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Plastic Surgery, Body

Plastic Surgery After Weight Loss: 6 Things You Should Know

Congratulations! You did it! You beat the odds and lost a massive amount of weight.

You may have had the help of a bariatric surgery, or possibly you plowed through and hit your goals with good old-fashioned diet, exercise, and self-discipline. Either way, it likely took you awhile to get to where you are.

You likely feel much better than you before the transformation, and you very well should. There are mountains of health benefits that come when you shed any substantial amount of excess weight. However, massive weight loss often leaves behind an unexpected and unwelcome guest that goes by the name of "loose skin".

Unless you take action to get rid of this pesky intruder, that loose skin may stick around for good.

Plastic Surgery After Weight Loss

The amount of sagging skin left after weight loss ranges from mild and manageable to excessive and almost robe-like layers. The sagging often seems to show up everywhere, from your tummy to your thighs, chest, back, arms, buttocks, and even your face and neck. It can interfere with your ability to wear new clothes, do new exercises, and look good in your birthday suit. 

saggyskin.pngphoto credit: http://www.thehealthmagazine.com/methods-for-dealing-with-sagging-skin-after-gastric-band-surgery/

You are not alone. This is a common problem.

If your weight loss came as a result of bariatric surgery, you may have known this could happen as most good bariatric surgeons will walk your through your surgery from beginning to end, including possible side-effects. On the other hand, if you fought for your weight loss goal with sheer determination and willpower, you may not have expected this challenge.

Either way, if you want to get rid of it, you will need help wrapping up this last step to complete your total transformation.

Thankfully, a specially trained plastic surgeon equipped with safe and effective procedures can help you jump this last hurdle.

In this article, we will explore the effectiveness, safety, recovery, costs, and other important aspects of the procedures that should be considered when evaluating how to eliminate loose skin after weight loss.

Your Skin After Weight Loss

After weight loss, almost everyone has some form of excess skin left over. Most individuals are left with loose, hanging, extra skin. The loose skin can cause problems like:

- An unsightly appearance despite an extensive effort to loose weight
- An inability to wear the clothing that their new body should fit into
- Annoying and painful irritation around the loose skin

The good news is there are procedures that can eliminate this skin and all of the grievances that come along with it.

1. Body Contouring Can Remove Your Extra Skin

Body contouring procedures can eliminate this excess skin effectively and safely. Patients who have lost significant amounts of weight find that body contouring offers a solution no matter what the area of concern.

Below you will find a list of the typical areas fixed with body contouring, along with the appropriate body contouring procedure for each area:


Trunk / Back


-Lower Body Lift
-Upper Body Lift
-Tummy Tuck / Extended Tummy Tuck

Breasts / Chest


-Breast Lift +- Augmentation
-Chest Lift

Buttocks / Thighs


-Lower Body Lift
-Thigh Lift



-Arm Lift

Face / Neck 


-Face Lift
-Neck Lift

2. The Best Time to Consider Plastic Surgery After Weight Loss?

Deciding when to schedule plastic surgery after weight loss can prove to be a challenge. Should you wait awhile, or go ahead and get the surgery immediately? Are there any risks involved when looking at when to schedule your surgery?

Here are some questions you need to ask when determining when to get your surgery:

- Am I at my goal weight, and is it a stable weight that I can maintain?
- Would a doctor consider me in overall good health?
- Have I been smoke-free for at least one month?
- Has it been at least 12 to 18 months after my bariatric surgery?

3. Are You Willing to Make a Trade?

There is one cardinal rule of body contouring surgery. That rule is that you must be willing to trade excess skin for scars. The extent varies from thin and discreet to heavy and thick scarring. They do often fade with time, but the fact remains that they do come with any surgical procedure.

4. Realistic Expectations are Important

With body contouring, you are committing to real surgery. The results are dramatic, however, they are never perfect. It is important to have an honest conversation with your plastic surgeon and understand exactly what to expect. Your surgery may require multiple trips to the surgeon if the procedure calls for several treatments to reach your desired goal.

5. Think 'Safety First'

There are steps that need to be taken for safety precautions before any body contouring surgery. Prior to the surgery, you will need a full medical and nutritional evaluation. Also, make sure to speak with your plastic surgeon about special planning and necessary preparation for your specific procedures.

6. Combining Procedures

Patients who have lost a great deal of weight generally struggle with loose skin in more than one area. No surgeon can correct all of these issues in one procedure. The exciting news is, combined procedures can be done at the same time. An advantage of going with combined procedures is that you experience fewer recovery periods and the cost is less than if you had multiple procedures done at separate times.

This may be an option if you have multiple areas of excess skin and are in good overall health. Of course, safety comes first at all times and there is a limit to the number of procedures you can do at one time. The option should be evaluated with that as the most important factor.

7. A Typical Total Body Makeover Sequence

After massive weight loss, the areas of concern with loose skin are often the same for most people. Those individuals looking to see a total body makeover removing excess skin from their body will likely hear the following sequence of surgeries suggested by their plastic surgeon:

  • 1st stage: Lower Body Lift
  • 2nd stage: Chest Lift / Breast Lift / Arm Lift / Upper Body Lift vs. Thigh Lift
  • 3rd stage: Chest Lift / Breast Lift / Arm Lift / Upper Body Lift vs. Thigh Lift
  • 4th stage: Face and Neck Lift

8. The Reality of Increased Complications with this Surgery

The fact of the matter is, plastic surgery after weight loss is more complicated than standard plastic surgery procedures. Consequently, choosing an experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with a history of success with weight loss patients is important.

9. Consider the Cost

Plastic surgery after weight loss is very rarely covered by health insurance companies. It's important to understand costs will come out of your pocket. The costs are considerable and can range from $7,500 for simpler body contouring procedures, to over $75,000 for patients needing a complete makeover.

Some plastic surgeons offer financing. Be sure to speak with your doctor about the costs and your options to better understand.

What Is My Next Step?

Above all else, take your time and choose a surgeon who has extensive knowledge and experience in this area.

Peruse results online and in your doctor’s catalog.

Check references.

Also, be aware that bariatric patients require different treatment than non-bariatric body contouring patients. The two have totally different body types and needs.

Dr. Fan has developed a comprehensive approach for both bariatric and non-bariatric patients who come to him seeking body contouring after weight loss. He and his talented team are happy to meet with you and tailor a method of treatment based on your body type and desired goals.

Schedule a complimentary consultation today.


About the Author

Dr. Larry Fan is a Harvard educated, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in San Francisco, CA. He is a Master Artist who is known for creating beautiful, stunning, and natural results. Dr. Fan has been named One of America's Top Plastic Surgeons for the past 10 years running and has received several national awards for his work in Plastic Surgery. He has successfully performed more than 10,000 cosmetic procedures of the face, breasts, and body over a 20 year period. Dr Fan has been an invited speaker at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American College of Surgeons, and has been featured in national media outlets such as CNN, NBC, and ABC.

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