Through VSG, therapy, diet and exercise I have managed to lose ~215 lbs. Of course, with this amount of weight loss on my resume, this left me looking like a deflated mess that nothing but surgery will fix. I get so tired of folks thinking you can fix all loose skin through diet and exercise and/or maybe some magical cocoa butter concoction! Just had these conversations recently…once on a FB board for weight loss and once with a personal trainer who promised he could take care of my loose skin through weight training (needless to say all of his credibility was for the most part lost at this point….).
December 27th 2013, I had performed by Dr. Fisher a Lower Body Lift, Brachioplasty, and Whole leg liposuction (in part as a staging for the thigh lift). You can see my review and more pictures of my surgery by clicking here
I was pretty sure my LBL would turn out well as I have a fairly shapely upper part of my body…my legs on the other hand have always been very unfortunate (Even thin and in high school….) the stuff nightmares are made of….fat and tissue clear to my ankles. They are the biggest challenge to reconstruct out of all the procedures I am having/have had performed.
Apologies to those of you who followed my body lift review for my tardiness in creating the new reviews; I just have not had a lot of time. I am truly enjoying my life in a lot of ways that was not possible prior to the body lift and brachio. Seriously - surgery has changed me and has changed my level of self-satisfaction and happiness.
On July 29th, (yes Tuesday!) I am having several different procedures performed:
• Thigh Lift (Long + Spiral + Calf Skin excision)
• BA/BL - Anchor Incision, click here to read my review.
• Bletheroplasty (Eye-Lift) - upper and lower lids
• Minor revisions to Arm lift (little sag on the left near the elbow, little more skin off of the right)
• May have hips re-pulled a bit tighter - lateral thigh (this tissue naturally relaxes after LBL, especially with the compromised post massive weigh loss skin quality!)
Whew! It makes me tired thinking about it and I am the one who gets to sleep though it! But seriously…this is maybe 6 feet of NEW incisions and I know from my first “go” recovery is just not fun, but hey…the other thing I realized from the first surgery is that it was entirely worth it! ENTIRELY WORTH IT!
Sooooooo …the thigh lift…. (aka, “Big Scary Thigh Lift”) I am getting the “works” ….the “mac-daddy” correction….the super-duper deluxe model of a thigh lift. Seriously I have never EVER heard of anyone getting done what I am having done (much less at one go), but I trust my surgeon implicitly to balance what is safe, to only do what will provide benefit for the cost of the procedure and scar, and also provide maximum correction.
My thigh lift will be:
• An extended “short” thigh lift procedure that has been modified for MWL patients called the “spiral” thigh lift - it basically is a longer groin incision that allows the surgeon to remove more skin (a larger “wedge” of skin than on someone who has less skin to remove - typically NOT MWL) - the incision will extend to meet with my existing LBL scar in the front and extend to under the butt cheeks.
• A long thigh lift incision on the thighs going past the knee caps
• (Drum Roll please….) an incision that extends all the way onto my calves and almost to my Ankles!
Wow that is a lot of incisions but most folks don’t have legs quite like mine. I carried my weight throughout my whole leg and this has left loose skin all the way down.
A few mussings on thigh lifts and different surgeon approaches:
Liposuction as a staging procedure: While investigating the thigh lift procedure, I spoke with many surgeons - many who, if you have bulk left to your legs after weight loss, will do liposuction prior to thigh lift surgery - but not all. I spoke to one MWL specialist that was very against doing Liposuction prior to the thigh lift and preferred to do it at the time of the thigh lift (his results were amazing - so this technique apparently works for him). Dr. Fisher seems to prefer to do this as a pre- thigh lift staging procedure. With how oversized my legs were compared to the rest of me, it just “made sense” to do a de-bulking first, let the lipo “settle down”, and then tackle the thigh lift procedure. Indeed when I saw Dr. Fisher for my consult in June, he was very pleased with the results of the lipo as this meant he could concentrate on the skin removal for this go (and as you can see, I am having a rather complex thigh lift performed). I am pleased with the results of my liposuction but never posted as review on it as it was never intended to be an “end stage” procedure (and lets face facts…my legs would impress no one after lipo alone). I Also had lower leg lipo at the same time ….and the contour (excepting of course the loose skin) is VERY good actually….I see many calf/ankle lipo results that look less than natural - and I do think Dr. Fisher did an excellent job in this hard to contour area. I don’t have “great” legs and most likely never will, but….given where I started? Even with the excess skin, these are the most normal legs I have ever owned!
Incision going onto Calves:
I have loose skin on my calves from the weight loss, and somewhat exacerbated by the lower leg liposuction (trust me, I have no regrets and knew additional loose skin was a consequence). I had inquired some online about calf skin removal and the vast majority of docs will NOT do this (seriously….i asked a question on RealSelf and one guy called it a “Charles Procedure!” The other MWL surgeon I talked to would do it, but sort of expressed gravity about it - would only do it as a third stage operative seeting. Dr. Fisher has done skin excision on calves before and seems entirely comfortable with the procedure. It is a lot to think about accepting a scar that goes clean onto your calves! But, when I consulted with Dr. Fisher this last in person consult, he seemed to think the benefit warrants the procedure and I do trust him to only do what is warranted in a Cost/Risk benefit analysis.
Spiral Thigh lift:
A newer technique known as spiral thighplasty reshapes the front, back, inner, and outer areas of your thigh. During the spiral thighplasty procedure, an incision is made below your buttocks, extending to your groin crease where your thigh and pubic area meet. This plastic surgery procedure may be beneficial for those who have lost massive amounts weight.
My tip of the day for MWL patients seeking plastics - if your surgeon during the consult does NOT know this term, this indicates they are not familiar with the published techniques on “our kind” - granted this is coined term from Dr. Agha - but if you are at ALL familiar with MWL plastics, your surgeon should know this term and hopefully the techniques. When I went to the ONLY plastic surgeon in the vast metropolis of Atlanta who I was considering for my LBL and Brachio (remember with this amount of weight loss, I consider myself ‘extra special’ in the amount/type of reconstruction needed) - she was unfamiliar with the term and was dismissive of it. I think for me it was the “nail in the coffin” for the consult as I ONLY wanted a surgeon who specialized in MWL procedures. At this point I knew I would be traveling for surgery.
Other Surgeon Approaches: The one MWL surgeon I consulted with wanted to do the Spiral and long and skin excision from Calves during THREE different operative setting (Trust me …I was close to using this person too.) Dr. Fisher will be doing all at ONCE…pretty wildly ambitious in my book…and I certainly would not go this route with just any doctor…
Combining all three:
Well this is one “Big Scary Thigh Lift” and it is coming up faster than I can fathom. Will keep everyone posted on results!
Note on pics - had markup today (pics also above), but something went wrong with posting my review (which I wrote two days ago)…hopefully tomorrow while I am in surgery you will be reading this!! :-)