very helpful.

Body contouring procedures can make the body slimmer, but are not a replacement for dieting and exercise. They are not weight-loss surgery. These procedures should be reserved for areas of fat that have resisted diet and exercise. The rule of thumb for most types of cosmetic surgery is that you should be within 20% of your ideal body weight before you start thinking about them.

Body contouring surgeries are gaining in popularity as more people are undergoing weight loss, or bariatric, surgery, and need to remove excess skin as a result of significant weight loss. If you are still in the process of losing weight, you should wait until you are near your goal weight. Not only will you be less likely to need a second round of surgery, you will be in better physical shape for the surgery. Rapid weight loss changes the metabolism and can interfere with good healing, so all in all, it is better to wait.

Are You a Candidate for Body Contouring?

Although some body contouring procedures are less extensive surgeries than others, all of them are still surgery. Some lift procedures, such as a tummy tuck or a lower body lift with an incision completely around the torso (a belt lipectomy) are among the most intensive of all cosmetic surgery procedures.

Deciding to undergo cosmetic surgery takes serious thought. Determining if you are a good candidate for plastic surgery such as body contouring can be complicated. You must be in good overall health and free of any active diseases or other pre-existing medical conditions—asthma, circulatory problems, or diabetes, for example—that could complicate surgery and recovery.

You need to be in good mental health, too. The healing process can be difficult and requires a great deal of patience and mental stability. Some people go through a period of depression after surgery. You must be mentally and emotionally healthy before your surgery to ensure that this temporary depression does not worsen a pre-existing mental illness.

If you are seeking body contouring, you should discuss the desired results carefully with a board-certified surgeon to ensure that your goals are possible with surgery. A good surgeon will tell you whether your goals are realistic or not. You and your surgeon can review before-and-after body contouring photos to be sure you are in agreement regarding the desired appearance after the surgery.

Medical insurance generally will not cover the costs associated with body contouring. You will have to cover all fees, which you should determine in advance.

As noted earlier, there are several different surgeries under the overall category of body contouring. Follow the links below to each section with specific information about the surgeries, as well as their benefit's, risks, and information about recovery.

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