Post-Massive Weight Loss Body Contouring
Significant weight loss due to lifestyle modifications, medical weight loss, or bariatric surgery oftentimes lead to significant amounts of sagging skin, loose skin, visibility of stretch marks, and an unsatisfactory contour. There are a number of surgical procedures available to help improve these issues. Please read some frequently asked questions below and keep in mind that Dr. Fisher is a member of the American Society for Bariatric Plastic Surgeons, which certifies her experience and interest in addressing post-massive weight loss aesthetic concerns.
Why is there sagging skin after massive weight loss?
When skin has been stretched beyond a certain point, it loses its ability to be elastic and cannot recoil anymore. Often times there are also stretch marks. Stretch marked skin is damaged skin that can’t return to it’s pre-stretched state. Even without stretch marks, skin that has been overstretched can’t be restored.
What parts of the body are most affected by sagging skin after massive weight loss?
It depends on the person and their patterns of weight gain and weight loss. Different people accumulate more fat in certain places than other people do. Some areas on the body are less tolerant to over-stretching the skin. Usually the arms, chest, breasts, and abdomen are most affected. However, the face, neck, back, thighs, and genital region can often be affected too.
What can be done to address these areas?
Unfortunately there are no options other than surgery for overstretched skin. All of these areas can be “lifted” with a variety of surgical procedures. The principle of all of these surgeries is to trade sagging skin and poor contour for improved contour and scars. Most people find that the scars are worth the improvement in contour, ease of movement, and hygiene. Clothing fits better and increase in physical activity are both positive things touted by patients. Procedures that can be performed include arm lift (brachioplasty), breast lift (mastopexy) with or without implant, tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), belt lipectomy (“circumferential body lift”), thigh lift, and facelift/necklift (rhytidectomy).
Can all the surgeries be done at once?
Some of surgeries can be combined. But oftentimes multiple surgeries are required. This is because some procedures take longer than others, and it is for your safety that you do not undergo surgery or be kept under anesthesia for excessive time periods. The procedures also have different recovery times and different movement restrictions. For example, an arm lift requires no weight bearing on the arms or bending the arms initially. A tummy tuck requires you to bent over initially. If you have a tummy tuck, you need your arms to support you, so arm lift and tummy tuck at the same time is not advised. Whether or not I will do procedures simultaneously or stage them for multiple operations depend on the patient and the particular procedures needed.