Achieving major weight loss is a life transformation - physically, emotionally, and mentally. Whether you lost significant weight with bariatric surgery or lifestyle changes alone, the joy of your new body shape can be diminished by deflated, loose skin left behind. Fortunately, skin removal procedures trim excess skin, re-shape underlying tissue, and can even reduce stubborn pockets of excess fat.
Skin Removal Candidates
After major weight loss, the stretched out skin that remains will likely have little to no elasticity, which is the ability of the tissue to conform and fit to your smaller body shape. This lack of elasticity means the skin will hang there, causing you both aesthetic and physical discomfort. There is a cosmetic benefit to these procedures to be sure: The results of major weight loss are complemented by the removal of sagging skin. And there is also a medical benefit to these surgeries, when removing the excess skin prevents the rashes, chafing, and irritation that may occur.
Body contouring after weight loss can address just about any area of your body, including the:
- Upper arms
Oftentimes multiple procedures can be combined into a single surgical appointment, but the determination will be made in a consultation with Dr. Miller. He will first listen fully to your goals and what changes you would like to see. From there, he will recommend the post-weight loss procedure, or the combination of procedures, that will achieve your goals. Lastly, you can discuss whether combining the procedures is possible. Dr. Miller always puts your safety and satisfaction first.
Body Contouring Procedures after Weight Loss
Body contouring procedures focus on removing excess skin, tightening remaining skin, re-shaping supportive tissue, and removing stubborn pockets of resistant fat. Below, we look at the most commonly requested procedures post-weight loss.
- Breast lift: Elongated and saggy breasts are common after weight loss as the fat cells in this area shrink, leaving stretched excess skin behind. During a breast lift, Dr. Miller removes the excess skin, and lifts the breasts and nipples to a perkier position on the chest.
- Lower body lift: This comprehensive procedure lifts the abdomen, buttocks, and inner and outer thighs. Excess skin is removed, and your lower body will look smoother once it fits your body contour better.
- Panniculectomy: A sagging apron-like overhang of abdominal skin is called a panniculus. Not only can this excess skin make you feel really self-conscious, it may also cause chafing, irritation, and painful rashes. Dr. Miller can remove the excess skin and fat surgically.
- Thigh lift: Thigh lifts address deflated, hanging skin on the inner and outer thighs. This procedure is often combined with a butt lift.
- Butt lift: Often combined with a thigh lift, a butt lift removes deflated, droopy skin of the buttocks. The procedure improves the overall shape of the buttocks and lifts it to a perkier position.
During a consultation, Dr. Miller will help you decide which procedure or set of procedures will accomplish your goals. Tummy tucks, liposuction, and other procedures may also be suggested to achieve optimal results.
Questions about Post-Bariatric Skin Removal Surgery
Is Skin Removal Surgery Safe?
All surgical procedures are associated with the risk of complications. The process of removing a significant amount of excess skin requires certain surgical skills and techniques. Choosing an experienced surgeon like Dr. Miller, who performs these procedures often, will help mitigate the risk of complications and poor results.
Dr. Miller carefully reviews your concerns, your medical history, your current BMI, and your current body weight as he determines your candidacy for skin removal. If there are certain medical conditions that should first be managed, or if you could benefit from losing more weight before the procedures are performed, he will make sure you know. He ensures each of his patients are ideal candidates for these procedures so that the surgery and recovery will be as safe as possible.
What is Skin Removal Surgery?
Skin removal surgery does just that: It removes excess and unnecessary skin. This redundant skin may be left behind after bariatric surgery, because of aging, the effects of gravity, and your family history. These procedures can have benefits both aesthetic and practical because they reveal tighter body contours and eliminate chafing caused by skin rubbing against excess skin.
What Can Skin Removal Surgery Treat?
These procedures can target sagging skin in most areas of the body. Some of the concerns corrected with body contouring include:
- Drooping, elongated breasts
- Excess abdominal fat and/or skin
- A large, hanging “apron” of abdominal skin
- Sagging, heavy thighs
- Bra rolls and back fat
- Saggy upper arms
- A droopy, deflated buttocks
Discuss what you would like to change during a consultation with Dr. Miller. He will describe all of your surgical options.
How Long is Recovery from Skin Removal Surgery?
It depends on the exact procedures you undergo. Most post-bariatric skin removal surgeries remove quite a bit of skin. You may need to take 1-3 weeks off from work, and 2-6 weeks off from strenuous physical activity. Dr. Miller provides exact timelines once you’ve chosen a treatment plan.
How Do I Prepare for Skin Removal Surgery?
Our team will make sure you are fully prepared for your procedure and armed with pre- and postoperative instructions. Some of the steps you can take to prepare include:
- Filling any prescriptions from Dr. Miller
- Quitting smoking and tobacco use
- Preparing your recovery area with pillows, drinking water, movies to watch, etc.
- Downloading audiobooks/movies/podcasts to enjoy while you recover
- Stocking your freezer with meals that need only to be reheated
We’ll let you know how to prepare the night before surgery, and what to wear to your surgical appointment. You will need to arrange for your spouse, family member, or a friend to drive you home from surgery. Someone must also stay with you for at least 24 hours to help you, get anything you need, and make sure you understand the aftercare instructions as you recover from anesthesia.
What Happens During Skin Removal Surgery?
Excess skin is removed using strategically placed incisions. Dr. Miller places incisions in natural skin folds and other well hidden areas whenever possible, but sometimes visible scarring is unavoidable.
Underlying tissue is often re-shaped with these procedures. Stretched abdominal muscles may be repaired. Excess, stubborn fat may be removed with liposuction or by surgical removal.
The exact technique depends on which procedure you choose. They are all designed to reveal the defined contours of your body by getting rid of excess, sagging tissue.
Begin Your Journey to a More Proportional Body Shape
Are you ready to get started on the body contouring process? In Orange County, experienced cosmetic surgeon Dr. Anthony Miller is proud to help post-bariatric patients finalize what they’ve achieved with weight loss by removing excess skin. To arrange a consultation in Huntington Beach with Dr. Miller, please call Orange County Cosmetic Surgery at 714-379-9777.