I am often asked about loose skin after weight-loss surgery. Will it be bothersome? Will it cause problems? Will it be cosmetically unattractive? The answers, of course, vary from person to person. Most people will lose a large amount of weight after their sleeve gastrectomy procedure, and most find that the skin rebounds nicely and causes no serious issues. Others find certain areas of the body are looser, and some people find the abdominal pannus or skin roll is a major nuisance, even an area for rashes. But keep in mind that these are considered “good” problems to have, in comparison to the unhealthy problems that the excess weight was causing, prior to metabolic surgery.
Solutions for Excess Skin after Weight-Loss Surgery
So, what is a person to do? For some people, the answer is continuing the exercise regimen, toning up where possible, using topicals for any rashes, and wearing clothes that feel comfortable and provide support. For others, skin removal surgery is the best option.
While there are individuals who seek skin surgery for areas including the upper arms, thighs, breasts, face and other areas, the most common need is the abdomen. Panniculectomy is the most used term to describe removal of the excess skin of the abdomen. Abdominoplasty is usually meant to describe the process of tightening the abdominal wall muscles during the procedure. I was fortunate to have been taught by the best plastic surgeons at UCSF a comprehensive abdominal wall reconstruction procedure that involves removing the excess skin and soft tissues (panniculectomy), and tightening the muscles (abdominoplasty), and reconstructing the body wall for the best strength and cosmetic result. Below is a photo taken in the office of a recent patient four weeks after the procedure.
It takes months to heal 100%, but most people have returned to work within two weeks after the procedure.
Usually, it is best to wait a full year after your weight-loss surgery before undergoing the panniculectomy. Ask us about pricing, as we are always seeking to find ways to reduce costs for our patients.