Gastric sleeve surgery is, hands down, one of the best ways to dramatically improve your overall health and increase your longevity. If wellbeing was the only reason to have the procedure, it would be enough. But my patients also get to look forward to a lifetime of looking and feeling more attractive, sometimes for the first time in their lives. It’s more than okay to spend time wondering about the aesthetics of your new body, and that’s what we’re focusing on today.
Q: I have a hard lump under the incision site in my stomach. Will it always be there?
A: Nope. My gastric sleeve procedures are relatively short and minimally invasive, but we still do a lot of manipulation at that biggest incision site. So it’s not unusual for a little lump to form there right afterward. If you touch every single incision, you’ll feel little lumps there, too. But as your body heals, that “human cement,” as I call it, becomes softer and goes away. It’s normal, and it’s temporary.
Q: I love losing all this weight, but I hate losing all this hair. Is it permanent?
A: Probably not. Not everyone loses a noticeable amount of hair after surgery; those who do tend to be the ones undergoing the biggest transformation. The culprit is stress on the body. In this case, that stress is good because it’s leading to a big weight loss, but all your body knows is that something is very different. Once your body acclimates to the new normal, which usually happens as your weight stabilizes, the hair grows back. Rest assured that I haven’t seen a bald bariatric patient yet! In the meantime, take your supplements, add some biotin if you want to, and get your protein. That combination helps everything from your hair to your skin to your nails look great.
Q: I seem to bruise much more easily after surgery, and it’s not exactly attractive. Are more bruises normal?
A: It depends. Right after surgery, yes. I mean, you just had surgery, and that comes with bruising. But if you’re, say, six months out? Bruising more than what’s normal for you is NOT normal. Before we jump to worst case scenarios, though, realize that it’s probably something as simple as not getting enough Vitamin K. If you’re not taking supplements (or not taking them regularly), it’s possible you’re missing out in this important vitamin, and bruises are the result. Be diligent about supplements, eat well, and don’t skip meals. If you’re still bruising easily even after correcting these things, see your doctor for an evaluation.
Q: I have embarrassing neck fat that looks like a buffalo hump. It hasn’t gone away yet. Is there still hope as I lose more weight?
A: If you don’t have one of these lovely buffalo humps, you might think this is a weird question. But if you do, you get it, right? The truth is that people gain weight differently in different areas; for me, my thighs and back are the first to gain and the last to lose. For others, it’s stomach, arms, butt, and, yes, even the neck-upper back area. That hump may very well go away once more pounds drop off. Even if you’ve lost some weight before, you haven’t done it with the help of a sleeve, which makes a world of difference. If that buffalo hump still doesn’t budge, even after you’re at a healthy weight, a plastic surgeon can do some liposuction in that area, and it’ll be gone.
Q: Will I need to have plastic surgery to remove excess skin? And if so, when?
A: Like everything else, the need for plastic surgery varies from patient to patient. In general, the more weight you lose, the more likely you are to want some form of skin removal surgery. People who want to lose 50 pounds, for example, probably won’t have a lot of excess skin at the end of their journey. But if your goal is more in the hundreds of pounds range, the odds are greater that you’ll experience some loose skin that may bother you. If so, you might want skin removal surgery to tighten up the affected areas and really show off all your hard work. And if you don’t, that’s fine too! I wouldn’t recommend doing anything until you’ve plateaued at a stable weight, though. For most people that’ll take at least a year and probably more.
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“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.