Excess Skin After Weight Loss

Condition

Loose Skin After Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery can transform your body and life. But losing a lot of weight may also leave you with excess skin. This loose or hanging skin is especially common when you’ve lost 100 pounds or more. 

Mercy offers surgical treatment for excess skin to help you regain your confidence and enjoy a more active life.

What Causes Excess Skin After Weight Loss?

Elasticity is your skin’s ability to stretch and then contract to its original shape. With rapid weight loss, the skin often can’t bounce back quickly enough to adapt to your new body. And several factors can make you more prone to excess skin after weight loss.

Obesity

Obesity pushes the limits of skin elasticity, keeping it from fully contracting when the weight comes off. And the longer your skin is stretched by excess weight, the more challenging it is to bounce back when the weight comes off.

Skin Quality

Skin quality also affects excess skin. The firmer your skin is before you lose weight, the better your chances of it tightening again.

Age

As you age, your skin naturally loses collagen and becomes looser. The reduced firmness that comes naturally with age can contribute to excess skin after weight loss surgery.

Genetics

Some people are genetically predisposed to looser skin. You can inherit genes that affect how your skin responds to weight gain and loss.

Side Effects of Excess Skin

Significant weight loss is an accomplishment, but the sagging skin it leaves behind can cause embarrassment and frustration. And it’s more than a cosmetic concern. Excess skin is often uncomfortable, making it hard to bend your limbs, move around or exercise. If perspiration gets trapped in the skin folds, you can also develop rashes or yeast infections.

If you’re struggling with excess skin after weight loss, talk with your Mercy bariatric surgeon or primary care provider. They’ll explain your treatment options and may refer you to a Mercy plastic surgeon.

Dealing with Excess Skin After Weight Loss Surgery

Studies show treating excess skin after weight loss surgery can improve your quality of life and help keep the weight off.

The most effective way to treat excess skin is with body contouring plastic surgery. Body contouring is a group of one or more procedures that can remove loose skin and tissues. Body contouring can help improve the appearance of the abdomen, breasts, arms, face, neck and lower body after weight loss surgery. Liposuction is sometimes combined with skin removal to achieve the best results. Talk with a Mercy plastic surgeon to find out more.

Many health plans consider body contouring surgery to be cosmetic, so it might not be covered. But if excess skin is causing medical problems or impacting your daily life, you may be eligible for coverage. Contact your health plan for details.

How to Prevent Excess Skin After Weight Loss

If you’re worried about excess skin after surgery, you can take steps to help minimize it. 

Strengthen Your Muscles

Building lean muscle under the skin can help fill it out. Work with your Mercy bariatric team to keep up with your exercise recommendations. Ask whether weight and resistance training can be incorporated into your regimen to strengthen your muscles. 

Eat a Balanced Diet

After weight loss surgery, a balanced diet with plenty of protein can help optimize skin elasticity. Ask your Mercy bariatric team how much protein you should be consuming daily. Your team may also want you to supplement your diet with vitamins to help keep skin healthy.

Stay Hydrated

Keeping your body hydrated is good for the skin and may help improve elasticity. Check with your bariatric team about the amount of water that’s safe to consume following surgery. 

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