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I’ve had some questions regarding how Reconstructive Surgery can affect weight loss and metabolism after Duodenal Switch, Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, weight loss surgery and even in people who have not had weight loss surgery. There are several components that can effect a change in metabolism following Reconstructive Surgery that relates to physiological, functional, social and emotional mechanisms. These possible effects can vary person to person based on body type, age, weight, motivation, etc.
Fat mass resection and liposuction
Liposuction or the removal of fat mass by panniculectomy or abdominoplasty can have effects on lipid profile, leptin, waist hip ratio and glucose metabolism for 3-12 months depending on the individual and their health status. This have been researched and documented in both normal and higher BMI individuals. There is also an improvement noted in post bariatric surgical patients having breast reduction and abdominal plastic surgery. Of course, these effects can be controversial, conflicting and further research is needed.
Decrease in inflammatory markers
There is some evidence that the excision or liposuction of fat mass an decrease inflammatory markers and insulin resistance. This can affect C-reactive protein, TNF and cytokines levels. Little is known about the actual mechanism of this effect but the potential for this physiological change is present.
Increase metabolic need for healing
The metabolic needs following plastic surgery are much greater due to the nutrient needs required for healing. Depending on the extent of skin and tissues excised, the nutrient requirements can be considerably higher. This increase in nutrient need can increase metabolic rate, meaning you need more energy for healing. This significant stress also increases the complication associated with reconstructive surgery after weight loss surgical procedures.
Many people are more motivated following plastic surgery because of the dramatic change in body appearance and ability. The increase in motivation can be either diet or physically related. Some people are more motivated to watch what they are eating and increase physical activity to increase the effect of plastic surgery. Obviously, this is an extremely individual experience and can happen in varying degrees
Possible increased restriction
In the case of abdominoplasty, there can be an increase in restriction due to tightening of the skin, muscle and inflammation of the abdominal wall. Thereby, helping to have a fuller feeling sooner when eating. This can also at times result the chance of the complication of reflux and/or stress urinary incontinence if the abdominal muscle tightening is excessive or there is weight regain later on after the abdominoplasty.
Increase mobility and functional status
Excess skin can impair mobility and physical activity for some. The removal of the excess skin can promote mobility, ease of movement, improve gait and posture, and can improve or relieve pain. Skin infections, rashes and irritation are often symptoms of excess skin especially in the abdominal or pelvic area. This is a functional improvement, and depending on the extent of the pannus, can be quite freeing.
Improved self confidence, anxiety, mood, and body image are important motivators and incentives to post bariatric and plastic surgery patients. These improvements can have an effect on social and relationship aspects. However, it’s important to note that patients undergoing cosmetic surgery should have realistic expectations. Cosmetic, plastic or reconstructive surgery is not a panacea and does not in itself solve body image, personal or psychological issues. In addition, a post Bariatric patient may need additional time to recognize their physical and psychological changes following plastic or reconstructive surgery.
There may be metabolic, physiologic, physical and psychological improvements following Reconstructive surgery either after weight loss surgery or in non weight loss patients. These changes will vary based on the individual, age, dedication, health status, adherence to instructions, past medical and psychological history. However, appropriate education, screening and realistic goals and outcomes need to be emphasized prior to undergoing any type of plastic or reconstructive surgery.
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