A Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania plastic surgeon says a new medical technique gives weight loss patients dramatic results after undergoing weight loss surgery. “The whole field of plastic surgery after weight loss is fairly new and is developing very rapidly, especially over the last decade,” says Dr. Peter Rubin, a board certified plastic surgeon and the founder and director of University of Pittsburgh’s Medical Center’s Life After Weight Lossprogram. Rubin says weight loss surgery can change lives, especially for patients who have lost 100 pounds or more.
Many Weight Loss Patients Have Problems With Excess Skin
There are many types of problems patients can develop after weight loss; some problems are linked to how much excess skin a person has and where it’s located. “It’s related in a large way to a person’s body type, age, if they are smokers, and how much weight they’ve lost. Patients who have lost a tremendous amount of weight, over 100 pounds, tend to have more problems than patients who have lost less weight,” says Rubin.
Excess skin can interfere with comfort, self-esteem and body image. Rubin says, “More importantly, it’s a daily reminder of the state of obesity that they’re trying to move away from.” Patients come to plastic surgeons for problems concerning the skin on all parts of the body. Some of the common areas for excess skin are the abdomen, the thigh, the buttock and arms. Rubin says, “One very important area we work on for females is breast lifting or breast re-shaping after weight loss.”
Medical Advances in Re-shaping the Breast after Weight Loss
Dr. Rubin says re-shaping of the breast after weight loss has been a very challenging area in plastic surgery. “Over the last ten years we’ve developed some specialized techniques that give us the ability to make significant changes to breast shape. Some of the technical advances have involved the concept of us being able to not only re-shape the tissue that is there, but also move additional tissue into the breast from the side of the chest,” states Rubin.
Rubin says fat is borrowed from other areas of the body and placed into the breast so there is a better shape and so that the patient has their own natural volume. “It is fat tissue, but other than fat grafting, we’re re-positioning tissue that is next to the breast and moving that into the breast. That’s usually an area where patients would like that fat removed anyway,” says Rubin. He says rather than removing the tissue and throwing it away, with this technique surgeons are able to re-position the tissue and put it to better use. The difficulty in re-shaping the breast after a dramatic weight loss is the tissues are stretched out and they’ve lost elasticity. “Therefore, we’ve had to develop new techniques where we can create an internal brassiere in the breast using a patient’s own tissue to support and suspend the structures of the breast,” says Rubin.
Internal Brassiere is Made Using Patient’s Own Tissue
Without relying on implants or any artificial materials, Rubin says, we’re able to use a patient’s own tissues to make a new supporting structure inside the breast and achieve a shape that would be almost impossible to achieve with other techniques. “Creating an internal brassiere in new and more powerful ways has been very successful, allowing us to achieve results that were not possible with other techniques.”