Obesity and the Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Velda Ling Yu CHOW - Council Member, HKOS

Management of obese patients comprises a multidisciplinary team approach. Recent advances in metabolic surgery and bariatric surgery offers a chance of weight loss in carefully selected patients.

Massive weight reduction is defined as the loss of greater than 100lb of weight or 100% above a person’s ideal weight. It can cause significant cosmetic as well as functional problems. For example, sagging skin over the abdomen, breast, upper and/or lower extremities not only poses hygiene and intertrigo problems, but it may also cause back pain and discomfort from friction on movement. The goal of body contouring in these patients is to remove as many traces of the previous obesity as possible with a minimum of scars, without complications, and in as few operations as possible.

It is generally accepted that body contouring should be made available to psychologically stable patients who have maintained constant weight for over a year; are willing to accept multiple operations, and are aware of the possible complications including bleeding, infection, scarring, oedema.

Contouring surgery frequently entails a combination of excisional and suction lipectomy techniques and lifting procedures. The type, number and sequence of which are tailored to individual needs. Excellent contour correction can be obtained with meticulous planning and execution of surgery in carefully selected patients, thereby alleviating cosmetic and functional disturbances and improving quality of life.