So, you have done the right thing, taken control of your health, lost weight, healthy BMI …and now what – you look like this!! Many people who lose weight after years of obesity can end up with loose skin folds that cannot be lost through exercise. You can feel disappointed and frustrated at gaining your health back but now having to deal with a whole new range of issues – mainly excessive skin.
Body Lift Surgery - Excess Skin Recovery Removal Surgery
Plastic Surgery (Skin Recovery Surgery or Body Lift Surgery) is the next step for reducing unwanted skin folds and excessive skin in areas of the body such as the abdomen, back, breasts, face, neck, upper arms and thighs. All these procedures have medical names (Abdominoplasty, Apronectomy, Side Chest Lipectomy, Mammaplasty, Rhytidectomy, Brachioplasty, Thighplasty etc.)
Plastic Surgery may be appropriate for individuals who have lost significant amounts of weight that resulted in heavy skin folds or sagging skin across the body. Common areas for skin reduction include breasts, abdomen, torso, thighs, triceps and back.
Surgeries are performed under general anaesthetic, and if multiple procedures are required, they may be completed sequentially (individually) to keep patient low risk and safety as our main goal. Some procedures may occasionally be combined in an extended single surgery session. However, it is usually not recommended to have too many procedures performed at once, this will be decided at your consultation.
Circumferential Abdominoplasty (Belt Lypectomy)
A Circumferential Abdominoplasty is more extensive than an Extended or standard Abdominoplasty and is not always recommended due to its high risk factor of loss of blood supply. The incision typically extends around the entire waist line. Excess skin and fat are reduced surgically, muscles are repaired or tightened and the outer thighs and buttocks are “lifted”. The navel is placed in an aesthetically pleasing location. If there is severely damaged skin in the upper abdomen then a reverse abdominoplasty may be done – with scars under the breast and around the upper sides of the chest area. Liposuction may also be used to help restore a smoother shape.
Abdominoplasty (Extended or Hip to Hip)
An Abdominoplasty aims to remove not only the excessive skin or apron from the stomach but to also tighten and repair internal muscle and tissue to allow a shaped waistline.
Thigh Lift (Thighplasty)
Thighplasty surgery is designed to reduce and reshape loose, crepey-looking skin on your thighs, which tends to look ‘rippled’ and saggy. This procedure aims for more contoured thighs. Thigh Lift Surgery is essentially 2 operations because both legs are being operated on to remove excess fat, primarily from the inner and outer surfaces of the thigh and buttocks.
Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)
A Brachioplasty or Arm Lift procedure is a surgical reduction of excess skin from the upper arm area, usually from the under-arm area of the body to the elbow. A Bilateral Brachioplasty again is 2 operations and may also involve some liposuction prior to excising the drooping skin. It can help make exercising or wearing sleeved clothing more comfortable and minimises the appearance of “tuck shop arms or bat wings”.
BREAST SURGERY TREATMENTS
Breast Lift (With or Without Breast Implants)
Breast Lift (Mastopexy) involves the reshaping and lifting of the breast to remedy droopy or sagging breasts. This procedure can often be required for women following pregnancy, breast feeding, ageing or significant weight loss. A Breast Lift can be combined with other surgical procedures, the most common being the placement of breast implants, to add shape and volume to the breasts as well a lift.
Breast Reduction Surgery (Reduction Mammoplasty, Breast Reduction with Liposuction and Surgical Excisions and Nipple Repositioning)
Breast Reduction Surgery, also known as Reduction Mammoplasty, is a procedure involving the reduction of overly large breasts. This procedure removes excess breast fat, tissue and skin to achieve a breast size that is more proportionate to your body. The breasts and nipples are also elevated to a more central position on the chest wall. If desired, the nipple itself can be adjusted in size, shape or symmetry.
Back Lift Surgery / (Back Skin Fold Reduction / Side Chest Lypectomy
A Lower Back Lift and/or an Upper Back Lift may be performed to produce a slimmer, more defined contour to the back by reducing excess, sagging skin. An upper back lift is a type of plastic surgery that aims to correct and reduce sagging upper back fat rolls (side chest lipectomy) which are prominent around the bra line. During a lower back lift, excess skin and fat are removed from the lower back and the buttocks are lifted.
Liposuction for Lower Body Areas (Lower Body Liposuction Procedures)
Liposuction is a surgical technique that helps improves body contours by reducing excess fat deposits located between the skin and muscle. Liposuction involves the use of a small stainless-steel tube (cannula). Liposuction IS NOT an effective treatment for weight loss patients who have excessive skin but should be viewed as a minimal contouring tool.
Facelift/ Neck Lift Surgery after Weight Loss
Facelift Surgery can help you regain a firmer lower face or firmer jawline appearance by reducing sagging skin or jowls, helping reduce some wrinkles or deep trough lines, especially if combined with other skin treatments or a neck lift.
A Facelift involves lifting the tissues of the mid and lower part of the face, as well as tightening and lifting skin and underlying muscle.
Why doesn’t skin just ‘snap back’ after losing weight?
Some people are more susceptible to having redundant folds of skin. Your skin’s ability to contract or “bounce back” after losing weight depends on various factors such as:
Quality of your skin’s elasticity, Age, Genetics, Amount of weight gained and lost, Sun exposure and Lifestyle factors such as smoking, medication and environment.
Drastic weight loss often means your skin is not fully able to adapt to your new, leaner shape. If your skin had stretched to accommodate your heaviest weight and now lacks resilience, then surgical skin removal is your only option.
Am I a Good Candidate for Excess Skin Reduction after weight loss or gastric surgery?
Mentally, excess skin can lead to embarrassment and a lack of satisfaction with your body image, even after significant weight loss. The accomplishment of losing weight is sometimes diminished because this is not reflected in the ‘final result’. Skin Reduction Surgery helps people who have lost weight to regain body-confidence by removing embarrassing or uncomfortable folds of redundant (unnecessary) skin.
