Weight Loss: Cosmetic Versus Dietary

Weight lossThere are various methods for weight loss and while it is always recommended to exhaust the use of diet and exercise, weight loss surgery can be important for those who for whatever reason cannot achieve their goals with dieting and exercise alone.

However, in whatever fashion you choose to lose weight, doing so is important for a variety of reasons. It can help transform your life. It can also help you avoid serious medical conditions, including high blood pressure, back pain and joint problems. In the case of serious obesity, it can even be lifesaving. Weight loss can also encourage you to exercise, eat right and maintain a healthy lifestyle and positive outlook.

For those who choose surgery, it has proven to be a fairly permanent means of weight loss. Although people may fluctuate in weight, the results can be more lasting than with just diet and exercise.

In fact, according to an article on WebMD, a 2013 review suggests that among those who have a lot of weight to lose, weight-loss surgery appears more effective than diet and exercise. The study, comparing one-year outcomes in obese patients who followed a medical weight-loss program versus others who had bariatric surgery, had interesting findings. It showed that both groups lost weight and had improved levels of HDL cholesterol and other obesity-linked biomarkers. However, the improvements were greater in those who underwent surgery.

With that said, many people have successfully lost weight with diet and exercise, and are keeping it off without surgery. But the result in either case—diet or surgery—is that people often find themselves with another dilemma: large amounts of excess skin.

This hidden downside of losing weight occurs as a result of damage to the deeper layers of skin, the dermis, which contains two proteins: elastin, which helps it retract, and collagen, for strength. When the skin is stretched too much through weight gain, these proteins tear and break, resulting in a loss of elasticity and strength.

Unfortunately, while losing weight causes the fat cells to lose their fat, the skin cannot retract. Factors that affect how much skin is left include:

  • Age
  • How quickly the weight was lost (gastric bands are slower than bypasses, for example)
  • The number of children she has given birth (for women)

Post-bariatric body contouring is a cosmetic surgery procedure that solves this problem. According to Dr. Andrew Elkwood of The Plastic Surgery Center (New Jersey/New York), “Patients with massive weight loss, either by post-bariatric body contouring surgery or by diet and exercise, are often left with a significant amount of skin. Although it is wonderful that they have taken off the weight, and certainly it is healthy, quite often their care is not completed at that point. Sometimes the excess skin is not only unsightly but interferes with exercise and living a healthy lifestyle. It can also often be the source of troublesome rashes and infections. There are many procedures that are done, depending upon the area of the body. Areas of the body that are often treated for excess skin go everywhere from the face and neck down through the breasts, the arms, the chest wall, the abdomen, the belly, the back, the buttocks, and the thighs. A regimen for addressing these areas needs to be customized for each individual patient.”

No matter the weight loss system and the resulting need to correct excess skin, almost all of those who emerge from the process testify that their lives are transformed for the better.