Ask a Plastic Surgeon: Can You Get Rid of Excess Skin After Weight Loss?

For half a century, Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C. has been recognized throughout the medical community as the premier cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery center in the Southeast.  Our board certified plastic surgeons, all recognized experts in the field, have published numerous books and papers on various plastic surgery topics and conducted lectures, presentations, and live surgical demonstrations around the world.  In this ongoing blog feature, “Ask a Plastic Surgeon”, we will ask our APS doctors some of the questions that are most frequently asked by patients.  We hope that this insight into the latest facial rejuvenation and body contouring plastic surgery procedures can help you decide what approaches or procedures might be right for you.

Ask a Plastic Surgeon Can You Get Rid of Excess Skin After Weight Loss

QUESTION: At the beginning of 2017, I was significantly overweight and was suffering from health problems as a result.  So, last January, I made a New Year’s Resolution to make some major lifestyle changes and to get my weight under control.  Now, just over a year later, I am extremely happy with the progress that I have made.  I have lost a lot of weight through diet and exercise, I have more energy, and my doctor says that I am healthier than I have been in years.  However, there is one issue that continues to bother me: excess skin.  It seems that when I lost the fat, the skin stayed stretched out and is now sagging in loose folds.  Are there any cosmetic plastic surgery procedures that can help deal with this issue?

ANSWER: What you are experiencing is not at all uncommon.  As we get older and as our weight fluctuates, our skin loses much of its natural elasticity.  Young people can usually expect their skin to rebound back to its original position after a pregnancy or other changes in their body shape, but those who manage to lose weight later in life are often not so fortunate.  There are actually a number of different plastic surgery procedures that are specifically designed to address this concern in different regions of the body, such as the abdomen, arms, thighs, or even the face and neck.  Collectively known as post-bariatric procedures, because they were originally conceived to help patients who had lost a great deal of weight through surgical weight loss procedures, post-weight loss surgery works by carefully removing the excess, sagging skin from certain areas to give the body a smooth and more athletic-looking contour.  It usually involves a customized combination of procedures, which may include some form of tummy tuck to shape the midsection, a targeted arm and/or thigh lift to remove and tighten excess skin in those areas, and possibly even a breast lift to give the breasts a higher and more youthful look.  When used to help restore a woman’s body to its pre-pregnancy condition, this combination of procedures is often called a “mommy makeover” but the same body contouring techniques can be used to address a variety of other concerns as well.  The specific mix of techniques that are appropriate in any case will vary depending on the individual patient and their personal areas of concern.

Plastic surgery procedures can be tremendously versatile, and so many of the techniques that are established and proven effective can be adapted to achieve new and unexpected results.  If you are interested in learning more about the things that plastic surgery might be able to do for you, please feel free to contact Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C. at one of our Atlanta, Alpharetta or Cumming offices to schedule a consultation, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest plastic surgery news.