Weight loss whether through bariatric surgery or diet and exercise is truly a life changing event and a major achievement. You look and feel better and are healthier. And while most of the changes that accompany weight loss are positive, loose skin is a concern for many patients. Hanging skin can affect both comfort and self-confidence and can be a daily reminder of past obesity.
Unfortunately, when skin has been stretched around the abdomen, arms, legs, breasts, and face, it may lose its elasticity. After significant weight loss, the skin often fails to shrink back to its former size and shape. How much this loose, saggy skin affects personal appearance can depend on age, genetics, exercise, speed of weight loss, and smoking, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).
The areas of the body that most often are affected by excess skin include:
- Upper arms
For some people, weight loss might be gradual enough that skin adjusts along with weight loss. For others, the loose skin can be hidden with clothing and compression garments. But when that isn’t enough to manage the problem, plastic surgery might be a logical next step.
The best time to consider plastic surgery in when you are as close to your goal weight as possible and are weight stable. Surgeons often recommend waiting at least 18 months before having surgery to remove or reduce excess skin because the more weight you lose, the more excess or saggy skin you could have.
The goal of plastic surgery after dramatic weight loss is to restore attractive proportions by removing the sagging skin that creates a misshapen contour. Although these procedures leave scars, most patients find them to be an acceptable tradeoff for an improved appearance.
As with all major decisions, it’s always advisable to consider the positives and negatives:
- Gets rid of loose skin so you can fit into your clothes better.
- Gets rid of overhanging skin that might be causing painful chafing, rashes, and infections.
- Improves your self-esteem.
- Surgery results may not meet your expectations.
- You will have permanent scarring.
- Your surgery results may be affected by weight gain, aging, and lifestyle choices.
If you are considering plastic surgery to improve your body contour, these characteristics make you a good candidate:
- Your weight has been stable for at least six months with no further weight loss expected.
- You are in overall good health without chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.
- You have a healthy diet; problems such as protein deficiencies can interfere with healing.
- You do not smoke; smoking slows down the healing process and increases the risk of serious complications during and after surgery. If you smoke, you must quit at least six weeks before surgery.
- You have mental stamina; surgical contouring procedures require patience and endurance.
- You have realistic expectations; surgery will lead to marked improvements in your shape, but it is impossible to restore the skin or body to what it would have been without the weight gain. Even after body-contouring surgery, skin continues to sag over time as part of normal aging.
If you are considering bariatric surgery in the Las Vegas area, schedule a consultation at VIPSurg. Our doctors and expert team can help you find the right treatment for your unique situation.