Ask the Experts: Dealing With Excess Skin After Bariatric Surgery
Our Franciscan Physician Network plastic and reconstructive surgeons answer your questions and share their expert insight to help you make informed decisions about your care after surgical weight loss.
Q: Six months ago I lost 150 pounds with bariatric surgery and have kept most of the weight off. The problem now is a lot of loose, sagging skin around my belly. Is surgery the only option to correct this?
A: Congratulations on the weight loss. After years of dealing with extra weight, it can be a frustrating result of your accomplishment to now face the matter of excess skin. You're not alone though. Anyone who experiences substantial weight loss will find that the skin and underlying tissues lack the elasticity to adapt to a smaller body size.
Building up muscle can help somewhat, but there is no magic formula that will put everything back in place. If you are not satisfied with simply covering up the extra skin, surgery is the best option. Surgical body contouring will eliminate excess skin and fat while correcting the shape of underlying support tissue. Common body contouring locations are the belly, thighs, arms, and male chest. Usually only one or two of these locations will be treated at one time to reduce the risk of surgical complications.
Generally, the results of body contouring are long-lasting if you maintain a stable weight and general fitness level. As your body continues to age, it is normal to lose some firmness but most of the surgical improvement should be relatively permanent.
Some aspects of body contouring may be covered by insurance. Because excess skin around the belly can result in rashes or infections, insurers may view that procedure separately. Most other body parts are not covered.
Before scheduling surgery, make sure your surgeon was trained specifically in plastic surgery and is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This will ensure you’ve got a surgeon who is best qualified to perform body contouring.
Meet Our Franciscan Physician Network Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons
Jessica N. Gillespie, MD, and Jaime M. Ranieri, MD, of Franciscan Physician Network Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeons in Indianapolis, perform cosmetic surgeries and procedures that treat the results of trauma, birth defects and disease.
Dr. Gillespie and Dr. Ranieri are board certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery. From tummy tucks and mommy makeovers to skin rejuvenation, the doctors and staff at Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeons in Indianapolis offer an array of life-enhancing treatments. To meet with Dr. Gillespie or Dr. Ranieri for a consult or appointment, call (317) 528-7650. For more information visit IndyCosmeticSurgery.com or FranciscanDocs.org.