Body Contouring after Gastric Bypass

With the growing popularity of bariatric or weight loss surgery as a treatment for obesity, body-contouring surgery has become the final step in the care of these patients.

Dr. Zemmel is very qualified to help reveal the new you.  Dr. Zemmel completed the highly competitive Integrated Plastic Surgery program at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia.  During his General Surgery training, Dr. Zemmel assisted with and performed dozens gastric bypass procedures with several nationally known General Surgeons specializing in this field.  Dr. Zemmel also learned the pre-operative and post-operative needs of this patient population and directly provided post-operative care for many patients. Dr. Zemmel then matriculated to the Plastic Surgery program where he provided dozens of body contouring surgeries to the very same patients.  This unique training experience has equipped Dr. Zemmel to understand all aspects of Bariatric Surgery. This gives Dr. Zemmel special appreciation of your needs and allows him to deliver a safe and precise body contouring after major weight loss.

Dr. Zemmel has a special interest in this area of Plastic Surgery and dedicates a large portion of his practice to this complex, challenging, and rewarding group of patients.

Dr. Zemmel applies the latest techniques in body sculpting tailored to each patient’s specific needs and goals.  He can help you realize the new shape that is hidden beneath the excess skin that remains after your goal weight has been achieved.

After gastric bypass surgery many patients obtain the target weight with 12 to 18 months.  This significant weight loss over a short period of time causes excess skin to build up in certain areas of the body.  This remaining skin often does not retain the elasticity found in unstretched skin and will not “shrink back” or recontour to your new underlying body shape. This often leaves excessive amounts of hanging skin around the face, arms, trunk, abdomen, breasts, and thighs.  This can create a number health problems including skin rashes, skin breakdown, hygiene issues, and finding properly fitting clothes.

Dr. Zemmel has developed a comprehensive approach to bariatric patients who wish to achieve their optimal shape following weight loss.  During your initial consultation Dr. Zemmel will get to know you as a person and learn your goals and desires.

Patients who have undergone bariatric surgery and the subsequent weight loss have numerous but similar areas of concern. These areas usually include:

Face and Neck

Many patients show signs of premature aging due to excess skin around the face and neck.  Depending of the degree of excess tissue a face lift (rhytidectomy) in combination with a brow lift or blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) may be necessary to rejuvenate the face.  Dr. Zemmel also specializes in the newer minimally invasive facial procedures including Endoscopic brow lifting and the MACS (Minimal Access Cranial Suspension) face-lift.


Both woman and men may have droopiness or sagging of the breasts due to stretching of the skin and volume loss.  For women, a mastopexy (breast lift) may be necessary to reposition the nipple and remove excess skin. This may be performed with or without the addition of breast implants to improve shape, volume, and cleavage of the breasts.  For men, several breast reduction techniques are available depending on the degree of correction required.

Abdomen and Buttocks

Woman and men often have excess, overhanging skin in the abdominal wall area.  Occasionally this hanging skin can cause hygiene and health problems associated with repeated skin rashes, skin breakdown, and fungal infections.  The underlying abdominal wall muscles may also be lax, and both of these problems can be addressed with a tummy-tuck or abdominoplasty. Some patient may have laxity of the trunk that extends around the hips and flanks to the buttock area. This may be treated with a lower body (circumferential body) lift.

Thighs and Arms

Excess skin can also accumulate around the inner thigh area.  Depending on the amount of laxity, the incision can be placed along the groin crease or lengthwise down the inner thigh.

Some patients also wish to improve the contour of the upper arms.  If a large amount of skin is present creating a “hammock” appearance, an upper arm lift (brachioplasty) may provide relief.  This is done via a lengthwise incision placed on the inner back side of the arm with possible extension into the underarm area.

All of these areas cannot be addressed simultaneously during one operation.  However it is common to combine a tummy tuck with a breast lift (with or without the addition of breast implants), or a thigh lift with an arm lift.  Two procedures usually can be safely combined.

During your consultation, Dr. Zemmel will listen to your priorities, complete a full examination of your body, and develop a comprehensive plan for your body contouring surgery.

If you think you might be a good candidate for body contouring following significant weight loss, this page will give you a basic understanding of the procedures and the results you can expect.  For a complete evaluation, please contact Dr. Zemmel to schedule a consultation.