Many people added a few pounds during the pandemic—the “quarantine 15″—as self-isolating undermined workout schedules and led to more snacking while working from home. In contrast, some people used the disruption to focus on weight loss either through lifestyle changes or bariatric surgery. Losing significant weight, however, often requires plastic surgery after weight loss at my Los Angeles practice to remove the remaining excess skin and fatty tissue.
The significant accomplishment of losing 20, 50, or even 100 pounds or more comes with a raft of health benefits, including reversing conditions such as diabetes and sleep apnea. Weight loss also reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer. There is little doubt that significant weight loss can be a life-changing achievement.
Does Skin Shrink After Weight Loss?
Unfortunately, people who have been overweight for years discover after losing weight that they have excess skin that hangs loosely from their bodies. In most cases, they remain unable to feel confident about their body’s appearance. And it’s often not just a cosmetic concern. Heavy folds of excess skin can cause health problems of their own, such as discomfort, inflammation, and frequent infections from the skin rubbing together.
Additionally, the hanging skin can interfere with exercising and other daily activities, making it more difficult to keep weight off. Plastic surgery after weight loss—what I refer to as an extreme makeover after weight loss—offers a solution for many men and women who want to enjoy their new contours.
What Is Plastic Surgery After Weight Loss?
A number of different procedures help patients after losing a significant amount of weight. But not everyone who loses a lot of weight has loose skin. Younger people whose skin retains much of its elasticity may opt to avoid surgery and undergo non-invasive treatments that use laser or radiofrequency energy to tighten the skin. There is a limit to what those nonsurgical procedures can accomplish, though.
Patients with skin that hangs from the body generally need plastic surgery to remove the excess skin. Below I list some of the most common procedures performed during plastic surgery after weight loss. Before and after pictures illustrate how effectively the procedure removes excess skin and contours the body.
During a tummy tuck, I remove excess abdominal skin and tissue. I also tighten abdominal muscles that can separate and weaken when you carry excess weight in your midsection.
This modified version of the tummy tuck is less invasive and removes the pannus, the area of excess skin and fat that hangs over the pubic region.
A lower body lift is a procedure I often perform. It essentially combines a tummy tuck, thigh lift, and buttocks lift to elevate and tighten skin all around the lower body.
Many patients who lose significant weight end up with excess skin hanging from their upper arms, making them feel self-conscious about wearing short sleeve shirts or tank tops.
Excess skin on the upper thighs often leads to uncomfortable chafing when you walk or exercise. A thigh lift removes this excess skin from the upper and inner thighs, helping to give you a more toned appearance.
Sagging breasts are very common after significant weight loss. A breast lift repositions the breasts to appear more youthful.
As an expert in this field who’s authored clinical studies on the safety of combining procedures, I’m fully confident that patients can safely undergo 2 or more body contouring procedures in a single operation.
I customize surgical planning for each patient. Even though it’s common to combine body contouring procedures in a single operation, many of the patients who undergo plastic surgery after weight loss schedule multiple operations. Staging procedures is needed to minimize the risk to patient safety by limiting the length of operations. It’s common in our practice for patients to have 2 or 3 different days of surgery. Factors involved in customizing these stages are the age and health of the patient and the extent of the procedures needed.
The Importance of Body Contouring After Weight Loss
Research shows that women and men who undergo skin removal procedures after massive weight loss are more likely to maintain their weight loss. For example, a 2018 study published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal concluded that “patients who undergo body contouring after bariatric surgery are able to lose significantly more weight and maintain weight loss at five years of follow up compared to those undergoing bariatric surgery alone.”
Who Is a Good Candidate for Plastic Surgery After Weight Loss?
Men and women in the Los Angeles area considering plastic surgery after weight loss should be in good overall health without any underlying medical conditions. In addition, they should have maintained a stable weight for several months prior to undergoing surgery.
Having realistic expectations about what the procedures can accomplish—and understanding that scars are part of the results—is also essential. Finally, patients should be dedicated to leading a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and a nutritious diet.
Put the Finishing Touches on Your Weight Loss Journey
By losing a significant amount of weight, you’ve made a life-changing accomplishment that can lead to a healthier life. To fully appreciate this accomplishment, many women and men decide to undergo plastic surgery to remove excess skin. People looking for a plastic surgery after weight loss specialist in Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica, and throughout Los Angeles travel to our Marina del Rey practice for their procedures. You can request a consultation using the online form or call us at (310) 300-1779 to schedule an appointment to meet with me personally.