Our surgeon consults with many different kinds of massive weight loss professionals, including gastric bypass surgeons, physicians who specialize in obesity, nutritionists, and support groups that provide help and counseling for people engaged in the weight loss process.
Through these contacts and our own patients, we have gained great respect for people who are willing to work so hard and sacrifice so much to reach a healthy body weight, often after many years or even decades of obesity. We know it is a difficult struggle, but this special group of patients has persevered and become much happier with their self-image. Yet they are constantly reminded of their former, larger selves because there is still too much body bulk.
Nobody loses weight uniformly all over the body. Even if you have lost more than 100 pounds, bulky fat deposits remain in some areas that additional weight loss is not likely to correct. Along with retained pockets of stubborn fat, you have roughly the same amount of skin you had when at your maximum weight, but the skin is severely stretched, unsupported, and has lost its elasticity. The only way to get rid of all that excess is to have it surgically removed because it will never shrink enough to conform to your reduced body size.
Body areas that most commonly have sagging pockets of skin and tissue after massive weight loss and the resulting consequences include:
- Face, neck, and jowls: produces a droopy, sad appearance
- Upper arms and armpits: gives a "bat-wing" like appearance
- Breasts: appear flattened, hang with nipples pointed downward, and cause rashes and chaffing beneath the breasts
- Abdomen and sides of the body: a large apron-like overhang of skin interferes with bodily functions, cleansing, and sexual activity
- Buttocks, groin, and thighs: causes chaffing and interferes with bodily functions and hygiene
Unfortunately, large excesses of heavy, weak and sagging skin that is chronically moist and irritated may develop healing problems and even infections that pose serious health risks. Many massive weight loss patients suffer from functional and hygienic issues caused by significant amounts of excess skin in the genital area, anal region, and breasts. For example, large hanging folds or flaps of skin and tissue can create significant problems with urination and hygiene in the genital area. They also cause constant chaffing and difficulty with simply moving around. Our patients suffered these kinds of problems when they were obese and are grateful to finally find a solution.
For the patients we have treated, body contouring after weight loss completed their transformation. They finally see the results of the weight loss goal they had been working toward. Their self-esteem and self-confidence soar as they finally feel "normal" and can show their new trimmer contour to the world. These patients can finally wear clothes in smaller sizes because they no longer have to buy large clothing to accommodate all the excess bulk still carried after weight loss. They are also much more physically comfortable and active.