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Skin Removal After Massive Weight Loss

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 6 Jan 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Skin Removal Operation Panniculectomy

So, you had your gastric bypass operation 18 months ago, and you've managed to lose a whopping 8 stone. You feel great and you look great, except for one thing: you still have yet to deal with the unfortunate legacy of your weight loss: lots of loose, hanging, droopy skin.

People joke that a benefit of loose skin is that you can pull it over your head as a party trick. But suffering from unwanted excess flesh is no laughing matter, and if you've undergone through surgery or years of dieting to lose that poundage, you deserve to look good.

Luckily, there is way to get rid of excess skin: have a panniculectomy.

What is a Panniculectomy?

Whether you lost a massive amount of weight through bariatric surgery or diet and exercise, you still no doubt will have excess skin. Apart from being unwieldily and unsightly, it can cause lots of problems, such as chronic skin infections, hernias and back problems. How to get rid of it?

A panniculectomy removes excess skin and tissue in the area where it tends to congregate the most: in the abdominal region. This procedure can remove it all from the lower abdomen, making the pannus, or area commonly referred to as an “apron”, appear taut and smooth.

The procedure is similar to a tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, but it is a much more complex one. In some cases it is carried out where the pannus is so big that the patient is unable to walk, and in other cases it is performed simply to allow patients to feel better about themselves.

Reconstructive abdominoplasty may be performed alongside this procedure if warranted, to help tighten the anterior wall muscles and keep the stomach in better condition.

Good Candidates for Panniculectomies

A panniculectomy may be right for you if you have:
  • Lost at least 50lb
  • Have skin folds you want removed without excess fat
  • Are in good physical condition without any major health problems
  • Have stabilised your current weight for at least one year, and are following a good diet and exercise regimen
Please note that many surgeons have graded the size of a person's pannus, which can weigh anywhere from five to 120lb or more. Ask your surgeon to grade yours if you want to know if your operation is medically necessary or not. If so, see if you can have it done on the NHS.

What are the Risks?

While risks are generally small, the abdominal area is a very important part of the human body, so operations involving it are not to be taken lightly. Risks may include infection, bleeding underneath the flap of skin, or clots. You might also heal poorly, develop skin loss or need a second op. Always use a Board-certified surgeon, or one who is a member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons or its equivalent.

Most people find it takes several months to fully recover from a panniculectomy. But the majority say that after such a drawn-out weight loss journey, this final icing on the cake is worth it.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
MsFinn - Your Question:
I had gastric bypass surgery in 2008 in Northern CA. Due to the BMI index qualifications (health issues) my insurance covered the surgery. My surgery was successful I achieved my goal weight within 18 months. I've maintained my goal weight for 8 years however I do fluctuate 5 or 6 lbs. Periodically but, no more! If your seriously considering this surgery understand the surgery itself is NOT the "quick fix" nor what outsiders think is the "Easy road." Understand, like any surgery there is risk. Some patients more than others. Be sure your seeing a board certified surgeon, preferably specializing in this area. Additionally, this choice is life changing and requires work as well as commitment on your part. Initially you will loose a great deal of weight however you will have to work very hard to achieve the rest. Do educate yourself by utilizing a nutritionist help. You'll need to retrain visually what a "normal portion" plate of food looks like. Normal sized pieces of fruit etc. In today's world so much is "super sized." One important question often asked is; Will this new way of life have foods that taste good? Is the food all going to be "those diet foods, yuck!" Will I be hungry all the time? My experience (the education I was given) is NO to all. I've never been hungry, I love to cook, TRY new foods & eat what I and others cook. Once again let me say my eye's wondered if I was getting enough, never my stomach. I dine out, fit in a booth & my bill is less than half! I hope this helps & answers common questions. Good luck on your journey & God Bless. MsFinn

