Body Contouring After Weight Loss: Understand Your Options


In an ideal world, if you do the hard work it takes to lose weight, you will be rewarded with a healthy body that looks great. After all, you changed your nutrition habits, worked out consistently, and perhaps even had a medical intervention.

Every individual’s body has its natural shape, and you can choose where the fat comes from through diet and exercise. Most likely, your body has areas where it holds on to extra fat even when you are at your goal weight. For some, it is their belly; for others, the back, chin, or thighs. If this resonates with you, you may be interested in learning more about body contouring after weight loss.

When it comes to body contouring, there are both surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures. The best way to choose the best option for you is by booking a consultation with a skilled cosmetic specialist.

If you want to address large amounts of excess skin, you would most likely need plastic surgery after weight loss to address that effectively. If you want to subtly re-sculpt your body, targeting areas where you retain pockets of unwanted fat, then you have a range of non-surgical options.

This article will cover your body contouring options to enhance your weight loss results. Please remember this article is purely for education and to serve as a talking point during your consultation with a plastic surgeon. It isn’t a substitute for the personalized advice you would get from a physician. 

Non-Surgical Body Contouring Options After Weight Loss

It can get confusing when exploring body contouring treatments since several treatments seem similar. Each works best when you are close to your goal weight and is FDA-cleared when specific guidelines are followed. Here are some of the best non invasive weight loss options:

  • CoolSculpting® and CoolSculpting® Elite: This FDA-cleared treatment uses a technique called cryolipolysis to freeze, crystalize and destroy fat cells in targeted areas. It’s non-invasive, requires no downtime, and can reduce fat by approximately 20-25% in the treated areas, according to CoolSculpting®.
  • Kybella®: This injectable treatment reduces moderate to severe fat below the chin, also known as a “double chin.” The injection contains synthetic deoxycholic acid, which helps gradually break down and destroy some of the fat tissue, according to Kybella®.
  • CoolTone™: CoolTone™ uses Magnetic Muscle Stimulation (MMS) technology to penetrate the muscle layers and induce involuntary muscle contractions. The body’s response to these contractions is to strengthen its muscle fibers, resulting in improved muscle conditioning. This technique is more for strengthening and “toning” the muscles than fat loss, per CoolSculpting®.
  • Emsculpt: Emsculpt is another FDA-cleared treatment targeting fat and muscle tone. It uses High-Intensity Focused Electromagnetic Energy (HIFEM) to stimulate muscle contractions, helping tone the area and reducing fat (per Town and Country).

While some people noticed their skin quality and tightness seemed to improve after specific non-surgical fat loss methods, you may prefer the results from plastic surgery if you want to remove loose, excess skin after weight loss. Depending on your age, how much weight you lost, and genetics, your skin may never return to the tightness from before your weight loss. Schedule a consultation to know the best way to get rid of loose skin.

Surgical Body Contouring Options Following Weight Loss

If you want more dramatic results, repair damaged muscle, or remove excess skin, you may want to explore plastic surgery. Non-surgical body contouring procedures methods can be adequate if you don’t have too much excess skin and want to lose small amounts of fat from targeted areas.

Here are a few examples of surgical body contouring procedures some people opt for after losing significant weight.

  • Liposuction: Remove more unwanted fat than you can through methods like CoolSculpting®. It involves the surgical removal of fat deposits to reshape specific body areas like the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, neck, chin, upper and backs of the arms, calves, and back.
  • Tummy Tuck: This procedure removes excess fat and skin from the abdominal area and tightens the abdominal wall muscles. It’s sought after by individuals with loose or sagging tissues after pregnancy or significant weight loss.
  • Thigh Lift: This procedure reshapes the thighs by reducing excess skin and fat, resulting in smoother skin and better-proportioned contours of the thighs and lower body.
  • Body Lift: This is a more comprehensive procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen, hips, buttocks, and thighs. It’s often chosen by individuals who have lost a lot of weight.
  • Arm Lift: This procedure removes excess skin and fat from the upper arms, often chosen by individuals with ‘bat wings’ or drooping skin due to aging or significant weight loss.
  • Breast Lift: An operation that raises and firms the breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissue to reshape and support the new breast contour.
  • Gynecomastia Surgery: This is a procedure for men who have grown breasts due to an imbalance of hormones. The surgery reduces breast size, flattening and enhancing the chest contours.

Remember, all surgical procedures come with risks and recovery time. Discussing your goals and medical history with a qualified professional is essential to determine your best option. Keep in mind that combining plastic surgery procedures is also an option. 

Choosing the Best Body Contouring  After Weight Loss 

Surgical and non-surgical options are available to get rid of stubborn fat pockets, tighten loose skin, or tone muscles. But how do you choose the best one for you?

As mentioned, the best option for you will depend on your specific needs and goals. Consulting with a cosmetic procedures professional can help you navigate your options and answer all your cosmetic surgery faqs.

Here are some tips to guide you in making an informed decision:

  • Know and understand your aesthetic goals. Your goals are usually the most significant factor in choosing your option. Are you looking to remove significant fat, tighten loose skin after weight loss, or tone specific muscles? Your goals will help guide you toward the procedure that can best achieve them.
  • Consider your overall health. If you are considering plastic surgery, you must first be a non-smoker healthy enough for a purely elective operation. Discuss your medical history, overall health, and lifestyle with your plastic surgeon. Since no anesthetic is involved, non-surgical cosmetic treatments are an option for more people, but there are still risk factors to discuss.
  • Think about and plan for your recovery time. If you opt for plastic surgery, you must plan on downtime while you heal and recover from the operation. How long depends on the scope of the procedure and your natural healing ability. Non-surgical options involve less downtime or sometimes none at all. Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon about what to expect.
  • Budget: Everyone gets the procedure that best suits their needs in a perfect world. With the range of financing options, we are moving closer to that, but cost is still an essential factor to consider. Plastic surgery can be costly and often not covered by insurance if considered purely cosmetic. Non-surgical procedures may be more affordable, but depending on your goals, you may need multiple sessions, which can add up.
  • Consult a plastic surgeon. Finally, it’s crucial to consult with a professional. A plastic surgeon or a cosmetic professional can provide you with detailed information about each procedure, potential risks, and realistic results you can expect. They can also assess your health and goals to recommend the most suitable procedure.

Your Next Step: Book Your Consultation

Remember, every person’s body is unique, and so is every person’s journey. It’s important to do your research on how to select a plastic surgeon. The team at Charlotte Plastic Surgery understands this and has skilled plastic surgeons to help you achieve your best. We are committed to helping you explore your options and find the best path forward.

Don’t hesitate to take the next step in your transformation. Reach out to us today and schedule a consultation.