Objective: Because post-bariatric surgery patients undergo massive weight loss, the resulting skin excess can lead to both functional problems and profound dissatisfaction with appearance. Correcting skin excess could improve all these corollaries, including body image. Presently, few data are available documenting body image and weight-related quality of life in this population.
Research methods and procedures: Eighteen patients who underwent both bariatric surgery and body contouring completed our study. Both established surveys and new surveys designed specifically for the study were used to assess body perception and ideals, quality of life, and mood. Patients were surveyed at the following time-points: pre-body contouring (after massive weight loss) and both 3 and 6 month post-body contouring. Statistical testing was performed using Student's t test and ANOVA.
Results: The mean age of the patients was 46 +/- 10 years (standard deviation). Quality of life improved after obesity surgery and was significantly enhanced after body contouring. Three months after body contouring, subjects ascribed thinner silhouettes to both current appearance and ideal body image. Body image also improved with body contouring surgery. Mood remained stable over 6 months.
Discussion: Body contouring after surgical weight loss improved both quality-of-life measurements and body image. Initial body dissatisfaction did not correlate with mood. Body contouring improved body image but produced dissatisfaction with other parts of the body, suggesting that as patients become closer to their ideal, these ideals may shift. We further developed several new assessment methods that may prove useful in understanding these post-surgical weight loss patients.