Body Reshaping After Bariatric Surgery Helps Obese Patients Maintain Weight Loss

First Posted: Oct 13, 2014 05:47 AM EDT

Patients who undergo plastic surgery to reshape their bodies after bariatric procedures successfully maintain "significantly greater" weight loss, a study finds.

Researchers at the Henry Ford Hospital followed 94 patients who underwent bariatric surgery at Henry Ford from 2003-2013, out of which 47 had recontouring procedures. They found that those who underwent plastic surgery to reshape their bodies after bariatric procedures, maintained a greater weight loss as compared to those who did not undergo any surgery.

"As plastic and reconstructive surgeons, we are encouraged by the idea that improved body image can translate into better long-term maintenance of a healthier weight, and possibly a better quality of life for our patients," said Donna Tepper, M.D., a Henry Ford plastic surgeon and senior author of the study.

Bariatric surgery, also known as weight loss surgery, helps extremely obese people to lose weight. This serves as an option to those who fail to lose the desired weight through diet and exercise. This surgery includes several types of procedures that restrict the amount of food the stomach can hold including the removal of a part of the stomach or contract it with a gastric band. Such kind of weight loss can be important and leads to a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease.

"Bariatric surgery has a measurably significant positive impact on patient illness and death," Dr. Tepper said. "However, even with the technical and safety advancements we've seen in these procedures, their long-term success may still be limited by recidivism. There is a high incidence of patients who regain weight after the surgery."

Obese patients go for plastic surgery like face or breast lift otherwise called as tummy tuck or lifts of sagging upper arms, thighs or buttocks, to remove the excess skin and tissue after weight loss and to reshape their bodies. For this study, the researchers looked at individual patient's body mass index (BMI) before the bariatric surgery and 2.5 years after the procedure.

"Of the patients who underwent contouring surgery, the average decrease in BMI was 18.24 at 2.5 years, compared to a statistically significant 12.45 at 2.5 years for those who did not have further surgery," Dr. Tepper explained.

Though the findings reveal that the aesthetic procedures after the bariatric surgeries may lead to improvement in the long term results, the researchers demand the need for further studies to evaluate the changes occurring in BMI after five years including how various types of contouring procedures may help maintain weight loss.

The finding is presented at the annual conference of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons in Chicago.

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