Closing the Chapter on Weight Loss
Congratulations! You’ve shed those pounds that have long plagued you, and you’re ready to start your new life, free from the constraints of being overweight. Often, however, the battle to lose those pounds leaves behind casualties in the form of excess skin and stubborn pockets of fat. Therefore, all you need to deal with these post-treatment issues is 360 Weight loss treatment.
What is Massive Weight Loss?
Massive weight loss refers to the shedding of a significant amount of body weight, typically around 100 pounds or more. This can result from diet and exercise changes, bariatric surgery, or other medical interventions. Such a drastic change can have profound effects on the body, including the skin’s ability to retract and conform to the new body size.
What Causes Loose Skin After Weight Loss?
Factors That Influence the Loss of Skin Elasticity
The primary factor is the skin’s ability to adapt to changes in body size. Elasticity decreases with age, prolonged periods of being overweight, and genetic factors. Skin stretched over a long period due to obesity may lose its ability to retract after weight loss.
What Causes Excess Skin After Weight Loss?
Excess skin after weight loss is mainly due to the skin and underlying tissues not shrinking back after the significant reduction in body volume. This happens because the skin’s elasticity is not always able to keep up with rapid weight changes.
Who’s More Prone to Having Loose Skin?
Individuals who lose a large amount of weight quickly, older adults, and those with less natural skin elasticity are more prone to having loose skin. Genetics also play a role in how the skin responds to weight loss.
Possible Side Effects of Having Loose Skin
Loose skin can cause physical discomfort, skin irritation, and infections. It can also be a significant cosmetic concern, affecting the individual’s self-esteem and comfort.
How to Eliminate Excess Skin After Losing Weight
Non-Surgical Remedies for Treating Excess Skin
- Strength and Resistance Training: Building muscle mass can fill the space left by fat, reducing the appearance of loose skin.
- Take Hydrolyzed Collagen: Supplements may improve skin elasticity.
- Stay Hydrated and Eat Certain Nutrients: Proper hydration and a diet rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals support skin health.
- Don’t Smoke, Stay Out of the Sun, and Use a Rich Moisturizer: These habits can protect and improve skin elasticity.
What Are Minimally Invasive Options to Get Rid of Excess Skin?
Minimally invasive options include laser treatments, radiofrequency, and ultrasound therapies. These procedures can stimulate collagen production and skin tightening without the need for extensive surgery.
What Are the Surgical Options?
Excess Skin Reduction Options
Skin Reduction Surgeries
Deciding If Surgery Is Right for You
Skin removal surgery, often referred to as body contouring, is major surgery and not to be taken lightly. As you consider taking this next step, several factors come into play:
- Time since weight loss – Plastic surgeons typically recommend waiting at least a year after reaching your goal weight before surgical skin removal, to allow skin to naturally retract as much as possible. Skin elasticity also declines with age, so it’s best not to wait too long.
- Medical health – You’ll need clearance that you are healthy enough for surgery, including a normal BMI and stable weight. Ongoing medical issues like diabetes or smoking can interfere with proper healing.
- Personal motivations – Think carefully through your expectations and motivations. Skin surgery can greatly improve physical comfort and self-confidence, but it’s important to have realistic goals. Perfection is impossible.
- Costs and recovery – Skin removal surgeries often leave large scars which fade over one to two years. Recovering takes patience as well. Be prepared for 2-4 weeks off work and limited movement. Costs vary widely but commonly reach $10,000+. Insurance coverage depends on your policy.
Considering Your Options
Various surgical options exist depending on your needs:
Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)
An arm lift removes loose skin hanging from the underarm region. Excess skin and fat especially accumulate in the upper arms. During surgery, an incision is made either on the inside or back of the arm, allowing the removal of extra tissue. The incision is then closed. Scars are permanent but will lighten over time.
A thigh or leg lift removes loose, excess skin from the thighs and legs via incisions near the groin crease, back of legs, or inner knees. Underlying muscle may also be tightened. Scars are permanent but will fade and smooth over the first year.
Lower Body Lift
This procedure treats loose hanging skin in the stomach, thighs, hips, and butt region in one integrated surgery. During a lower body lift, a surgeon makes a circumferential incision around the waistline and hip area, removes excess skin and fat below, and re-drapes the skin for smoother contours. The horizontal scar is permanently but able to hide within most underwear or swimsuits.
Breast Lift (Mastopexy)
A breast lift recontours sagging breasts affected by massive weight loss. Excess skin is removed and the remainder tightened for restored shape and firmness. Scars from a breast lift typically heal well and fade over time.
Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
One of the most popular skin removal surgeries is the tummy tuck which dramatically improves a loose, protruding stomach region with overhanging “apron”. During surgery, excess skin and fat are removed from the middle and lower abdomen, the muscle wall tightened, and remaining skin smoothed and re-draped. Scars sit low across hips and fade over the next 1-2 years.
Recovery: What to Expect
Recovering from body contouring procedures takes stamina combined with self-care. Having a support team helps ease the recovery process. Here’s an idea of what to expect:
- First 1-2 weeks – Moderate discomfort requiring prescription medications to manage pain. Very limited mobility with assistance needed for daily tasks. Most time spent recovering in bed.
- 2 weeks onward – Gradual increase in movement with preferred gentle activities like walking. Discomfort slowly improves but fatigue persists. Back to non-strenuous work after 4 weeks for some patients.
- 3 months onward – Beginning to see final results as swelling fully resolves. Scars remain reddened but will continue fading for a year. Can ease back into exercise around this time.
- 1+ years – Scars continue smoothing out and fading to thin white lines. Most patients see major improvements in loose skin, body contours, and confidence in their new figure.
Cost of Skin Reduction Surgery
The cost varies widely based on the type of surgery, the surgeon’s expertise, and geographic location. Insurance may not cover these surgeries if they are considered cosmetic. Patients should discuss costs and potential financial arrangements with their healthcare provider.
Conclusion: How to Get Rid of Excess Skin After Massive Weight Loss
Eliminating excess skin after massive weight loss involves a combination of non-surgical and surgical methods. The choice depends on the individual’s condition, goals, and preferences. Consulting with a qualified healthcare provider is essential to determine the most appropriate approach for each unique situation.
The Final Step
Whichever technique is best for you, it’s up to you to maintain the results. You’ve worked hard to lose the weight, and we’ve put the final touches on your efforts by removing much of the excess tissue and fat. These efforts can be undone if you fall back into unhealthy habits and gain weight again.
For this reason, we often recommend that you wait after your initial weight loss to ensure that you’re able to sufficiently maintain your new weight. Once you’ve settled into a sustainable weight, we sit down with you to choose a treatment that will get you the results you’ve worked so hard for.
To learn more about removing your excess tissue and fat after your weight loss program, and which procedure is best for your particular case, call Healthy Life Bariatrics or schedule an appointment today.