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Correcting saggy skin after weight loss
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Correcting saggy skin after weight loss

15th Mar 2017

Saggy skin is often the byproduct of weight loss. A lot of people who follow a weight loss program often fail to take into account that after substantial weight loss, you just don’t lose fats, you lose muscles, too, which leads to considerable skin sagginess and droopiness. While weight loss can be a great personal achievement, the resultant skin sagginess will negate the benefits of weight loss. It will not lead to any boost in self-esteem and confidence since you simply exchanged one distressing problem for another. Your vision of looking fit, toned and lean after weight loss has collapsed like a house of cards.

Why doesn’t the skin rescind following weight loss?

The biggest side effect of weight loss is drooping and hanging folds of skin because you lose the fat and plumpness under the skin. After significant weight loss, the stretched skin may not easily retract because the skin layers, referred to as dermis, have been stretched and expanded by increased weight, which can affect the skin’s elasticity and ability to constrict over time.

The dermis comprises collagen and elastic that give the skin its strength and retraction power. When your body expands due to increase in weight, the skin stretches, which in turn damages the collagen and elastin. This makes the skin lose its retracting power, i.e. elasticity.

The extent of sagginess will depend on several factors, to wit: aging, the extent of weight loss, number of pregnancies, genetics, speed of weight gain and weight loss, and quality of skin. Following a massive decrease in weight, most patients acquire a skin pouch or what others call the “overhang” or “mama apron” around the abdomen. In most patients, there’s also saggy skin around the chest and under the arms plus the saddlebags in thighs.

This unsightly hanging and saggy skin in different parts of the body after weight loss can be emotionally distressing as well as lead to some worrying health issues like infections in the skin folds.

One study found that patients who lose fifty percent or more of their weight undergo a drastic drop in self-esteem, because the resulting saggy skin does not retract. Weight loss has a lot of benefits but the loose and saggy skin offsets those benefits.

The good news is that your genetic makeup may save you from weight loss induced skin sagginess. Normally, hanging skin following weight loss is not much of an issue among young men and women who have good skin elasticity and tone.

How to get rid of the saggy skin induced by weight loss?

There is one reliable way to get rid of the excess, saggy skin you got following a drastic weight loss, and that is called plastic surgery. After weight loss, if you observe that your skin has not properly retracted, you may consider body contouring plastic surgery to remove the extra skin.

Tummy tuck, breast lift, body lift, and panniculectomy are among the common plastic surgery procedures used to treat saggy skin after massive weight loss. Tummy tuck is a highly effective surgery that involves the excision of the excess skin and fat from the abdomen, and fixing the weakened abdominal wall muscles. The breast lift, also called mastopexy, involves removal of the excess skin from the breasts and reshaping and lifting the breasts to make them appear firmer and perkier.

The body lift surgery involves the removal of the excess skin, tissue, and fat from different areas of the body while the panniculectomy involves the surgical excision of the hanging skin that sometimes hangs over the genital or thighs. It can be used in combination with the tummy tuck surgery.

What are the associated risks?

Plastic surgery, by itself, is a major operation. Employing plastic surgery to remove the excess, saggy skin resulting from drastic weight loss definitely means more risks. Some of the risks common to these types of plastic surgery procedures include excessive bleeding, potential infections, hematoma and seroma, excessive inflammation and bruising, excessive scarring, change in or loss of skin sensation, death of skin, asymmetrical skin etc.

Weight gain following the surgery

If you have undergone plastic surgery to remove the excess skin from your body areas, you must definitely make lifestyle changes and stick to a healthy diet and regular exercise regimen. Weight fluctuation after surgery can negatively impact on the attained aesthetic gains. Pregnancy after the surgery can likewise negate the beneficial effects of surgery so you should postpone your surgery if you plan to have more children.

Conclusion

People who went through drastic weight loss often have to contend with ugly, droopy, saggy skin in different areas of the body. The extent of sagginess will depend on several factors, to wit: aging, the extent of weight loss, number of pregnancies, genetics, speed of weight gain and weight loss, and quality of skin. The good news is that there are a number of plastic surgery procedures that can immediately address these saggy and loose skin issues and restore and create a leaner, tighter, firmer and youthful looking body. Before making any decision to undergo surgery, be sure to discuss the pros and cons of all possible surgical options with your board certified plastic surgeon.


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