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 significant weight loss following bariatric surgery.
Q: Is Plastic Surgery The Only Way to Fix Loose, Sagging Skin Around My Belly?
A: 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.
Q. What Procedures Can Remove Excess Skin?
Physicians commonly use plastic surgery procedures to remove excess skin and improve the shape and tone of the underlying tissue that supports the skin. The most common procedures weight-loss patients undergo are:
- Body contouring procedures such as tummy tuck, liposuction, arm lifts and thigh lifts
- Breast, arm or face lifts
- Neck contouring
Q. Am I a Good Candidate?
You may be a good candidate for plastic surgery if you:
- Have reached your goal weight and have kept it off for at least six months.
- Have no future plans for pregnancy.
- Are in good health with no other serious conditions.
- Are a non-smoker.
- Have realistic expectations for plastic surgery.
- Are committed to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
- Are able to take time off work to follow your surgeon’s recommendations for recovery.
Q. What Are the Risks of Surgically Removing Excess Skin?
Any surgery has risks, and it’s no different with plastic surgery. They can include:
- Tissue death
- Nerve damage
- Need for additional follow-up procedures
Choosing a highly qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon who performs at least 300 surgeries per year is the best way to avoid complications with your procedure. So, be sure to do your research.
Meet Our Franciscan Physician Network Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons
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.