Gastric sleeve may lead to more surgeries later

Q. I feel blessed. After years of trying to lose weight, I finally had the courage to get the gastric sleeve and I have lost 60 pounds. Now that I am on my way, I’ve had a lot of people tell me I better have saved a lot of money for my plastic surgery. What are they talking about and should I be worried?

Your “friends’’ are taking some of your thunder away, but there is some truth in what they are telling you. It is still a bit early to tell what you may end up needing.

As you lose weight, your skin will contract and re-contour to your new body. Things you can do to improve your chances of less surgery after your weight loss include maintaining a good diet with a good exercise regimen including weight training.

Naturally, both these activities should be supervised by a physician and a registered dietician. Surgery should not be contemplated for at least six months, and maybe up to a year, to give yourself time to equilibrate to your new weight. Once you are stable, here are some potential surgeries you may need:

I am always amazed as to how much the face improves and recontours as patients shed weight. Often, however, minimally invasive procedures do not work because the skin has been stressed to the maximum and therefore does not respond well. Young patients with significant weight loss will often need full face and neck lifts to improve their looks. The body is not nearly as forgiving as the face. Procedures that may be necessary include tummy tucks, breast lifts and reduction, thigh lift and arm lifts. These surgeries may be done together in a total body makeover or individually, depending on your surgeon and your desires.

Safety is of utmost importance as many patients often have nutritional challenges after some types of bariatric surgeries. You should discuss your concerns and suggested referrals to a board-certified plastic surgeon with your bariatric surgeon. Often your surgeon will know a trusted plastic surgeon that he/she works with to help you arrive at your decision.