Last year, more than 140,000 people underwent gastric bypass surgery to help them lose weight. For truly obese people, this surgical alternative to dieting may save their lives, but often when they approach this surgery, they do not consider what happens after they have it. They lose the fat, but what happens to the skin that supported it? It is unlikely to have sufficient elasticity to return to the body’s new shape. After losing 100 pounds or more, as much as 40 pounds of excessive skin can sag. This poses both health and cosmetic consequences. Heavy skin folds can trigger infections, cause cellulitis and abscess, and the extra weight can produce strain on the back and shoulders, causing chronic pain.
More surgery is in order for the post-bariatric patient. Thanks to plastic surgery, procedures can remove excess skin. In some cases, namely those that are not still massively obese and are relatively healthy otherwise, a total body lift may be in order, requiring many hours of surgery. The surgeon removes excess skin in several areas of the body, including buttocks, arms, back, and lower waist. In addition to people who underwent gastric bypass surgery, the body lift can be used on women who develop excess skin due to aging and some people who are 30 to 40 pounds overweight and cannot lose those pounds and cannot benefit from a tummy tuck.