After trying traditional diet programs for years without sustained success, some people can be caught by surprise by the amount of loose skin left behind after losing a lot of weight following Bariatric Surgery.

How much excess skin you may have is dependent upon several factors:

  • Heredity - can affect the elasticity of your skin
    The elasticity of your skin before and during the weight loss process determines how much—if any—loose skin you will have. 
  • Age - younger skin is more elastic
    Younger skin will snap back more effectively to its original shape. Older skin is less elastic and may not shrink back as well.
  • Speed - how much and how quickly weight is lost
    How much weight you lose and how quickly you lose it significantly impacts the amount of excess skin you may have left behind. When you lose weight quickly, the rate of skin shrinkage may not keep pace with your weight loss. Most people losing more than 100 lbs. will experience excess-loose skin when they reach their goal weight.
  • Time - how long have you been overweight
    The length of time you have been overweight affects your skin's ability to rebound from being stretched out. The less time you have spent overweight, the more likely it is that your skin will shrink back appropriately.

Building muscle during weight loss will shape the tissue underneath sagging skin and help mitigate the amount of skin sagging you experience. Most people losing large amounts of weight loss, however, will experience it to some degree. 

Plastic Surgery is the only realistic and lasting solution we know of. Procedures that are sometimes collectively known as body contouring (or body lifts) address individual body parts (corset trunkplasty (abdomen), brachioplasty (arms), or a mons lift (to remove skin above the pubis) and so on. 

The best thing to do is consult a Plastic surgeon after your weight has stabilized following significant weight loss. Your Bariatric surgeon can likely provide a recommendation.

This video from Kimberly H. is great. Kimberly is genuine, candid and informative as she explains her 'loose skin' experience and personal planning for plastic surgery as "taking the next step in her journey".

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It is good to remind yourself that loose skin is evidence that you've succeeded in your most important goal –– becoming a healthier person. Most people can accept some level of loose skin as a reasonable trade-off for an overall happier, healthier life but no one likes it and in some cases, it can present health issues (chafing which can lead to infection).

Surgeon Eric Volckmann, director of bariatric surgery at University of Utah, agrees. “It’s very problematic for patients -- particularly the ones who have done the best and have lost the most weight and are the most physically active,” Volckmann told HuffPost. "They’re often in the greatest need of removal of that skin."   

Full Huffington Post Story |  

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