If you’ve recently lost weight via bariatric surgery or another method, congratulations! Taking control of your health is an admirable achievement that will add years to your life and life to your years. Hopefully you are loving your new look, but if you aren’t, you’re not alone. Many people who lose more than 25 pounds may still not be satisfied with their bodies post-weight loss. In some cases this can be due to a mental health disorder such as body dysmorphic disorder, but in many cases it can be due to something totally different: excess skin.
As the body stretches to accommodate more body fat, the skin must stretch, too. Even gaining 5 pounds can cause stretchmarks on some bodies. When a person is young and doesn’t have much fat to lose, that skin is more likely to “bounce back,” thanks to something called collagen. But as we age, that collagen diminishes, and as we gain weight it becomes harder and harder for that skin to return to its normal place, especially if we lose weight very quickly, such as with bariatric surgery.
Thankfully, there are options for patients who have reached their goal weight and find themselves dealing with a lot of excess skin. Here are some effective options to get your post-bariatric figure exactly how you want it.
Wait on Your Weight
As you begin to lose weight following your bariatric procedure, you may notice that your skin isn’t shrinking with the rest of you. Your first instinct may be to correct that. But while it is admirable that you want to look your best, it’s better that you wait until you’ve reached your goal weight before undergoing any skin-removal procedures. That’s because if you still have more weight to lose, you could end up needing another surgery when you hit your goal. Of course, there are times when you can’t quite get to the size or weight you want because of the excess skin, and in those cases you are likely ready for skin removal. But speak to your bariatric surgeon before determining what your goal weight should be.
You may have heard the term “body contouring” before. Anyone can get body contouring – even if they haven’t lost a great deal of weight – but if you have lost weight and find yourself dealing with a lot of left-behind skin, body contouring can be just the ticket to helping you achieve your weight-loss goals. Body contouring not only removes any excess skin, but also helps shape and tighten the remaining skin, helping you achieve the silhouette you’ve always wanted.
There are many procedures that fall under the umbrella of body contouring. They include:
Fleur de Lis Abdominoplasty
A fleur de lis abdominoplasty gets its name from its shape. While traditional abdominoplasties generally run across the abdomen from one hip bone to the other, the fleur de lis abdominoplasty creates a second incision that runs vertically down the front of the abdomen. This allows Dr. Chau to remove more excess skin than he could with a traditional abdominoplasty, helping to create a smoother, more-toned-looking upper abdomen, too.
Batwings, bingo wings, widows curtains – you’ve probably heard all kinds of cutesy (read: annoying) euphemisms for floppy upper arms. But just because they have a jolly nickname doesn’t make them any more tolerable. If you find yourself stuck with sagging upper-arm skin that won’t go away with lifts and curls, you should consider an arm-lift procedure. An arm-lift removes the excess skin hanging from your upper arms and can create a tight, toned look that would never be possible with diet and exercise alone.
Does your face suddenly look tired, sunken or even older following your weight loss? Seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it? After all, you’ve just lost a lot of weight – you feel younger, shouldn’t you look younger too? Not necessarily, thanks to sagging skin. Thankfully, a face-lift may be able to help tighten up the skin and help restore that youthful, well-rested look you probably had prior to your weight loss, so you can look as good on the outside as you feel on the inside.
Breast-Lift / Augmentation
It’s very likely that your breasts may look very different following a major weight loss – after all, according to a study published in the July 1980 American Journal of Physical Anthropology, the female breasts can contain up to 3.5 percent of the body’s fat content. That can account for a significant reduction in breast size if you’ve lost a significant amount of weight. That means your breasts may appear smaller, but they can also appear deflated or sagging. For some women, the smaller size may be a welcome change, but the sagging may be undesirable. For those women, a breast-lift may help achieve the look they desire. For others, the decreased size may be a disappointment, and for those patients, a breast augmentation with breast implants – with or without a breast-lift – may be the perfect solution.
No matter what you decide, congratulations again on putting your health first and losing the excess weight. When you’re ready to take care of the excess skin left behind, give Dr. Chau’s office a call at 888-966-9471 for a complimentary consultation.