KANSAS CITY – The Journal of the American Medical Association’s internal medicine edition just published an article stating that more than 67 million Americans over age 25 were obese. This startling figure is based on data collected between 2007 and 2012 as part of an ongoing study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It is not surprising that thousands and thousands of people in the United States are turning to bariatric surgery to address their morbid obesity. In 2013, 179,000 Americans had weight-loss surgery, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Forty-two percent of those procedures involved a gastric sleeve. Thirty-four percent had Roux en-Y (RNY) – or gastric bypass surgery, and about 14 percent chose gastric banding.
Over time, the majority of bariatric patients lose a massive amount of weight. In the process, they must create new eating habits, be diligent about exercise, and address the emotional and psychological changes that follow extreme weight loss. Follow-up care often includes plastic surgery to remove excess skin and to surgically sculpt specific areas of the body – for example, brachioplasty, an arm lift to remove “bat wings.”
“It is not uncommon to see extreme weight-loss patients at Premier Plastic Surgery of Kansas City a year after their surgeries,” says Dr. Federico Gonzalez, a board-certified plastic surgeon. “They’ve lost the weight, but excess skin in the upper arms, chest, belly, thighs and face is left behind. The extra skin may cause discomfort or problems in getting clothes to fit. My colleagues and I can address these issues.”
According to ASPS, the world’s largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons, thigh lifts and upper arm lifts were the most popular surgical procedures selected in 2014, following significant weight loss. Breast lifts increased 10 percent, and the number of tummy tucks jumped 4 percent. ASPS began specifically tracking procedures related to bariatric surgery in 2009.
“A person’s troubles are not over once they’ve had weight-loss surgery,” says Dr. Moore. “In fact, that’s just the beginning of the process. The weight loss is great, but sagging skin can be painful, unsightly and discouraging. Resistance training for muscle growth helps support some of the tissue, but more often than not follow-up surgeries are warranted.”
If you have had – or are planning to have – bariatric surgery and need a board-certified plastic surgeon as part of your aftercare team, please call the office of Dr. Federico Gonzalez at (913) 782-0707 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Premier Plastic Surgery of Kansas City’s suite is No. 370 in Doctors Building No. 1 at 20375 W. 151st Street in Olathe, KS, 66061.