Cosmetic Surgery After Significant Weight Loss
It stands to reason that many patients who undergo a bariatric procedure will have excess or sagging skin after several months of losing a significant amount of weight. The degree to which you will develop excess skin largely depends on a few factors including the procedure you’ve undergone, the amount of weight you’ve lost, the rate at which you have lost the weight as well as genetics and age which largely determine the elasticity of your skin.
This excess skin affects different people in different ways. For some, it is a nuisance that they wish to remove. For others, it is a trophy of their hard work and they wish to keep it. For some, the chafing can become very painful and interfere with daily life.
What Are My Options for Removal?
For those who wish to remove excess skin caused by massive weight loss, there are several cosmetic procedures that can tighten and even lift the affected areas. Some procedures simply cut away excess skin to create a tighter appearance, while other procedures contour the body as part of a more complex surgery – such as a body lift.
When considering a cosmetic procedure:
- You must wait at least 12-18 months after surgery before considering a cosmetic procedure. This is both to allow your body to heal properly and lose a significant amount weight. This is also to ensure you have plateaued and are relatively stable at your new, lower weight. Any weight gain after a cosmetic procedure can nullify its benefits and create new, excess sagging skin.
- Patients who wish to get pregnant after their bariatric procedure should also think carefully about when they wish to undergo a cosmetic procedure. Similar to gaining weight, pregnancy stretches abdominal muscles and skin and will undoubtedly lead to the return of sagging skin.
- For most patients, the removal of excess skin will be considered a cosmetic or aesthetic procedure and will likely not be covered under their insurance plan. This is not the case for every patient and if excess skin removal is deemed a medical necessity, it may be covered. This is something to speak to your cosmetic surgeon about.
From Dr. Henke’s perspective, there is no best route for every patient. Each of us have different feelings and thoughts about our weight loss and resulting body image considerations. Therefore, we all have different ideas about what is best for us. We only ask that any bariatric surgery patient considering a cosmetic procedure after weight loss consult with Dr. Henke first. We will be more than happy to coordinate care with your cosmetic surgeon and offer advice to best move forward.
Most importantly, whether or not you decide to undergo a cosmetic procedure for excess skin, the fact that you do have sagging skin is a testament to hard work and dedication to your new health and lifestyle. Whether you keep it or remove it, we congratulate you on not only taking this very important step toward a new life, but also having the determination to see it through.