Losing a large amount of weight is something that anyone should be proud of. Unfortunately, many people who experience extreme weight loss find that they still aren’t happy with their body, as they’re often left with sagging excess skin that prevents them from flaunting their new-and-improved appearance.

Generally speaking, loose skin largely occurs when fat begins stretching out your skin and very sudden fat loss leaves the skin to simply hang down. That is why this excess skin is often seen in patients that have had weight loss surgery.

The good news is that there’s an effective solution to this problem that so many people find themselves dealing with. While exercise can certainly help, body reconstruction surgery can make an even bigger difference. In fact, some doctors even argue that this should be a routine part of any extreme weight loss surgery.

It is also important to note that not every bit of weight loss leads to large folds of excess skin. According to Joshua Zuckerman, M.D., this kind of excess saggy skin typically does not occur when the amount of weigh lost is under 20 pounds. Likewise, slower weight loss or other favorable factors such as younger skin are likely to decrease your chance of sagging skin. Don’t panic too much however, if you’ve recently undergone heavy weightloss, since there are also number of ways to get rid of excess skin. Let’s start with the basics however.

Does Saggy Skin Go Away After Weight Loss?

The short answer is that it depends. Light weight loss (think under 20 pounds), is likely to result in very little loose skin, if any, and can probably be tightened up with time, exercise, and good diet.

Having said that, very sudden, heavy weight loss, especially that due to weight loss surgeries is a very different issue. Although exercise and proper care can still contribute to tightening skin in such cases, they are likely to be inefficient. For example, a patient that has gotten gastric bypass surgery and lost 100 pounds is very likely to suffer from loose sagging skin post weightloss.

“What I’ve found, it’s very interesting — they go and get [gastric bypass surgery], and then they come in and they’re still not happy,” Dr. Steve Wallach, a cosmetic surgeon in Manhattan, said in an interview with NBC News. “I had one patient who specifically said, ‘I’m wearing a fat suit; I feel like I’m a thin person inside wearing a body that’s twice the size of mine.'”

Sometimes the leftover skin is more than just a physical insecurity, causing people to experience pain and chafing.

How Do You Get Rid Of Saggy Skin After Weight Loss?

As mentioned earlier, there are a number of strategies you can try in order to get rid of sagging skin.

Here’s a few:

  • Regular exercise and muscle building.
  • Taking collagen supplements.
  • Eating nutritious food that’s high in protein and vitamins.
  • Drinking plenty of water.

Having said that, none of these will be 100% effective (especially after extreme weight loss). The most surefire way to get rid of saggy skin is actually surgery. It’s not only effective, but much faster than “at-home” remedies.

Can Excess Skin Be Toned?

A common recommendation for sagging skin has always been exercise – and for good reason. Staying active can not only help keep all that past weight off, but also improve the appearance of loose skin. For minor cases of weight loss, a little muscle might be able to create a more “taut” appearance and replace the gaps where fat used to live. Keep in mind however, that research has yet to find definitive answers regarding this topic, and plastic surgery is a proven effective option.

What Surgery Removes Excess Skin After Weight Loss?

As for surgical options, a body lift is a commonly recommended option. A body lift is a procedure during which a surgeon makes incisions and removes sections of loose skin, tightening the tissue. The procedure is performed fully under anesthesia, and the incisions are closed after.

After the surgery, your plastic surgeon provides you with post-care instructions, and your body takes over with the healing process. The end result? Beautiful, contoured skin that fits your brand new body.

Keep in mind however, that you should always consult your plastic surgeon and talk over all of your options before making any decisions. Although a body lift is a great option to get rid of excess skin, any kind of surgery is still a large decision, and should be made only after a thorough consultation with a medical expert.

Does Skin Removal Surgery Hurt?

As we mentioned earlier, surgical procedures such as body lifts are done under anesthesia. The drugs carry you through the procedure so that you don’t feel a thing during the procedure itself. Although you may experience some bruising and moderate pains during your recovery, you will be prescribed pain medication to ease the recovery process.

How Much Weight Do You Lose With A Body Lift?

Although it may not seem so, skin can actually be pretty heavy. Patients that have had weight loss surgery often find that the heavy fold of skin sagging down is both aesthetically displeasing, and surprisingly heavy. The good news however, is that a body lift has the benefit of removing all of this excess skin weight. Although the exact amount of weight loss obviously depends on how much excess skin you have, it is not uncommon to drop multiple pounds as a result of a body lift.

Is Excess Skin Removal Surgery Covered By Insurance?

The short answer is…typically not. To be more specific however, insurance plans usually do not cover cosmetic procedures. In the case that you decide to get a body lift however, it is always a good idea to reach out and ask. Insurance companies will sometimes partially cover the bill if there is evidence that it is necessary for your physical health. For example, skin rashes and extreme quantities of loose skin that interfere with your physical health may be reasons why an insurance plan does opt to cover some of the costs of a skin removal surgery. Having a firm recommnedation from your primary physician is also helpful.

Will Medicaid Pay For Excess Skin Removal?

As we mentioned earlier, most insurance plans are very unlikely to pay for excess skin removal surgery. This includes Medicaid. Having said that, it is still worth reaching out to ask.

How Much Does Excess Skin Removal Cost?

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of a lower body lift is $7,924. Of course, this price tag can be significantly higher if you need more than just lower body work done.

How To Qualify For Skin Removal Surgery

plastic surgeon doing a consultation

Finding yourself with an unexpected fold of skin after all that hard work may come a shock. That’s why it’s perfectly normal to wonder whether it’s the right time to get skin removal surgery. The best policy however, is to consult an expert. A plastic surgeon or medical provider can tell you whether your excess skin is something that will tighten naturally over time, or if it’s something that requires surgical intervention.

Contact The Lett Center in Tennessee

Interested in getting rid of your own sagging skin? We’re here to help! Simply book an appointment, and our plastic surgeon will be happy to talk to you about how to get rid of excess skin.

Here at The Lett Center, we can perform a body lift for individuals who are hoping to get rid of excess skin that results from aging or extreme weight loss. These procedures vary from one patient to the next, so it’s important to work with a board-certified plastic surgeon like Earl Dwayne Lett, MD to achieve the results you desire in a safe and healthy manner. Contact The Lett Center today to schedule a consultation.