Skin Surgery after Massive Weight Loss

Skin Surgery after Massive Weight Loss

Congratulations! Whether by diet and exercise, or bariatric surgery, meaningful and sustained weight loss is quite an accomplishment. A new lifestyle awaits you!

Well sometimes, not quite yet. Unfortunately with large weight changes comes the deflation of your body and the skin that now hangs, preventing you from having the silhouette you’ve worked so hard to attain. But don’t fret—you have options!

For the motivated patient who is willing to swap “skin for scars,” a good candidate is someone who is:

  • A non-smoker*

  • Weight-stable for at least 6 months

  • In good health

  • Maintaining a well-balanced and healthful diet

The non-smoker is starred because this is the only criterion listed above that is an ABSOLUTE. No, we don’t hate smokers. We just don’t like that any products with nicotine in them (here’s looking at you, Nicorette gum), will prevent your surgical incisions from healing. What does that mean? Infections, wide ugly scars, etc. Why pay all that money to shape your newly fit bod, to have a less than awesome result? Exactly.

Other Questions:

Will insurance cover these surgeries?

There are two procedures that might be covered out of the entire repertoire of skin removal surgeries: breast reduction, and panniculectomy (removing the flap of skin and fat below the belly button). Truth be told, my massive weight loss friends usually don’t fit the criteria for a breast reduction, as there isn’t enough breast tissue left to meet the minimum requirements for insurance coverage. And the panniculectomy, while a great procedure if you have rashes and problems with urinating and maintaining good hygiene, does nothing to remove excess skin and fat above the belly button. This often results in a poor “aesthetic” outcome, with a true tummy tuck being the better way to go.

I just won lotto. Can I get my entire body contoured in one trip to the operating room?

No! There are lots of procedures we do simultaneously, such as a tummy tuck and a breast lift, or a breast lift and arm lift (Brachioplasty). In general we like to keep the time under anesthesia to less than 6 hours, because your risk of having complications starts to climb during longer surgeries. We want to be safe! We will take your wish list into consideration when planning surgeries, to make sure you get the best bang for your buck, and we do as much as we can in a safe environment. Your health is paramount.

Have more questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact us. I would love to meet you, and become a part of your weight loss journey.

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copyright 2017 Meredith Vandegrift