Skin removal after massive weight loss is almost a magical procedure: all that extra skin can hide the amazing transformation underneath. So skin removal after weight loss is the last step to reveal all that hard work!
Skin removal after weight loss can be done on numerous areas of the body:
- Facelift and neck lift address loose skin along the jawline and neck. The result is a more youthful appearance, without looking unnatural.
- Breast lift (mastopexy) brings the breast tissue back up and centers it on the chest. It’s not uncommon for the breasts to be quite stretched after weight loss. Mastopexy recreates a youthful shape.
- Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) removes loose skin over the abdomen. Sometimes I add a vertical incision along the midline of the abdomen to remove loose skin in the horizontal dimension as well. This modification is called a fleur-di-lis abdominoplasty because the shape of the skin removed is similar to a fleur-di-lis.
- A body lift removes skin full-circumference around the torso. So it’s basically a tummy tuck plus a posterior body lift. This allows me to lift the buttocks and restore a natural shape.
- Arm lift, or brachioplasty, removes the excess skin over the upper arms.
- Thigh lift removes excess skin over the upper legs.
Every person is unique:
No two people have the same extra skin in the same places after losing weight. So in addition to the more common procedures listed above, I’ve also removed skin over the upper back, the knows, and the chest on men.
If you think of extra skin as a suit of clothing that no longer fits, the goal of skin removal after weight loss is to tailor the “suit” so that it now fits. And the results are nothing short of amazing:
But how likely are you to need skin removal after weight loss?
The skin will retract to some extent after weight loss. This depends on:
- How much weight you lose. The more you lose, the more loose skin you have.
- How old you are. Younger skin has more elasticity, so it will retract more.
- How quickly you lose weight… sort of. Quick weight loss gives skin less time to shrink up, so loose skin will be more noticeable. This is why I like to have patients at a stable weight for six months – it gives the skin time to shrink up.
- Get within 20 pounds of your goal weight. Because if you lose more weight after skin removal you’re going to see some loose skin again.
- Stay at that weight for 6 months to let your skin shrink up as much as it’s going to.
- Then see a board-certified plastic surgeon to develop a plan. Skin removal surgery procedures can often be combined, but if you need more than one or two operations it’s going to have to be split apart. Longer surgery increases risk of complications. And your body and only heal so much at one time.
On a side note: Non-invasive skin tightening procedures are not effective after weight loss. At best the techniques on the market have a modest effect with mildly loose skin. Once there is significant laxity (i.e. you can pinch and grab the loose skin) surgical removal is the only effective treatment.
You can see more before and after photos for skin removal after weight loss on my website.
Have questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to respond.