Whether from changes in diet and exercise or as a result of a bariatric surgery procedure, loosing a large amount of weight is an incredibly challenging and rewarding accomplishment to be celebrated. But what if you still aren’t happy with the way you look? Often, after losing a substantial amount of weight, you’re left with excess skin that hides your results and can leave you feeling self-conscious.
Some concerns we hear from men and women alike are:
- “My stomach skin hangs down.”
- “My arms flop around and hang. I don’t feel comfortable in a short-sleeve shirt.”
- “My inner thighs are so loose and saggy, I don’t like to wear shorts.”
- “What happened to my bottom? It just melted away!”
Complaints about the chest area are also common. Women can feel as if their breasts have melted away and hang low. Men can be uncomfortable if their chest hangs almost like they have breasts.
But you’ve worked too hard throughout your weight loss journey to stop now. If any of these concerns ring true for you, it’s time to talk with a plastic surgeon about body contouring .
Body contouring procedures
Since weight loss tends to follow certain patterns, there are common problem areas for sagging skin including:
Loose skin in the front of the abdominal (stomach) area can hang down like an apron. Sometimes the looseness is only in the front of the tummy area, but it can also extend to the sides and back. In severe cases, there can also be a second roll of skin in the mid-abdomen, above the larger fold.
A tummy tuck (Abdominoplasty) can tighten and smooth the abdomen by removing excess skin. It can also rejuvenate the pubic area. The scars for a tummy tuck are typically very low, where your undergarments or a bathing suit can hide them.
Loose, hanging skin, sometimes referred to by patients as “bat wings,” is another common complaint after weight loss. An arm lift (Brachioplasty) can tighten the skin between the shoulder and the elbow. And in extreme cases, it may need to extend past the elbow and into the forearm.
Loss of volume in the breast area can lead to low-hanging tissue.
Men may need liposuction or a skin-removing procedure to tighten their chests.
The loose skin of the inner thigh is usually treated at a separate stage, and involves an incision that extends from the groin area toward the knee.
An upper body lift can dramatically improve sagging in your back, including back rolls. The scar for an upper body lift extends from one side of the back to the other where a bra or bathing suit top can hide it. Or, it can run along the side of the trunk where your arms can hide it when they’re down at your sides.
A neck lift (or lower face and neck lift) can best address sagging in the neck area. Doctors can usually hide the scars around the back of your ear and under your chin.
Combining body contouring procedures
If you choose to treat several areas, a staged approach may be necessary for your safety and to get the best results. For example, you may choose to have a tummy tuck and arm lift in one stage. Then, after a few months, undergo a breast and thigh lift. An added advantage of a staged approach is that it provides the opportunity (at a later stage) to revise or “touch up” a previously treated area, if needed.
Emory Aesthetic Center
If you’ve experienced significant weight loss, the expert surgeons at the Emory Aesthetic Center can help you determine which procedures, or combination of procedures, can help you feel and look your best.