Excess skin removal after weight loss surgery
Obesity is a very common disorder that affects human life. Obesity cases increase along with the change of eating habits. According to a research in the US, in the year of 1995, the rate of obesity was not higher than 20% of the population for each state. However in 2010, it has been seen that more than 20% of the population is obese in each state.
To diagnose the obesity, we use BMI (Body Mass Index) calculations. According to the results, the patient can be overweight, obese or morbidly obese. For morbidly obese patients, the most beneficial treatment is obesity surgery.
There are many additional disorders that accompany obesity such as diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis etc. After obesity surgery, these side disorders can also heal. For example diabetes patients can reduce the dosage of insulin or can stop using it at all.
The increase in the number of obesity patients comes with the higher demand to obesity surgery. In Turkey every year more than 10 thousand patients undergo obesity surgeries, and more than 2 millions of patients are in the queue.
When is the right time to undergo an excess skin removal surgery?
After an obesity surgery, additional disorders can heal, but due to rapid weight loss, sagging skin occurs especially in abdomen, breasts, hips, thighs and upper arms. Excess skin creates an undesirable appearance, and can cause other disorders such as fungal infections and scars. Even though the patient loses weight, having excess skin makes physical activity harder. The best time to have excess skin removal surgery is the moment you finish losing weight and achieve your final weight. It should be considered as a long journey, and the last stop is getting rid of the excess skin to have ability to move comfortably, and to be healthy.
Can sagging skin be prevented after an obesity surgery?
The patients that are suitable for an obesity surgery are usually morbidly obese. These patients experience a rapid weight loss after the surgery, therefore it is not possible to avoid skin sagging completely. But with regular exercise and consuming lots of liquids can minimize it.
When is the best time to have plastic surgery after an obesity surgery?
Timing is an important issue in terms of having a plastic surgery after an obesity surgery. Usually patients lose weight during the 1 year after the surgery. In order to have a plastic surgery, your weight loss process should be completed and stable. To be clear, you should not lose more than 2,5kgs each month for the last 3 months. Sometimes patients can insist on having a plastic surgery way earlier than they are supposed to, this leads to undesirable results.
What are the most common surgeries after obesity surgery?
After an obesity surgery, whole body is affected by the rapid weight loss. Therefore the most common surgeries are lifting type of surgeries such as abdominoplasty, breast reduction or mastopexia, thigh lift, liposuction etc. It changes depending on the person, but most of the patients need the majority of these surgeries in order to have a better shape. In order to make the process easier, some of these surgeries can be performed at the same time by combining. For example thigh and arm lift, or mastopexia and arm lift can be combined. In this way the whole process can be easier rather than having the surgeries separately.
Are plastic surgeries any different when they are performed after an obesity surgery?
Those who rapidly lost weight have different problems than regular plastic surgery patients. The most important issue is the scars. For example in a normal abdominoplasty surgery, scar is left in the underwear area, so it is not that obvious. However, in an obesity patient, these lifting surgeries should be performed all around the torso, which means more scars basically. But, we can easily say that we exchange the sagging skin with scars. That said, less scar means less lifting, and more sagging skin. On the other hand, most of the scars can be hidden with body curves and lines.
The right diagnosis to sagging breasts is important as well. For example some patients only need breast reduction, some need mastopexia as well. Some others do not have enough breast tissue and may need implants as a lifting.
Shortly, all the deformities are considered and the right treatment plan is prepared with the help of your surgeon.
How long should I wait between surgeries?
Usually we recommend 3 months intervals in between. However this may change depending on the patient’s general health condition.
How is the healing process?
It varies according to the surgery. For instance, abdominoplasty patient stays in the hospital for 2 days and in 15 days he/she can return to normal life. For 3 months it is recommended to stay away from physical activities. Generally patients can return to normal life in 3 weeks.
Is excess skin removal risky? What are the most common complications?
It is not that much riskier than a normal plastic surgery, but if the patient has any additional disorders due to obesity, complication risk can be slightly higher. The most common one is scar healing problem, which can take longer than normal. But it can heal with proper dressings and well care.
As a conclusion, excess skin removal surgeries have a big positive impact on patients. With the right operative planning and experience, the results can be spectacular.