Your Plastic Surgeon Wants To Know How Many Squats You Did Yesterday

VVartanian on 8 Sep 2013 at 9:00am

Dr. Stoker explains why some of the sculpting with a body lift is actually done outside the OR.

On the August 27th edition of ABC's Extreme Weight Loss, we were introduced to Cassandra Dumas, 45, a high-school guidance counselor and track coach from Quartz Hill, California. After a messy divorce, the once fit four-time All-American athlete drowned her sorrows in comfort food, and weighed 364 pounds upon meeting her trainer, Chris Powell.  

That said, when Cassandra completes her 365-day journey of diet and exercise (including a whitewater rafting trip to Costa Rica and cooking classes from celebrity chef Rocco Di Spirito) -- she slims down to 189 pounds and qualifies for body lift surgery with LA plastic surgeon, Dr. David Stoker.

So, given that this episode put a high-school counselor and athletics coach in the spotlight -- we started wondering if a plastic surgeon "coaches" a patient toward specific types of body sculpting exercise to prep for a body lift. We did a quick Q & A with Dr. Stoker to find out more.

What are areas you want toned and tightened for the best body lift outcome?

For the show -- Chris does a spectacular job in helping the patient lose their weight. Toning the abdominal core is key to optimize for abdominal surgery. But, I also want to optimize the thighs and buttocks for an ideal aesthetic outcome. I recommend abdominal core exercises, back extension exercises, squats, lunges and leg curls.

It's fascinating how you partner with a patient,"prescribe" exercise and complete the final sculpting with surgery. Are there body areas where a "team approach" is absolutely necessary?

One of my big challenges in weight loss patients is helping them make a flat bottom curvy. Curves are in. Patients are relieved when I tell them that with specific exercises, and my "butt lift" technique, I can add to their curves – at least 50%.  

Can you describe this "group effort" in more detail?

First, I try to inspire the patient [before surgery] to develop their gluteal muscles through exercises such as squats and lunges. This will also strengthen their bones and delay onset of osteoporosis. Then, I remove fat in the adjacent areas surrounding the buttocks – so that the curve of the buttocks appears more concentrated. Typical areas to remove include: fat from the muffin top, the lower waist, and upper and outer thighs. I also remove excess loose skin, but I do not remove fat from the buttocks themselves – instead I overlap the fat to increase the curve of the upper buttocks.

It's key for me to team up with the patient so we can both contribute to their goal. When the patient works hard to achieve [their desired outcome], they will be happier with themselves and of course, make me look good as a surgeon.

Do YOU have questions about a body lift? Ask them on here on RealSelf.