All across the country, board-certified plastic surgeons such as myself are seeing more and more patients who are seeking plastic surgery to improve sagging skin after losing dramatic amounts of weight. These procedures can have results that are far more than just cosmetic—they can allow patients to finally enjoy the physique they’ve worked so hard to achieve. But not all weight loss patients realize that there are so many surgeries available to help them put the finishing touches on their newly-slimmed appearance, so this blog can be a great first step in educating yourself about your options.
Why Weight Loss Can Result in Excess Skin
Your skin’s firmness and elasticity largely come from collagen and elastin within your skin. When you gain weight, the skin stretches and re-shapes to fit your size. Ideally, when you lose weight, this same elasticity will allow your skin to shrink as you do, so that it remains taut and firm. However, collagen and elastin have their limits, and your skin may not be able to re-shape with your slimming body. It’s impossible to know whether you’ll be left with excess skin after weight loss, but there are several factors that can contribute:
- The amount of weight you lose
- Your age (collagen breaks down with age, so your skin’s elasticity decreases through the years)
- How many times you gain and lose weight
- How quickly you lose weight
- Your genetics
Cosmetic Procedures to Correct Excess Skin
If you do find yourself with sagging skin after weight loss, the following procedures may be able to help:
- Arm Lift
- Breast Lift
- Tummy Tuck
- Thigh Lift
For the most part, all post weight loss plastic surgery has the same goal: to remove excess sagging skin and to ensure that the remaining skin is firm and taut. In some cases, muscle repair and fat removal can be done during the surgery for optimal results, but every patient’s procedure will be tailored to their specific needs and concerns. Many post weight loss patients have excess skin on multiple areas of their bodies, and they may be able to combine several of the procedures above into the same surgery.
Tips to Make Your Surgery More Successful
Regardless of which post weight loss surgery is the best fit for you, every patient wants to achieve the best possible results, and these tips can help:
- Get as close as possible to your goal weight before plastic surgery, and ensure that you can maintain that weight long-term, because future weight fluctuations will impact your results.
- Have reasonable expectations. For example, some patients assume the surgery will remove their stretch marks, but this only occurs if the stretch marks are on an area of skin that will be removed.
- Be wary of spending time and money on skin-tightening remedies that haven’t been proven effective. For instance, exercise can tone your muscle but it won’t make skin firmer, and spending months at the gym with this intention can be discouraging and won’t be an effective use of time or money.
Getting your body into better shape and improving your health are always cause for celebration, even when you have excess skin as a result, and I’m pleased to be able to help patients finally see their hard work pay off. If you’re considering plastic surgery due to sagging skin, schedule an appointment with me, Dr. Franklyn Elliott. Or, for more helpful tips and the latest plastic surgery news, join me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.