From reducing health risks and reversing some of the effects of diabetes to being able to be more active and involved with your daily life, there are many positive benefits associated with weight loss surgery. One of the unpleasant results, however, is loose or excess skin. Human skin is like a rubber balloon in that once it’s stretched it will lose some of its elasticity when it’s no longer fully stretched. Here’s what you need to know about dealing with loose skin after weight loss surgery.
Potential Problems with Excess Skin
Potential issues with extra skin following weight loss surgery can be more than cosmetic in nature. Loose skin sometimes rubs against other folds of skin, resulting in rashes, chafing, and other types of skin irritation. This problem can be serious if the top layer of skin (epidermis) breaks open. Areas often affected include skin under the stomach, in the groin area, on various parts of thighs, and under arms. In warmer months, skin irritations may become more common and painful due to moisture accumulation from sweat.
Avoiding/Minimizing Excess Skin Issues without Surgery
Making an effort to enjoy a balanced diet that includes healthy sources of protein can help build and maintain lean muscle, which may reduce the extent of skin sagging following surgery. Exercises that contribute to muscle building may also be helpful since a lack of muscle mass under the skin’s surface can make sagging more noticeable. Loose skin may be further minimized by:
Cosmetic (Surgical) Skin Removal
If your post-surgery weight loss is 100 to 150 pounds or more, you may not see positive results with non-surgical attempts to minimize or live with the problem. Cosmetic surgery to remove excess or sagging skin will leave scars, although places where incisions were made can usually be concealed in your skin’s natural creases. Some patients opt to have a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) if excess skin is primarily relegated to the stomach and abdominal area.
Everybody who successfully sheds pounds following surgery will have a different experience with excess skin. It’s entirely possible to have minimal sagging in places where it’s not all that noticeable or problematic. For other patients, loose skin can be a distraction, or it may be responsible for skin irritations and other issues. Generally, it’s recommended that you wait until your post-surgery weight loss levels off before deciding how you want to deal with loose skin.
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