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Lost a Lot of Weight: How to Get Rid of 'Saggy' Bits?

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 24 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Weight Loss Cosmetic Surgery Cosmetic


To date I have lost almost seven stone and have stopped smoking. I intend to continue with weight loss and not smoking. However, I have saggy bits of fat that do not seem to move even with workouts three times a day. Can these be removed on the NHS? Please help me.

(C.N, 1 July 2009)


First of all, congratulations on losing an enormous amount of weight. Despite what you call the “saggy bits of fat” that still remain, you must be feeling a lot better having lost all those pounds – and having quit smoking. The combination of the two means you are well on your way to a long, healthy life.

Many people who lose a considerable amount of weight still suffer from excess fat as well as excess skin. People who qualify for bariatric, or weight loss, surgery on the NHS are usually those with a BMI, or body mass index, of at least 40, where exercise and diet have failed - or a BMI of 35 with accompanying health problems. If they meet specific requirements, they are then offered a gastric band, gastric bypass operation or similar type of procedure to help them shed the pounds.

While you do not say what your current weight is, the fact that you have already lost seven stone and are exercising regularly means you probably do not fit into this category – although you may have before you began dieting. Your weight no longer poses any risk to your health, so what you would need is cosmetic surgery, to get rid of stubborn areas of fat and/or excess skin.

NHS Guidelines

With this in mind, the NHS sets out strict guidelines for who qualifies for cosmetic surgery – in your case, probably liposuction. First of all, you would need to have a referral from your own GP. Following that, you would have an assessment from a psychologist or psychiatrist, who would determine whether the excess fat or skin is causing you enough psychological or other damage to warrant the NHS paying for its removal.

You would probably have a better case if you wanted excess skin removed, instead of fat. In that situation you could argue that it was obstructing your movement, making it impossible for you to exercise properly, and making it difficult to fit into clothes. That, as well as the psychological trauma resulting from the excess skin, might qualify you for removal on the NHS.

However, as you seem to be exercising with no problems, this might not be the case. Another possibility to get free skin removal would be to talk to reputable plastic surgery companies and see if you could get either a free operation, or one on a reduced rate, in exchange for doing publicity for them. If you were willing to have dramatic “before” photos taken, this could be a real possibility. However, only use a cosmetic surgery firm that has your best interest at heart, and is a reputable one with a spotless reputation.

You've worked long and hard to get where you are today, and it must be very frustrating to not be able to achieve the look you want after all this time. You may, however, also want to ask your GP about working out as much as you are - three times a day is probably not the best option as it could cause excess wear and tear on your joints, and be bad for you in other ways as well. Best of luck in getting where you want to be!

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