After Weight Loss Frequently Asked Questions
After significant weight loss, many patients are left with excess skin in the buttocks, hips, and thighs. Some patients seek a body lift to prevent the infections and rashes which can be caused by the excess skin, while others may choose the operation in order to tighten the skin and improve contour. A body lift utilizes incisions which start in the back, pass forward around the hips, and come to the front of the thighs. The loose skin and underlying fat tissue are removed from above and below the incision to allow tightening of the remaining tissues and to smoothen the lower body skin.
Loss of skin elasticity can affect the shape and firmness of the breasts. A breast lift can lift and raise the breasts by removing the excess skin. In addition, some patients may have lost a significant amount of breast volume with their weight loss, and in such cases, implants can be inserted in conjunction with a breast lift.
Some patients who have lost weight in their face and neck find that the excess skin gives them an aged and tired appearance, which is at odds with their healthier and more active lifestyle. In these patients, removal of excess skin and tightening of the neck muscles can help. This procedure is performed similar to a traditional facelift with more emphasis on skin removal.
Excess skin can accumulate over the thighs as well, leading to both cosmetic and functional problems. Particularly in the inner thigh area, excess skin can lead to significant chafing during exercise. A thigh lift reshapes the thighs by removing excess skin and fat. Depending on whether the laxity is mostly in the inner or outer thigh, the location of the incision can be on the inner thigh from the groin crease to the knee, or similar to a tummy tuck incision.
In some patients, the loose skin on the body is concentrated in the front of the abdomen and does not involve the back. Tummy tuck surgery can be a good choice in these cases. The excess abdominal skin is removed, and the abdominal muscles can be tightened to improve contour. The procedure often eliminates stretch marks that are located below the navel, as this skin is removed as part of the operation.
Loosened upper arm skin can be improved through an arm lift, also known as brachioplasty. Many patients who have had an arm lift note that in addition to improving contour, the operation helps them to stay active with their upper body exercises, since significant excess arm skin can interfere with upper arm movement. The incision usually extends from the elbow to the underarm, and sometimes onto the side of the chest.