For those looking to reclaim their bodies after multiple pregnancies or massive weight loss, loose skin is a major enemy. Even with a tremendous amount of work in the gym and the kitchen, that loose skin isn’t going anywhere.
Our panel of doctors at The Plastic Surgery Channel were recently asked this very question, “I’ve lost a lot of weight, but what can I do about the loose skin?”
Why does loose skin occur and why won’t it go away?
Our bodies are pretty resilient when you think about it; gaining and losing muscle, going through pregnancy and weight loss. While our bodies can rebound to a certain extent, our skin isn’t always as supple.
“This is a very common question we plastic surgeons get in our office,” says Dr. Daniel Maman of New York City. “Patients will say they’ve lost a lot of weight, either from bariatric surgery or diet, and that they’ve been going to the gym rigorously, but no matter what they do, they still can’t get rid of that loose skin.”
Dr. Brian Brzowski’s practice sees the same question from similar patients at his practice in Utah where he specializes in weight loss surgery. “I have a lot of patients who’ve had kids and they come in saying, ‘I’m now in my best shape. I work out frequently, but I have this skin that just won’t go away’. So we discuss what’s happened to their skin elasticity and the excess, as well as stretch marks. Most often, they’re looking at surgical remedies.”
Loose skin is best served with surgery
Even though non-surgical options have found success and are growing, none really work very well at tightening extremely loose skin. After undergoing massive stretches and changes, unfortunately tissue needs to be removed.
“Loose skin is loose skin and is generally addressed by plastic surgery,” says Dr. Stafford Broumand, from New York City. “We have other modalities which can be non-invasive, but someone with substantial weight loss… the treatment is surgical. It can start in the face with loose neck skin, it can be in the breasts with sagging breasts, or loose abdominal skin; even the thighs.”
Surgery may sound like a lot, but that’s where consulting with a board certified plastic surgeon comes in to play as an important first step. Trusting a surgeon to take a good look at your unique problems and then come up with a treatment plan is the best way to go about rejuvenating loose skin. Not everyone is the same and there is no cookie-cutter operation!
“The nice thing about the relationship we have with our patients is that it’s long-lasting,” says Maman. “These patients often times need more than one operation. We’ll start with the abdomen or the breast and ultimately work up to the face, neck, and thighs. The beauty of this is a lot of the time these operations can be done in conjunction with each other.”
“If patients aren’t able to do things all at one time, we can really tailor procedures and processes to what their goals and needs are,” says Brzowski.