Losing weight is tough. After a weight loss journey, it’s easy to feel discouraged because, often, you are left with excess skin. This makes it difficult to see all your hard work. People often lose weight to feel better about themselves and improve their health and overall quality of life. Surgery after weight loss targets excess skin and stubborn fat that is no longer responding to diet and exercise. When you have a lot of excess skin, it can make you feel down about your progress and unable to enjoy the final result.
Loose Skin After Weight Loss: Why Does it Happen?
Weight loss, in particular, rapid and significant weight loss, doesn’t give your skin enough time to retract. So, you end up with loose skin after weight loss. But it’s not all weight loss that results in excess skin and it really depends on the individual. Weight gain also stretches skin beyond its capabilities and the subsequent weight loss can leave you with loose and excess skin.
It’s not just your weight that influences the skin, but your skin quality and age too. Often, younger people have a better chance of their skin retracting back after body changes as they have higher levels of collagen and elasticity.
When your skin is stretched for a prolonged period of time, the elastic and collagen fibres can become damaged. This can make it difficult for the skin to retract. During pregnancy, the skin expands for several months but usually retracts months after delivery.
It’s difficult to avoid loose skin after weight loss altogether, but slower weight loss may give your body the opportunity to retract the skin more efficiently. However, slower weight loss isn’t always an option, especially if you’re undergoing bariatric surgery. Other factors that influence loose skin include:
- Length of time the skin is expanded
- Amount of weight lost
- Sun exposure
Plastic Surgery After Weight Loss: Top 7 Treatments
When you lose a significant amount of weight, whether, through diet and exercise or weight-loss surgery, you can be left with excess skin. This is because the skin doesn’t always shrink well. It’s common to end up with folds of skin in areas like the abdomen, arms, waist, legs, and breasts. While you may not experience excess skin in all these areas, these are the main problem areas. After significant weight loss, the main cosmetic procedures patients consider are those that remove excess skin and tighten the contours of the body.
1. Lower Body Lift
A lower body lift or belt lipectomy targets excess skin on the lower body. It focuses on fat around the abdomen, flanks, and back. A lower body lift is like an extensive tummy tuck and can take up to 5 hours to perform. It’s considered major surgery. The surgery can create a more contoured body around the tummy, hips, and buttocks. This procedure focuses heavily on removing excess skin so is a suitable surgery after weight loss when dealing with a lot of extra skin.
2. Arm Lift
An arm lift targets and tightens the upper arm skin. If you have sagging arm skin from weight loss, this procedure can help to eliminate ‘bingo wings’. With significant excess skin, the procedure can surgically remove skin and fat for a more effective result. In general, scarring is hidden on the back of the arm, so you can’t see the scars when the arms are down by your side.
3. Tummy Tuck
A tummy tuck aims to improve the appearance of the abdomen by removing excess skin and fat. Often, a tummy tuck is combined with tightening the abdominal muscles, especially after pregnancy. There are different types of tummy tuck surgeries. For significant excess skin, an extensive tummy tuck may be suitable to target skin and fat from both the abdomen and lower back.
4. Breast Lift
A breast lift could be a suitable solution if you have noticed that your breasts are sagging after weight loss. For more severe dropping, a breast lift can target excess skin and tighten the whole area, lifting the breasts into a higher, more youthful position. If you’re looking to increase volume at the same time as targeting excess skin, you may consider a breast lift alongside breast implants or breast fat transfer surgery.
5. Facelift and Neck Lift
In the face and neck region, excess skin can feel a little more obvious as it’s difficult to cover with clothing. If you have excess skin, a facelift and neck lift is a popular option. After significant weight loss, the skin usually needs to be tightened and excess skin removed. A good candidate for a facelift and neck lift is as close to their ideal weight as possible and in good physical health.
Liposuction doesn’t necessarily target sagging skin after weight loss. But if you are left with stubborn fat deposits after losing weight, liposuction can help you fine-tune your appearance. You have the option to use Vaser liposuction or traditional liposuction, depending on the area you’re looking to target and the amount of fat. Liposuction isn’t a weight-loss procedure. Patients should be close to their ideal weight before considering liposuction.
If you’re looking to tighten your skin, microneedling is a non-invasive treatment that can tighten and rejuvenate skin. Results can vary from one individual to another. Microneedling can also improve wrinkles and help with scarring, pigmentation, and stretch marks.
Cosmetic Surgery After Weight Loss at the Harley Clinic London
Several procedures can help you to lose excess skin after weight loss. Whether you’re looking for a bit of a lift or struggling with significant amounts of excess skin, it’s important that you speak to an expert and qualified plastic surgeon to guide you through the various treatments available.
At the Harley Clinic on Harley Street, we have world-class facilities to provide compassionate and high-quality care. Cosmetic surgery after weight loss with the Harley Clinic could be the next step of your journey. Book a consultation today.