Loose Skin Removal Surgery, Types and Recovery

Loose Skin Removal Surgery

After significant weight loss or pregnancy, achieving a toned and sculpted physique can be hindered by the presence of loose skin. Body contouring surgery offers a solution to this concern, allowing patients to achieve a more streamlined appearance that reflects their weight loss journey. 

This article will discuss the types of loose skin removal surgeries and the details of each procedure that can help you make informed decisions based on your specific goals and body composition. 

Let’s get started with the diverse array of procedures tailored to address your unique needs and aspirations. 

What is Loose Skin Removal Surgery?

Skin removal surgery encompasses a variety of body contouring techniques conducted following significant weight loss to target surplus skin folds across the arms, legs, torso, and/or buttocks, aiming to restore a more harmonious and visually appealing physique. For individuals grappling with residual skin following weight loss, the removal process can profoundly elevate comfort levels and boost self-assurance, facilitating easier physical activity and enhancing clothing fit. 

Who is an ideal candidate for Excess Skin Removal Surgery?

You can undergo excess skin removal surgery if: 

  • You’ve achieved your desired weight, maintaining stability for a minimum of six months. Enhanced body contours resulting from skin removal surgery typically offer lasting results, yet substantial weight fluctuations post-surgery may compromise outcomes. 
  • Your overall health is satisfactory. It is important for ensuring surgery safety; certain medical conditions heighten surgical risks. 
  • Your expectations regarding surgery outcomes are grounded in reality. While skin removal can notably enhance your appearance, it won’t yield a flawless physique. 
  • You acknowledge the possibility of visible scars, particularly when wearing specific attire like swimsuits. 
  • You can allocate several weeks for post-surgery recovery. 

What are the various types of excess skin removal surgeries?

Loose skin removal surgery or body contouring surgery typically requires general anaesthesia, although an epidural may be used in some cases. Surgeons strive to position incisions within natural skin folds or areas concealed by clothing, though visible scars may occur. 

Various procedures exist for loose skin removal after weight loss that can be tailored to an individual’s body aesthetic goals and needs. 

These may involve: 

Lower Body Lift 

A lower body lift involves removing or eliminating excess skin from the hips, outer thighs, abdomen, hips, and buttocks. Sometimes, a circular incision is made around the hips to address dimpled skin, also known as cellulite. You can get done with the procedure in one session, or in some cases, it may require multiple sessions. 

Thigh Lift 

During a thigh lift, the surgeon makes an incision in the groin extending down the inner leg to the knee, removing excess skin and fat. In some cases, the incision may extend from the groin to the outer hip to enhance the outer thigh’s appearance. 

Buttock Lift 

For a buttock lift, an incision is made across the top of the buttocks, sometimes extending along the sides. Crescent-shaped sections of skin and fat are excised, and the remaining skin is tightened and sutured together. 

Breast Lift 

In a breast lift (mastopexy), the surgeon cuts around the areola and vertically from the areola to the breast’s underside, often adding a horizontal incision along the breast crease. This ‘lollipop-shaped’ series of cuts removes extra skin, and if desired, a breast implant can be inserted to increase breast size. 

Arm Lift 

An arm lift (brachioplasty) involves an incision on the inner surface of the upper arm, starting from the armpit to the elbow. The underlying muscle is tightened, excess skin is removed, and the remaining skin is smoothed to redefine the arm’s shape. 

How about the recovery post-surgery?

The duration of recovery after surgery varies depending on the particular procedure. While some individuals may need several weeks to recuperate, others may only require a few days. 

Temporary tubes may be inserted by the healthcare team to drain fluid from the body. Patients may be advised to limit physical activity and refrain from driving for about a week post-procedure. Surgical support or compression garments might be recommended in certain cases. 

After abdominal skin removal surgeries, patients may experience difficulty standing upright for a couple of days, which, however, resolves within a few days. 

What about the scars post excess skin removal surgery?

The following little precautions can help you get rid of the loose skin removal scars after your surgery: 

  • Utilise Silicone Scar Gels or Patches: Many surgeons advise the use of specialised silicone scar gels or patches to reduce the visibility of scars. Silicone has demonstrated effectiveness in enhancing scar appearance in numerous studies. 
  • Shield Scars from Sun Exposure: Sunlight can darken and accentuate scars. Protect your scars from UV rays by covering them with clothing or applying sunscreen with a high SPF. 
  • Engage in Scar Tissue Massage: Gently massaging the scar tissue can aid in breaking down excess collagen and softening the scar over time, resulting in a smoother texture. Always consult with your surgeon before starting scar massage. 
  • Maintain Hydration and a Nutritious Diet: Adequate hydration and a balanced diet that includes all types of vitamins and nutrients are vital for optimal skin health, which can facilitate more efficient scar healing. 
  • Explore Laser Treatments or Microneedling: Depending on your surgeon’s recommendation, laser treatments or microneedling may be viable options to enhance scar appearance. 
  • Have Patience: Scar healing is a gradual process that may take a year or longer for scars to fully mature. Remain patient during your recovery journey and trust that your scars will improve with time. 

Considerations for the long-term outcome of Excess Skin Removal Surgery

Keep in mind:

Immediate Changes in Clothing Fit: Body contouring surgery will promptly alter your appearance in clothing. However, if you experience significant weight fluctuations in the future, your skin may still sag.

Anticipate Natural Aging Effects: Accept that some degree of skin laxity is inevitable with age.

Permanent Scarring: Scars from the surgery will be permanent but should gradually diminish over time. Patience is key, as scar improvement may take up to a year.

Duration of Results: Just as it took time to shed excess weight, achieving the full results of body contouring surgery may also require considerable time, possibly two years or more. Your surgical plan will be tailored to your goals and your surgeon’s expertise.

Is loose skin removal safe?

Like any surgical procedure, it carries inherent risks such as infection, bleeding, anaesthesia complications, and scarring. Additionally, individual health factors and the extent of the surgery can influence safety and recovery. 

However, when performed by a qualified, board-certified and experienced surgeon in an appropriate medical setting, the procedures can turn out to be extremely safe and effective. The plastic surgeon must be able to assess your candidacy, discuss potential risks and benefits, and provide personalised recommendations. He should also recommend all the essential pre-and post-operative instructions accordingly to minimise risks and ensure successful results. 

Benefits of Excess Skin Removal Surgery

Following are some of the primary benefits of body contouring or skin removal surgery: 

  • Eliminates surplus skin: Surgery for skin removal targets excess skin and fat in areas like the arms, thighs, abdomen, and buttocks, resulting in a sleeker, more defined physique. 
  • Refines body contours: Beyond addressing surplus skin, this surgery enhances the body’s overall shape, particularly where sagging or drooping has occurred due to excess skin. 
  • Enhances hygiene: By eliminating excess skin, this procedure eradicates sources of discomfort like chafing or skin infections. 

So, shed the extra, not your confidence!  Achieve a body that reflects your hard work and dedication, not loose skin lingering after weight loss or pregnancy. 

Our veteran surgeon in the field, Prof Dr Robert Hierner, isn’t just a plastic surgeon but also a specialist in body aesthetics and reconstructive procedures. Get in touch with him and reverse the silhouette celebrating your accomplishments!