Learning Objectives: After studying this article, the participant should be able to: 1. Understand the relevant psychosocial issues of persons with extreme obesity who undergo bariatric surgery. 2. Describe the relationship of body image to both obesity and plastic surgery. 3. Assess the psychosocial functioning of post–bariatric surgery patients who present for body contouring surgery.
Background: Body contouring following the massive weight loss associated with bariatric surgery has grown in popularity. Little is known, however, about the psychosocial aspects of these procedures. This article discusses the psychological considerations of the postoperative bariatric surgery patient who undergoes body contouring surgery.
Methods: A review of the psychosocial and physical characteristics of individuals with extreme obesity who undergo bariatric surgery, and the changes in these traits that typically occur postoperatively, is provided. The relationship of body image dissatisfaction to both bariatric and plastic surgery is discussed. The breast reduction literature is reviewed and used to provide a framework with which to understand the psychosocial issues of body contouring patients.
Results: These related literatures are used as a guide to provide suggestions for future research investigating the physical and psychosocial outcomes following body contouring surgery. Preliminary recommendations for the psychosocial assessment of body contouring patients are provided.
Conclusions: Given the current popularity of both bariatric and plastic surgery, the number of individuals who present for body contouring following massive weight loss is likely to increase. Appropriate psychosocial assessment and management of these patients is believed to play an important role in successful postoperative outcomes.