Our Response:
Many thanks for your useful comments.
ExploreCosmeticSurgery - 7-Jan-16 @ 12:34 PM
I had gastric bypass surgery in 2008 in Northern CA. Due to the BMI index qualifications (health issues) my insurance covered the surgery. My surgery was successful I achieved my goal weight within 18 months. I've maintained my goal weight for 8 years however I do fluctuate 5 or 6 lbs. Periodically but, no more! If your seriously considering this surgery understand the surgery itself is NOT the "quick fix" nor what outsiders think is the "Easy road." Understand, like any surgery there is risk. Some patients more than others. Be sure your seeing a board certified surgeon, preferably specializing in this area. Additionally, this choice is life changing and requires work as well as commitment on your part. Initially you will loose a great deal of weight however you will have to work very hard to achieve the rest. Do educate yourself by utilizing a nutritionist help. You'll need to retrain visually what a "normal portion" plate of food looks like. Normal sized pieces of fruit etc... In today's world so much is "super sized." One important question often asked is; Will this new way of life have foods that taste good? Is the food all going to be "those diet foods, yuck!" Will I be hungry all the time? My experience (the education I was given) is NO to all. I've never been hungry, I love to cook, TRY new foods & eat what I and others cook. Once again let me say my eye's wondered if I was getting enough, never my stomach. I dine out, fit in a booth & my bill is less than half! I hope this helps & answers common questions. Good luck on your journey & God Bless. MsFinn
MsFinn - 6-Jan-16 @ 6:24 PM
Lyn - Your Question:
I have lost 9st and my loose skin on my thighs hang down around my knees, my arms flap about and my tummy may need the excess skin removing as well, and my boobs are just flaps of skin now. I go to the gym 3 times a week, but nothing is helping, my skin makes a flapping noise when I work and I can't wear dresses, I am on anti depressants as well. Advice please on how much it will cost to get this done and where to go.

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot recommend specific places or compare costs, this is something you would have to research yourself. However, I have included a link to the NHS giving more information regarding your question here. I hope this helps.
ExploreCosmeticSurgery - 13-Nov-15 @ 2:03 PM
I have lost 9st and my loose skin on my thighs hang down around my knees,my arms flap about and my tummy may need the excess skin removing as well, and my boobs are just flaps of skin now.I go to the gym 3 times a week, but nothing is helping, my skin makes a flapping noise when I work and I can't wear dresses, I am on anti depressants as well.Advice please on how much it will cost to get this done and where to go.
Lyn - 12-Nov-15 @ 9:54 PM
@Asil! - I think the best thing is to go and visit your GP and see if they may do re-constructive surgery on the National Health. I'm afraid there is no quick fix for this and surgery really is the only route.
ExploreCosmeticSurgery - 6-Mar-15 @ 12:05 PM
I've lost 6 and a half stone in 2 years, I've gone from 15stone to 8 & a half stone but have been left with saggy skin on my stomach, Arms & thighs. I'm only 23 so wanting to go on holidays & wanting to be comfortable with my boyfriend is where I'm at but with this skin I feel it's extremely holding me back, I have no confidence & it's a very upsetting thing to cope with. I'm only 8 & a half stone so by no stretch of imagination am I fat but I still feel it whilst I have this skin.... Need help fast!! X
Asil! - 2-Mar-15 @ 11:02 PM
@Martyg - NHS funding may be available for body contour surgery after significant weight loss if there is a symptomatic or functional requirement. Problems with activities of daily life will need to be demonstrated and supported by documentary evidence of significant morbidity which has necessitated medical intervention. The are conditions i.e; your target weight has been achieved, maintained for two years, with a stable BMI, and you are suffering from severe functional problems. Your GP should be able to advise you further. I hope this helps.
ExploreCosmeticSurgery - 24-Nov-14 @ 1:58 PM
Hi, I have lost a lot of weight and I've done it off my own back, I did this because I couldn't afford the gastric band, I am serverly disabled and in loosing so much weight I now have an apron and breast, and this happening to me has now caused its own problems where as my wife now finds me disgusting and wants to divorce me and it means I will miss out on my 5 year old growing up, and we can't afford the apron surgery and breast reduction, most days I feel like I can't go on because I cant bear the thought of loosing my family. I've worked so head to loose the weight and I thought that would be it but it's not its just ruined my life. I just need to find a surgeon that will do this operation for me free so I can carry on with my life rather than loosing all I love and not wanting to be here as there is no point without my wife and my princess, please help me someone :-(
Martyg - 22-Nov-14 @ 6:20 PM
i lost 14 stone in 10 months just with dieting and exercise but now i have loose skin just on my waistcan i get help with it please
keith - 10-Sep-14 @ 6:47 PM
I've lost 13 stone 3 years ago with slimming world I've got loose skin everywhere but I'm not bothered about it everywhere just want it of my stomach hop someone can help I suffer from multiple blood clots on my lungs reprecurent embolisms lost 13 stone 2 years ago maintained my loss 4 a year n half
big dave - 15-Aug-14 @ 12:53 AM
I would like to have excess skin removed from my upper arms and also fat removed from my thighs if possible
lins - 2-Jul-14 @ 5:23 PM
I have had 2 children and lost 4.5 stone,but have a big over hang,which makes me really sad,could you help?
lisa - 21-Jan-14 @ 10:45 AM
I would like to remove excess skin on buttocks
Sam - 10-Jul-13 @ 10:11 PM
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