Bariatric vs. Body Contouring

Obesity and excess weight are issues that many patients face. Furthermore, the decision to lose weight may be aesthetically motivated or medically necessary.
Patients who are unable to lose weight through traditional methods, may seek medical intervention with bariatric surgery or body contouring.
When deciding between bariatric surgery and body contouring, these four factors must be considered:

  1. Amount of Weight a Patient Needs to Lose

Bariatric surgery (i.e. gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, and gastric band) is a better option for patients with a BMI of 35 or higher who have a much larger amount of weight to lose. Often times, these patients need to reduce their body fat by a significant percentage to improve their health.
Body contouring (i.e. liposuction and surgical tucks and lifts) is typically the treatment of choice for individuals with a BMI less than 35 that want to reduce the size of certain parts of the body.
Overweight patients may elect body contouring because they have hit a plateau in their weight loss, or they would like this procedure to help them initiate weight loss.

  1. Patient’s Medical History

Bariatric surgery helps patients that are considered morbidly obese and are suffering from medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and high cholesterol. Physicians usually recommend this treatment option when weight loss is necessary to improve a person’s health.
Body contouring is considered more of an aesthetic procedure for patients that do not require weight loss surgery to address medical issues. Patients that opt for body contouring may still have health concerns and medical conditions that must be discussed with their physician prior to treatment.

  1. Possibility of Loose Skin Post-Procedure

Because patients experience substantial weight loss at a rapid rate, loose skin is often a concern after bariatric surgery. These patients may elect to have the excess skin surgically removed once they reach a stable weight.
Loose or excess skin is usually not an issue after body contouring.

  1. Recovery Process for Each Treatment

Recovery from bariatric surgery requires that patients undergo drastic lifestyle changes. These changes often include medications, significant diet modifications, and commitment to regular exercise.
After body contouring, patients are instructed to wear a compression garment 24/7 for one month and avoid rigorous exercise for two weeks.
If you are interested in learning more about weight loss options, please call Washingtonian Plastic Surgery today.