Skin Removal After Weight Loss Surgery: What to Know

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Dec. 6, 2022 – Rosalina Finelli from Deerfield Seaside, FL, misplaced 216 kilos after weight reduction surgical procedure in November 2019. Whereas she needed to rejoice her achievement, the process left her with extra pores and skin on her arms, again, chest, stomach, and higher thighs.

Finelli says she always felt strain from the hanging pores and skin on her again, abdomen, and knees.

“From the ache I felt from the load pulling on my nerves to taking a look at myself within the mirror, desirous to rejoice the load loss, however not loving what I noticed, it was a day by day battle,” she says. 

The practically 2 years she lived with the surplus pores and skin had been bodily, mentally, and emotionally painful, Finelli says. She finally discovered reduction by a sequence of plastic surgical procedures known as “physique contouring,” which removes extra pores and skin from the physique.

In 2020, nearly 200,000 Individuals had bariatric surgical procedure, in accordance with the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Whereas the process will help folks with weight problems lose a major quantity of weight and result in improved well being and high quality of life, an disagreeable aspect impact is the free, extreme pores and skin that when held the now-lost weight. And extra pores and skin may cause severe well being points. 

Why Does Free Pores and skin Happen After Bariatric Surgical procedure? 

Whereas pores and skin is versatile, rapidly shedding loads of weight doesn’t give the organ time to shrink and contract, partially as a result of the extra pores and skin is stretched, the much less elastic it’s.

“When an individual is considerably chubby, they’ve a thick layer of fats that stretches all of the pores and skin out,” explains Robert Gilman, MD, a scientific affiliate professor of cosmetic surgery at Michigan Medication in Ann Arbor. “When folks lose an excessive amount of weight, the thickness of tissue decreases, however the pores and skin has restricted capability to accommodate for that, so it ends in additional pores and skin.” 

After Brenda Langford, 46, had weight reduction surgical procedure in 2018, the surplus pores and skin that hung down from her stomach reached midway to her knees. 

She is from Queensland, Australia, a rustic the place the number of people having weight loss surgery has more than doubled in recent years. She says the impact of extra pores and skin on her psychological well being was “profound.” She additionally had painful rashes the place her pores and skin folds rubbed towards one another, a standard complication that may result in pores and skin infections.

“I could not train or stroll correctly, I may barely match into clothes, as none of it’s made for the anatomical anomalies that I used to be experiencing, and I used to be discovering the flexibility to work arduous,” Langford says. 

What Physique Contouring Entails 

Throughout physique contouring procedures, the affected person is put below normal anesthesia, and a surgeon trims extra pores and skin and fats. Remaining pores and skin is sutured collectively. 

“These surgical procedures can actually be performed from head to toe,” says Peter Rubin, MD, chair of cosmetic surgery on the College of Pittsburgh Medical Heart. 

Surgeons give attention to areas of the physique that sufferers discover most bothersome. Rubin says one of the vital frequent contouring procedures is a panniculectomy, additionally known as an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck.

Different procedures embody arm lifts, feminine breast reshaping, male breast reductions, thigh and buttock lifts and reshaping, face and neck lifts, and liposuction.

Folks should meet sure scientific standards earlier than they get body contouring, together with sustaining their purpose weight for not less than 6 months. 

“You do not need to take somebody to the working room who’s actively shedding pounds,” Rubin says. 

Typically, a plastic surgeon will carry out these procedures solely 12 to 18 months after bariatric surgical procedure.

The associated fee can vary between $5,000 and $10,000 per process, Rubin says. Generally, insurance coverage firms cowl the invoice, relying on the state and particular person plans.

Gilman notes that whereas many firms tout lotions, lotions, and laser remedies for pores and skin tightening, they won’t give sufferers important profit on the subject of free pores and skin after bariatric surgical procedure. Neither will weight loss plan or train.

“You can not train additional pores and skin away,” he says. “In the event you’ve misplaced a major quantity of weight and you’ve got a major quantity of free pores and skin, surgical procedure is the one factor you are able to do.”

Restoration and Dangers 

“After present process physique contouring procedures, folks ought to count on to be out of labor for two to 4 weeks, and maintain off on strenuous actions for not less than 6 weeks,” Rubin says.

Dangers from physique contouring procedures are the identical as with all main surgical procedure, and embody fluid buildup, infections, and bleeding. 

One other factor to think about is that pores and skin removing surgical procedures depart scars, which differ from individual to individual however will be intensive.

Finelli has a 15-inch scar on every arm, two 360-degree scars – one round her breast and higher again, and one other round her decrease stomach – and a 10-inch vertical scar down her abdomen. 

“Some days, I joke round that I appear like Frankenstein, however I’d do it once more,” she says. 

She’s additionally not afraid to point out off her scars, saying they’re “a part of the journey.”

Langford endured lengthy recoveries, needing to take about 2 months off work for every set of her surgical procedures, and she or he handled swelling for months after. She agrees the payoff was price it. 

“I spent many years loathing my physique,” she says. “And now, at age 46, I am lastly freed from that torment.”

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