The amount of excess skin patients are left with after weight loss can be emotionally disturbing and place limitations on daily activities. Following bariatric surgery, patients lose weight at a rapid speed causing a distortion of body image and some physical ailments. Studies show that excessive skin after weight loss causes functional impairment and thus interferes with a patient’s quality of life.
Most patients who experience extreme weight loss can expect to develop excess skin in localized areas such as the arms, lower abdomen, thighs, face, and neck. The cause of excess skin after extreme weight loss is simple. As a patient gains weight, the skin and other tissues expand and are compromised and tissue fibers are broken. As the tissue is damaged, so the skin will not return to its previous state causing extreme loss of elasticity, resulting in loose skin.
There are many factors that determine how much excess skin remains after weight loss. Age plays are large role in how loose the skin will be post weight loss. Younger patients hold more elastin in their skin hence the skin will be less loose as when compared to an older patient. Another factor that plays a role is the amount of weight a patient has lost. For instance, a patient who loses 200 lbs will have more loose skin than a patient who loses 80 lbs. Other variable factors such as lifestyle, whether a patient is a smoker, and or heredity can affect skin quality and the amount of excess skin post weight loss.
Despite the success of weight loss surgery, the rapid rate at which patients lose weight can lead to distressing body disfigurements. Due to the dissatisfaction with excessive skin after weight loss, most patients resort to plastic surgery. In addition to a now compromised body image, excess skin remaining after weight loss can cause functional impairment by concealing rashes or by interfering with adequate hygiene, and daily activities. Body contouring plastic surgery is then encouraged in an effort to improve quality of life. Overall, body contouring surgery results in improved health-related quality of life and gratification with body image.
Body lift plastic surgery is not a common procedure and it is vital that a post weight loss patient consults with a board certified plastic surgeon who specializes in body contouring. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) reported that in 2012 the average plastic surgeon performed one body lift procedure per year. On the other hand, Dr. Siamak Agha of Plastic Surgery Body Contouring center in Newport Beach, CA performs one to two body lift procedures per week. Please view our body lift gallery for before and after photos, and to learn more about Dr. Agha’s patient’s success stories.