To be considered a suitable candidate for Body Contouring Surgery, you must have realistic expectations about what can be achieved. You will also have scars in the treated areas, and you need to accept you are exchanging one difficulty for the acceptance of another. Any skin excise surgery is ideal for patients that have achieved their desired weight goal and been the same weight for the last 12 months.
Common Reasons for Wanting Skin Reduction?
- Loose sagging skin that is uncomfortable or embarrassing.
- Recurring skin infections such as chaffing or intertrigo
- Unpleasant body odour due to moisture trapped in excess skin
- Fear of intimacy due to current body contours
- Inability to see your natural body curves or shape due to excess skin
- Discomfort with the ‘flapping’ your skin makes as you move around or exercise
- Difficulty finding clothing that flatters or fits you (e.g. wearing baggy clothing even though you’ve lost weight)
- Psychological distress and depression from not being able to accept the excessive skin.
Kelly Langl (ABA 2019) – pre-surgery and day 3 post
Surgery Checklist for Patients
Before you decide on your Surgeon or proceed with Body Contouring Surgery, there are a few important questions to consider:
- Is my preferred Surgeon a highly skilled, internationally qualified & accredited Specialist?
- Is my surgery going to be performed in a fully accredited Hospital?
- Am I in good health and do I maintain a nutritionally healthy lifestyle?
- Do I have realistic expectations about what surgery can achieve?
- Am I choosing to have surgery for the right reasons and at the right time?
- Am I willing and able to undergo an initial recovery period of approximately 4-6 weeks?
- Am I able to accept that the full results may take 6 to 12 months? Will I be supported during my recovery before I return home?
What is the best procedure for me?
Depending upon your individual needs and desired outcomes, Skin Reduction Surgery is entirely customised to your specific needs. Individual procedures may be combined to allow for minimised recovery times and lower theatre/hospital charges.
Your chosen Plastic Surgeon will be able to advise the best surgical approach for you and explore your options when it comes to combining Skin Reduction procedures.
Your Surgeon will be able to suggest and advise on the preferred procedures for you, depending on your condition and what approach will work best to attain a successful surgical result.
Keep your expectations realistic AND aim to choose the right Surgeon for YOUR needs
Why Should I Get Skin Reduction Surgery?
For those who have lost a significant amount of weight, being left with excess, hanging skin can be an unexpected and unwanted result. This excessive skin can cause difficulty when it comes to performing physical activity, as well as discomfort caused by skin irritations. Excess skin can have a negative impact on your body image & self-confidence. Excess skin can restrict your movements or hamper your ability to perform daily physical activities or exercises Removal of this excess can help to restore your confidence if you have previously been self-conscious about the appearance of excess skin on your body after weight loss or pregnancy.
The removal of excess skin not only has many obvious physical and psychological benefits, but it can also help you to exercise and move around more freely. Being able to participate in physical activity without excess skin effecting your movement may also help to keep excess weight off and maintain your surgical results.
Recovery & Healing
Recovery times can vary significantly from person to person. The length of your recovery period will depend on your specific procedure/s and other health & lifestyle factors. The general rule is that you should allow 4-6 weeks for initial recovery following each surgery. Your surgeon will advise you on the length of stay required before you are fit to fly home and continue to recovery.
Scar maturation often takes up to 12 months or longer. It is important to consult with your Surgeon before returning to daily activities such as driving, lifting and exercise. It is also important to wear the post-operative compression garments throughout your recovery period for the designated time frames.
Once bruising after surgery resolves and your initial swelling has gone down, you may begin to focus more on your incision line treatments.
Plastic Surgery Prices – How Much Does It COST for A Skin Reduction Procedure?
Because of the number and complexity of the surgeries involved it is not possible to give a one size fits all quote. Each client will want different treatment that are advise by the surgeon and no 2 skin excise surgeries are the same. You are an individual and your surgeon and surgery will be treated as such. Your selected Specialist Plastic Surgeon can offer you a price range for your surgery depending on the type of procedure/s and other contributing factors.
Plastic Surgeon v Cosmetic Surgeon
A Plastic Reconstructive Surgeon is very different from a Cosmetic Surgeon so be sure you learn the differences between a Plastic Surgeon, a General Surgeon, Cosmetic Surgeon or other type of Surgeon. Anyone with an MBBS Qualification (Bachelor of Medicine or Surgery) can call themselves a ‘Cosmetic Surgeon’, however they do not have the minimum 12 years’ experience and rigorous training that is required to become a Plastic Surgeon. They might even be a GP or General Surgeon who hasn’t reached the high level of finesse for these complex surgical processes for skin reduction and contouring after weight loss.
It is important to research a Surgeon’s qualifications, reviews and experience before deciding on the Surgeon who will perform your Skin Reduction & Body Contouring procedure/s. ABA have already completed this for you and refer to surgeon who we personally know and get consistently high results.
It is highly recommended that you choose a Specialist Plastic Reconstructive Surgeon who is accredited by a recognised association and performs surgery in an accredited Hospital rather than a Look for members of FRACS, ASPS, ASAPS,
ISAPS and equivalent internationally accredited qualifications as a minimum qualification for your Plastic Surgeon.
Getting a surgeon’s review.
Sen us the form below to arrange your initial FREE consultation appointment. We will arrange a no obligation indicative quote and assist you with all the necessary items your surgeon is going to need to make a recommendation for what is appropriate for you. We can also arrange for you to talk to one of our past patients who has already undergone surgery with us.
Funding for Skin Recovery Surgery
You can apply to your SF for skin recovery surgery and your consultant will guide you on this and assist in preparing your ATO / Kiwisaver documents.