With the coming of a new year, we all know losing weight, eating more healthful foods, and living a more active lifestyle often top lists of resolutions. Each of these is commendable and can provide rewarding results. Unfortunately, one thing I often hear from patients at my Kentucky plastic surgery practice is that they never realized losing a significant amount of weight could bring some unwanted aesthetic results — namely extra, loose skin around the body.
This is especially true for people who lose weight quickly through treatments such as gastric bypass. Once fat disappears, skin that once stretched to accommodate it is left loose and hanging from the midsection, limbs, breasts, and other areas. Although exercise can tone and tighten underlying muscles, surgical intervention is usually the only solution for excess skin.
With the right surgeon and treatment method, results can be natural-looking and very rewarding. Here are 5 of the most popular post-weight loss treatments we offer and how they can help patients restore confidence and comfort.
1. Tummy tuck: Tummy tucks are popular procedures for many patients who have lost weight, as well as for women following pregnancy. The procedure involves the removal of extra skin around the lower abdomen. Typically, I make an incision from hip to hip. If necessary, I can reconstruct the navel, as well, so that it appears in a normal position. Drastic stretching of the midsection due to weight gain, loss, or pregnancy can also stretch apart the abdominal muscles, causing a bulge. In these cases, I can repair the muscles and join them together again to create a sound abdominal wall.
2. Breast lift or augmentation: After weight loss or pregnancy, breasts can lose volume, stretch, and begin to sag. With a breast lift, I can restore the nipple and tissue to a higher, more natural point on the chest and remove loose skin. I can resize the areolas at the same time in most cases. I can also combine a breast augmentation with a lift, adding implants to restore volume in the breasts, particularly in the upper portion. You can learn more about this procedure and hear from some of the patients who have received it in our video.
3. Thigh lift: This common post-weight loss treatment is an effective way to lift and remove extra skin on the legs. It is very common among massive weight loss patients to have loose skin hanging from the inner and outer thighs that can be easily irritated when rubbing against clothing and other skin, particularly when exercising. By removing this skin, patients often experience much more comfort and a greater range of movement. They also feel more comfortable wearing swimsuits, shorts, or skirts and tend to feel more confident.
4. Arm lift: The arms can be one of the areas that post-weight loss patients are most concerned about because common clothing items such as T-shirts and dresses cannot easily conceal extra skin left on the upper arms. An arm lift removes extra skin around the bicep area. You can see a visual explanation of this treatment in this video as I explain how the procedure has been improved over the past several years and why it’s such an effective solution today.
5. Facelift: Facelifts are known to rejuvenate aging faces, making people look years younger and much more refreshed. After weight loss, it’s common for people of any age to experience loose skin along the lower face, creating jowls and a sagging neck. A facelift can pull the loose skin upward, tightening it and creating a youthful but still natural-looking result. Additionally, the technology used to perform facelift procedures is less invasive now than ever before, so downtime lasts a few days and patients can return to their normal activities after about a week.
The results of weight loss vary greatly between every patient. The amount of weight lost, body structure, desired results, lifestyle, and so many other factors make each case unique. Sitting down for a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon is the first, and most important step, toward restoring the body in a safe, customized way.
If you’d like more information about choosing a top plastic surgeon, visit my previous blog post. Or if you’re ready to learn what might work for you, give us a call at (502) 899-9979 to meet with me or Dr. Mizuguchi in person. We can help you choose the right treatments for your needs to help you reach your goals.