News Round Up — Post Weight Loss Surgery
Body Contouring Improves Long-Term Weight Management after Weight Loss
Bariatric surgery can help morbidly obese people lose a dramatic amount of weight and often prevent death from weight-related illnesses. However, after dramatic weight loss, a large amount of excess skin and tissue typically remains and surgery to remove them has typically been treated as a cosmetically-motivated, elective procedure, particularly in the eyes of insurance companies. A new study has shown that individuals who have excess skin surgically removed following medically-assisted weight loss are far more likely to maintain a healthy weight than those who don’t. Insurers will often pay for weight loss surgery because it is considered medically necessary, and researches hope that this study will motivate insurers to treat subsequent body contouring as essential as well since it will increase the likelihood of the individual maintaining their new, healthier weight.
Body Contouring after Weight Loss Leads to Mental and Physical Health Benefits
About 90 percent of people who undergo bariatric surgery and lose significant weight develop saggy, excess skin folds that can cause skin infections and irritations as well as back and joint pain and aesthetic concerns. Only a small percentage of these individuals actually move forward with body contouring procedures that remove excess skin folds, yet almost all of them say they would like to have the procedures but don’t due to perceived costs and affordability. Additional studies have shown that body contouring procedures offer bariatric patients significant mental health benefits, including less anxiety and depression and a higher overall quality of life. Many researchers hope that insurance companies will consider the long term mental health benefits that body contouring can offer bariatric patients and will consider these procedures as essential to the person’s overall health as a healthy body weight.
Study Shows Improved Quality of Life after Post-Weight Loss Plastic Surgery
Excess skin that remains after bariatric surgery can lead to painful skin irritations, dangerous infections and back and joint pain caused by the weight of the skin. However, studies have shown that the excess skin can have emotional, social and mental implications as well, and people who have body contouring surgery to remove the excess skin enjoy an improved quality of life. During a recent study, researchers evaluated the quality of life of patients who underwent body contouring after weight-loss surgery and found a dramatic improvement in several aspects of life including physical functioning and appearance, mental well-being, social acceptance, intimacy and social connectivity. Many experts feel this study is yet another supportive piece of evidence for why body contouring surgery should be considered as an essential element of the treatment plan following weight-loss surgery for morbidly obese people.
Increase in Weight Loss Surgery Leads to Increase in Body Contouring after Weight Loss
As the obesity epidemic has worsened, so have the number of life-saving, weight-loss surgeries. Statistics show that there has been a direct correlation between the increase in the number of weight-loss surgeries and the number of body contouring procedures performed, suggesting that body contouring after weight is truly an essential continuum in the care and treatment of obese patients. Currently, most insurance companies cover bariatric surgeries but only cover about half of the cost of subsequent body contouring procedures. Many doctors argue this creates a true gap in patient care because these individuals can’t truly go on to live full, active and happy lives in spite of their weight loss because of the excess skin. Individuals who are lucky enough to be able to afford the body contouring or are able to get their insurers to cover it report having a much higher quality of life than those who don’t. Experts hope that the continuing mounting evidence supporting the correlation between body contouring and mental and emotional wellness will eventually lead to full coverage for these surgeries by insurers.