Weight loss is often followed by the development of loose, saggy skin. Many people who use diet, exercise, or stomach surgery to lose weight often forget or don’t realize that the skin becomes loose and saggy after drastic weight loss. This can take a toll on a person’s self-confidence. Why doesn’t the skin retract after weight loss? Loose skin is a major side effect of substantial weight loss, and it occurs as a result of damage to skin layers called the dermis. The dermis is made of elastin and collagen, which help the skin retract and strengthen. Substantial weight gain stretches the skin, damaging the elastin and collagen and resulting in loss of elasticity and strength. There are a number of other factors that can determine the extent of skin sagginess after drastic weight loss. These factors include the age of the patient, the speed of weight loss, and the number of children (in women). After substantial weight loss, many patients grow a skin apron around the tummy and saggy skin underneath the arms and chest. This can be physically and emotionally discomforting for the patient. In some cases, the loose skin can trigger health issues like infections that might attack unhygienic folds in the skin. According to research, people who lose 50 percent of their weight experience a decrease in self-esteem due to the development of loose, saggy skin. While weight loss in general comes with a range of health benefits, loose skin is aesthetically displeasing and affects the confidence of the patient. It is also important to understand that not everyone who loses weight can develop lose skin. Your genetics and age can help save you from skin sagginess. Younger people are less at risk of loose skin after substantial weight loss, because their skin elasticity and strength is still intact. This also depends on the amount of weight you lose, although there is yet to be scientific proof that gradual weight loss can prevent skin sagginess. How can loose, saggy skin be corrected? The only proven way to treat loose, saggy skin after weight loss is to get rid of the loose skin. This can be achieved via plastic surgery. If your skin does not retract after one year since losing weight, it is an indication to have the excess skin removed through plastic surgery. There are a number of plastic surgery procedures available to rid the body of excess skin. These include the tummy tuck, panniculectomy, body lift, and mastopexy. The tummy tuck procedure is highly effective when it comes to contouring the abdomen. The procedure involves the excision of loose skin from the abdomen in addition to repairing the abdominal wall muscle. Panniculectomy is another powerful surgery that eliminates loose skin from the tummy area. This procedure is often coupled with the tummy tuck. A body lift is also effective in contouring the body by removing excess skin, fat, and tissues. This can be performed on the upper body, middle body, or lower body. If you have loose, hanging skin on your whole body, a full body lift will be performed. Mastopexy is performed for excess skin on the breast area. Risks There are a number of risks associated with the use of plastic surgery to remove your body of loose, saggy skin. These entail infections, excessive bleeding, seroma, change or loss of skin sensation, swelling, bruising, scarring, skin irregularity, and skin necrosis. It is extremely important to have a thorough consultation with your surgeon beforehand. Weight gain after surgery It is always possible for a patient to gain weight after the procedure. Surgeons therefore advise their patients to maintain a healthy lifestyle of regular exercise and diet after surgery. If you want to have children, postpone your plan to undergo surgery. In order to steer clear of the risks involved, disclose your complete medical history with your surgeon to avoid life-threatening health complications. Conclusion Patients who experience substantial weight loss are often left with loose, saggy skin. Whether you will have loose skin after weight loss depends on your age, skin quality, and speed of weight loss. Thankfully, there are a number of plastic surgery procedures available to remove excess skin and make your body look beautiful. Remember to discuss options with your surgeon in order to get the best recommended course of action for your body.