A recent post on MSNBC Today Health has put a face on the issue of plastic surgery after massive weight loss. Specifically, the face of Paul Brian, which has posed difficulties for the life and livelihood of the 60-year-old Chicago radio announcer.
Brian once weighed 420 pounds, but dropped to a slim 180 after a bariatric surgery six years ago. However, with a new body came new problems, as Brian found deep folds on his torso, legs, neck, and face. While he had always expected to undergo body contouring surgery in order to correct the excess skin on his body, Brian found himself among the small group of post-bariatric patients who require facial rejuvenation.
Body lifts and tummy tucks are often needed in the aftermath of bariatric surgery in order to address the extra skin that remains after massive weight loss. The face typically adapts better than the body, but in some cases, formerly overweight people can experience:
- heavy bags under the eyes
- slack jaws
- numerous wrinkles
- sagging cheeks
- itching and inflammation in the folds
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, nearly 53,000 body contouring operations were performed after patient weight loss in 2010. This is more than a quarter of the 200,000 people who annually undergo bariatric surgery, according to figures released by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
Brian’s battle with the aftermath of morbid obesity continues as his face and neck folds interfere with his speech and personal hygiene. According to his doctor, the downward pull of Brian’s muscles makes it difficult for him to talk without drooling. He must carry a handkerchief at all times and soaks the bedding unless he sleeps a certain way.
Brian is fighting for his insurance company to pay for facelift surgery, which Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois has declared as cosmetic. But for Brian the surgery is necessary, as the ability to speak properly is at the center of his livelihood.