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While GLP-1s are completely reframing the world of weight loss, they’re also having a marked impact on the world of plastic surgery. In Marietta and Woodstock, GA, Marietta Plastic Surgery is among practices rising to meet the needs of post-weight loss patients, offering new combination treatments suited exactly to GLP-1 patients.

GLP-1s and Skin Aging

The impact of rapid weight loss on your body depends on a few things, including your age and how much weight you’ve actually lost. Losing larger amounts of weight results in more loose skin and since we start losing collagen in our twenties, the older we get, the less easy it is for our skin to return to form, explains Marietta, GA plastic surgeon Keith West, MD.

“For some people, it is a smaller amount of weight, but for others, it has been a significant amount of weight, such as 35-100 pounds,” adds Marietta, GA plastic surgeon Michael J. McNeel, MD. “When someone is 30 or older and has significant weight loss, their skin elasticity has difficulty snapping back. Thus, they are left with loose or even hanging skin.”

That loose skin can show up almost anywhere on the body. “Weight loss can cause many areas to sag,” explains Dr. McNeel. “The most bothersome areas are the face, breast, abdomen, arms and thighs. After losing weight and feeling better about oneself, it is not unusual for someone to look for options to help with the loose or hanging skin that has resulted from weight loss by any method.”

Solutions to Volume Loss

The other primary effect of rapid weight loss is the unwanted reduction in volume of the face. This can leave patients with a gaunt appearance that, for some, can undermine the achievement of weight loss.

“With the face, if the weight loss has simply advanced the fat loss in the face, then fat transfer can be done to replace the lost fat,” Dr. McNeel explains. “Fat can be taken from the tummy or other areas of excess and precisely placed into the empty fat compartments of the face to rejuvenate this area.”

For those with volume loss and skin laxity, tightening or lifting methods can be applied. “Of course, older people may also combine fat grafting to the face with skin tightening or lifting of the facial skin,” Dr. McNeel says. “Lasers and thermal skin treatments can help tighten facial skin and reduce wrinkle lines and skin lifting can help reposition sagging cheeks or jawlines. Some of the newer fillers have longer-lasting effects with volume restoration to the face and can be offered as well.”

When to Tighten, When to Tuck

With noninvasive methods of skin tightening getting better by the day, you might be wondering if a surgical procedure to remove excess skin is even necessary. At the very least, if combining some of these methods with surgery might improve your outcome.

And the answer depends on exactly how much excess skin you’re looking at.

“It would not be uncommon to combine a minimally invasive surgery with additional treatments in the office with my aestheticians to help achieve skin tightening for the person with milder skin changes after weight loss,” explains Marietta, GA plastic surgeon Keith Hanna, MD. “These technologies combine BodyTite or Renuvion thermal skin-tightening surgical procedures with aesthetician-provided office treatments of Morpheus 8 radio-frequency microneedling for additional skin-tightening results.”

But for your doctor to really know what combination of treatments will be best for you, they need to take their time in the consultation, learn what your goals really are and be prepared for further body changes down the line.

“An experienced board-certified plastic surgeon recognizes the importance of a comprehensive consultation in order to develop a treatment plan that will be successful,” Dr. Hanna says. “We are all different in our ways. Thus, it can be difficult for less experienced surgeons to know when to tighten and when to tuck! Variables that are considered include skin quality, additional weight loss that may be planned, the expectations for results and how to best achieve those results within the parameters of budget and recovery time.”

The New Mommy Makeover

While practitioners are adjusting their services and approaches to meet the moment of GLP-1 weight-loss changes, they’re finding that combination approaches are the best way forward. Addressing multiple areas of concern at one time and using multiple modalities means that each patient has an individualized package of appropriate treatments and procedures that will best help them achieve the post-weight loss body they want.

“I commonly combine treatments to maximize results in my practice,” Dr. McNeel explains. “This has taken me years to perfect my approach. Many people come in hoping they simply need skin tightening. However, during our discussion, I learn that they really want a more significant change and a skin excision procedure may be best. The most common skin-excision procedure I offer is the drainless tummy tuck. This procedure is one of the most life-changing surgeries I offer.”

And that strategy lines up exactly with another combination approach that addresses large body changes: the Mommy Makeover. “Many times, I combine the drainless tummy tuck with a breast lift or breast enlargement procedure,” Dr. McNeel explains. “Of course, this is known as a Mommy Makeover!”

Post weight-loss and post-pregnancy ultimately have a lot in common, with similar areas of concern and similar methods of addressing them. “Women are excited to get their shape back after devoting years to having children and the unwanted changes that can occur to the breast and tummy as a result of pregnancy,” says Dr. McNeel. Applying this approach to GLP-1 patients who’ve reached their goal weight was a no-brainer. “Women and men are so thrilled to have their tummy flat so they can wear clothing comfortably and have a thinner appearance. Many say it is life-changing. I began doing my tummy tucks without drains in 2009 and have done over 1,250 of them this way.”

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