Tired of Loose Skin HANGIN’ Around?

Mar 09, 2020

You did it!  You took a courageous step and had weight loss surgery.  You ate right and exercised, and you lost weight.  Congratulations are definitely in order!  But when you go to wave goodbye to that unwanted weight, you can’t help but notice…you’ve now got loose skin. 

Excess skin can be an annoyance for some individuals after bariatric surgery.  For some people, the elasticity (or ability to bounce-back) of their skin is in good working order and very little excess skin remains after weight loss.  But for others, extra skin can be found on the upper arms, the lower abdomen, thighs, and even the neck and face.  There is no way to predict which patients will have excess skin after surgery.  But there are options to treat this condition.

For patients who experience irritation caused by an apron-like fold of skin in the lower abdominal area (known as the pannus), a panniculectomy may be in order.  Panniculectomy operations, often covered by insurance due to skin irritation, can be performed by general surgeons to remove the excess skin.   Most other skin removal and body contouring operations are performed by plastic surgeons and are not covered by insurance, as they are considered cosmetic procedures.  Plastic surgeons are trained to provide a wide range of procedures to help contour the body, such as abdominoplasty, brachioplasty (removal of excess arm skin), breast lift, breast reduction for men, and face lift. 

Concerned about scarring?  Many plastic surgeons will tell you that scars should be expected after body contouring operations performed on weight loss patients.  Scars do fade somewhat over time, and most patients gladly accept the scar in return for the ability to wear more form-fitting clothing.

Finally, when should you consider plastic surgery?  It’s important to hold off on plastic surgery until you have reached your weight loss goal and your weight loss has stabilized, which usually occurs 12-18 months after your bariatric procedure.  If you have excess skin and aren’t sure about your options, ask one of our surgeons at your next follow-up visit.  We can assess your condition and provide guidance on the next step, including referral to a plastic surgeon if needed.

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