Dramatic weight loss, whether it is done through exercise or bariatric surgery, is a reason to celebrate. Unfortunately, significant weight loss, (more than 100 pounds within a short period of time) often leaves behind excess skin and tissue that lacks elasticity and does not conform to the new body size. While the body is lighter, it can now be weighed down by sagging skin that causes both physical and emotional pain.
Many weight loss patients choose to undergo body contouring procedures to remove this loose skin to reveal the true results of their hard work. If you have lost a lot of weight and you are still unhappy with your body and feel that it doesn’t reflect you, Dr. Ross and Dr. Holmes perform a number of body contouring procedures to reveal your new, trimmer shape.
The breasts will change significantly after massive weight loss in both men and women. A breast lift, or mastopexy, is a surgical procedure that lifts the breasts by removing excess skin and reshaping the underlying breast tissue, thus enhancing the overall shape of the breast. While a breast lift will correct breast ptosis (or saggy breasts), it will not increase volume. For that reason, some female massive weight loss patients choose to combine a breast lift with breast augmentation for added volume to achieve their desired results.
In both men and women, excess fat is stored in the abdomen, and the skin and muscles tend to loosen after losing weight. A large amount of loose skin on the abdomen can result in intertriginous dermatitis, an irritating and painful skin condition that can even lead to infection. A tummy tuck, also called abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that tightens the abdominal muscles and removes excess fat and skin to restore a youthful contour to the abdominal area.
The body lift is the most common procedure done for weight loss patients. A body lift is performed by making an incision across the back and around the flanks and abdomen to remove excess skin and tighten the rest by suturing it together. Many patients lose about 10 to 15 pounds of loose skin alone with this procedure, and it can make a big difference in a patient’s self esteem.
This procedure can target the skin of the abdomen, thighs and buttocks. An abdominoplasty, buttock lift and thigh lift will be performed at once to effectively address loose skin. This surgery results in a long scar that will be confined to the waistline and concealed by underwear, a bikini and regular clothing.
Many patients are left with excess, hanging skin on the inner thighs. A medial thigh lift, or thighplasty, targets the inner thigh by making an incision where the thigh and pubic area meet. A wedge of fat and skin is removed and the skin is tightened for improved contour and skin elasticity. While this surgery may be performed as part of a lower body lift, it can also be performed alone, resulting in a scar that is well concealed by underwear in many cases.
While loose skin of the arms is a common problem among both men and women, it tends to affect women to a much greater degree. Patients with excess skin and fat on the arms after losing weight often feel very self-conscious and avoid wearing short sleeves.
If it is just a small amount of excess skin that needs to be addressed, Dr. Ross or Dr. Holmes will perform a modified lift that tightens the skin from the armpit for a well hidden scar. The typical brachioplasty involves an incision from the armpit along the inner portion of the arm. While this procedure results in a long scar, it has a very high patient satisfaction rate, and most patients who undergo an arm lift are willing to exchange the excess skin for a scar.