Many patients who undergo weight loss surgery lose so much weight (often more than 100 pounds) that they develop loose or sagging skin. Because the skin does not disappear, the majority of patients are left with extra skin and report that their skin is looser or saggier than before surgery.
Surgery that restricts food to the stomach can have several negative consequences. The first is loose, hanging skin all over the body. Because the patient’s skin has been stretched to its limit by previous weight, often hundreds of pounds, it has lost its elasticity, or ability to spring back. Instead, the newly slimmed-down patient is met with layers of extra hanging skin, such as an overhanging panniculus, a large apron of skin hanging from the stomach that can cover the pubis and groyne areas. Extra inches and, in some cases, feet of floppy skin may protrude from the upper arms, chest, stomach, upper thighs, and buttocks. These rolls and sheets of skin can rub against each other, causing irritation and hygienic issues. They may also make physical activity difficult. Among the most affected areas are:
- Upper arms may sag and appear loose and full
- Breasts may flatten and hang with nipples pointed downward
- The abdominal area may extend around the sides and into the lower back area, resulting in an apron-like overhang
- Buttocks, groin and thighs can sag and cause hanging pockets of skin
Bariatric surgery typically results in long-term weight loss (BMI). The remaining sagging skin, on the other hand, serves as a reminder of the patient’s previous obesity. Body contouring after bariatric surgery aims to correct this and restore a sense of normalcy. The success of weight loss surgery is fully realised by reshaping the body to its ideal proportions.