Bariatric surgery can produce amazing weight loss results. A typical patient who undergoes gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery is expected to lose 50-60% of their excess weight in the first year alone.
However, there is another side to this. When the body gains weight, the skin stretches to accommodate the additional fatty tissue. For most obese patients, weight gain occurred slowly over their entire lives. A patient who gains 10 pounds per year from the age of 15 to 30 will have gained 150 pounds in 15 years. It’s not unusual for weight loss surgery to cause 100+ pounds of weight loss in a year. The skin cannot adapt quickly to this, leaving additional stretched, loose skin hanging from the areas where fat used to accumulate.
So how do you deal with loose skin after weight loss surgery? Is there a way to remove loose skin after weight loss?
If you’re considering weight loss surgery but haven’t decided on it, check out this guide to weight loss surgery.
What Causes Loose Skin After Weight Loss Surgery?
Your skin is a highly adaptable organ. When you gain weight, your skin will stretch in order to accommodate additional tissue growth. This occurs whether this weight gain is due to fat gain, muscle gain, pregnancy, or a growth.
Obese people tend to hold weight over a very long period of time, often throughout their entire adult lives. This causes the collagen and elastin in the skin to become damaged, preventing it from returning it its original shape.
When weight is lost, this damaged skin is left over and is unable to retract. This causes the skin to simply hang.
Not all people have the same amount of loose skin. Factors that impact loose skin include age, genetics, total amount of weight lost, and smoking.
What Can You Do About Loose Skin?
Body contouring surgery is the best option for dealing with loose skin. It’s also the most expensive.
There are a variety of surgeries that are done to remove loose skin from people who have lost a great deal of weight. The most common areas targeted are the abdomen, upper arms, breasts, neck, and thighs.
Body contouring isn’t the only option, though. There are other medical treatments such as VelaShape that can help restore loose skin.
Build muscle mass.
Building muscle mass allows for additional tissue growth, effectively “filling in” loose skin. A great way to deal with loose skin without going under the knife is to perform resistance exercises. Weight lifting, resistance bands, and bodyweight exercises are excellent for building muscle mass.