Mental and physical impact of body contouring procedures on post-bariatric surgery patients

Eplasty. 2012:12:e47. Epub 2012 Sep 12.


Objective: The rapid rate of weight loss following bariatric surgery leads to areas of excessive skin that can cause physical ailments and distortion of body image. Dissatisfaction with the excessive skin can lead patients to seek plastic surgery. This study aims to assess the changes in mental and physical quality of life after body contouring procedures in the post-bariatric surgery population.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey was given to 104 patients divided into 4 groups consisting of a control group, obese patients, post-bariatric surgery patients, and post-bariatric and -body contouring surgery patients. Scores from each survey question were individually averaged, scaled, and converted to the corresponding 8 scales that make up the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey. Scale comparisons were accomplished by analysis of variance and t test.

Results: Compared with the obese group, both post-bariatric surgery patients and post-body contouring surgery patients had improved quality of life. When comparing the post-body contouring and post-bariatric surgery patients, the post-body contouring group did not show significant quality of life improvement and actually scored significantly lower in 2 measures, Role Emotional and Social Functioning, indicating a decreased mental component of quality of life. When compared with the control group, the post-body contouring surgery group had statistically significant lower scores in 6 of the 8 scales.

Conclusions: The functional impairment caused by excessive skin following massive weight loss interferes with quality of life. Patients electing to have body contouring after bariatric surgery show decreased quality of life even after plastic surgery compared to those patients who do not.