What Is Surgery For Loose Skin Like
Body-contouring surgery often involves a tummy tuck with arm, breast, face, lower body, or thigh lifts, per the American Society of Plastic Surgery.
Dr. Prachand and Dr. Chen say there are certain indicators they look for before recommending loose skin-removal surgery to patients:
Patients have to be at least two years out from their weight-loss surgery.
Their weight has to have remained stable for at least six months.
Their BMI should ideally be under 30.
Patients can’t smoke.
Patients with diabetes need stable blood-glucose levels.
Oh, and if youve had bariatric surgery to lose the weight, heres a surprise: surgery to remove excess skin is tougher to recover from.
Body contouring requires more overall body healing than obesity surgery itself, which is a minimally invasive procedure, says Dr. Prachand. Its important not to brush off the seriousness of the surgery thinking that its cosmetic, because its much more than that.
Indeed, youll likely need two to four weeks to recover, with full recovery taking as long as six months after surgery, says Dr. Shah.
The pain for surgery is relative and only moderate in intensity, he adds. Still, you probably will be too exhausted to go to work: During the first couple of weeks, a simpler daily routine is a must, says Dr. Shah.
You should also know going in that you may need touch-up surgery. Scars need to be finessed, some skin loosens and needs to be retightened, and there may be asymmetries to perfect, he says.
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Factors That Influence The Extent Of Loose Skin After Weight Loss
Many factors influence how the skin expands. Here are some of the most prevalent causes of skin sagging after losing weight:
- Genetics: Your skins response to weight fluctuations may be influenced by your genes.
- Age: Older Skin has less elasticity due to reduced collagen production than younger skin. On that note, a younger person undergoing massive weight loss will have less extra skin loss when compared to older people under the same conditions.
- The amount of time that has passed: Due to collagen and elastin loss, the skin of someone who has been overweight or obese for a long time will be looser after significant weight loss.
- The amount of weight that has been lost: Fat loss of 100 lbs or more is associated with excess loose skin than weight reduction of fewer than 100 lbs .
- Exposure to the sun: Skin elastin and collagen production have been proven to be reduced by prolonged sun exposure, which may result in loose skin.
- Smoking: Smoking causes a decrease in collagen production and damage to existing collagen, resulting in drooping loose skin.
You can make healthy choices to regain healthy skin for some of these factors. These are like halting smoking and reducing sun exposure by using sunscreen every day. Unfortunately, there is very little you can do about factors like age and genetics.
Below are some treatments on tightening loose skin after weight loss that you may use to regain your confidence.
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Medical Practices That Are Not Conventional
While body-contouring surgery seems to be the most popular technique for removing loose skin, there are less invasive alternatives that have a lower risk of complications:
- Treatment with radiofrequency. This treatment to reduce loose skin from extra weight loss may combine massage, radiofrequency, and infrared light. Although this treatment does not cause weight loss, it may aid in the reduction of tiny fat cell sites.
- Ultrasound. Controlled research of ultrasonic therapy in people who had bariatric surgery found no objective effect on loose skin. People did, nevertheless, report relief from physical pain following treatment.
Although these alternative techniques tend to have fewer dangers, the effects may not be as striking as body-contouring surgery. They are usually gradual, and they take time.
Keep The Skin Well Hydrated
Using an emollient moisturizer rich in vitamin E will help improve the barrier protection of the skin and lock in moisture, Devgan says. And the topical medical-grade ingredients you use on your face for firmness and tightness of the skinlike hyaluronic acid, peptides, niacin, squalene, vitamins C and B, retinol, and bakuchiolcan work elsewhere, too, she says. Most people focus on using these for the face and neck in their daily routines, but from a molecular perspective, their efficacy is present anywhere on the body.
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Reform Your Eating Habits
Losing 70 pounds requires you to make better food choices. Choose whole grains over refined grains ditch the soda and sweet treats opt for lean proteins instead of ones high in saturated fats and load up your plate with lots of fresh vegetables and fruits. Don’t skip all fats the healthy unsaturated kinds are necessary for brain health and vitamin absorption. Have a tablespoon of olive oil, a scant handful of nuts or a few slices of avocado at one or two meals per day.
Once the quality of your food improves, cut your portion sizes. Invest in a food scale and a set of measuring utensils so you stay on target because many serving sizes are smaller than you may estimate. Some people find that eating five or six smaller meals, rather than three large ones, helps keep their hunger and cravings at bay. A food diary can also help you stay on target with your calorie goal. Do not eat fewer than 1,200 calories per day as this can stall your metabolism and deprive you of important nutrients.
Is It Possible To Tighten Loose Skin Without Surgery
Sadly, probably not. Nonsurgical methods that help tighten the skin will generally not be effective enough to tighten the amount of loose skin that occurs with massive weight loss, says Dr. Chen.
For instance, abdominal binders can help relieve back pain but do nada for skin. Compression garments can be worn to hold in excess skin, but they also wont do anything to effect more long-term change.
Dr. Shah says that if you have small amounts of loose skin, then devices like Bodytite and Renuvion, both of which are minimally invasive body-contouring technologies, may help. The best results come from surgery by far, he says.
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Can Compression Garments Help Loose Skin
You must have already seen compression garments in the market that claim to take care of loose skin. However, keep in mind that they do not improve loose skin but only minimize the cosmetic side effects of loose skin. It can help reduce irritation, pain, itching, and the risk of infection but doesnt tighten the skin.
Discuss with your cosmetic surgeon about the right treatment for maintaining weight loss and preventing and treating loose skin.
Prevent Saggy Skin During Weight Loss
Avoid Loose Skin While Losing Weight
If you lose weight too quickly your skin’s elasticity doesn’t have enough time to adapt to your new shape. The tips in this article will help you keep your skin firm while you shed pounds.
Losing weight is a good thing, but losing it too fast can leave you with saggy skin. Certified Exercise Physiologist and Pritikin Fitness Manager Lizbeth Simancas shares her secret for avoiding this common byproduct of successful weight loss.
Exceptional results dont happen overnight. Weight-loss requires adaptation, commitment and permanent lifestyle changes and as such, results take time.
While extreme weight-loss programs and fad diets may promote a quick fix, one-size-fits-all approach to immediate weight loss, our experts at Pritikin Longevity Center know better. The answer to tremendous results that will be long lasting is to lose weight slowly.
Crash dieting and fast weight loss is not the best recipe for success. It can result in saggy skin, and usually leads to binge eating and regaining your weight after the diet. At the Pritikin weight loss resort, guests never go hungry and learn the secret to permanent weight loss.
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What Causes Loose Skin After Weight Loss
You may be wondering where this excess skin comes from, but it is simple: when body fat melts away, it leaves space under the skin. One of the results after the weight loss is skin sagging since it has nothing to hold on to.
The downsides to having saggy skin are rather unpleasant since you cannot flaunt your body as you had wished.
Your skin is the most critical organ in your body, and it happens to be the largest. It creates a barrier between your body parts and the environment, mainly to keep everything harmful away. It is fundamental in mitigating any health problems from infections.
Our skins are majorly made of proteins: the two important ones are collagen and elastin. These two make up the underlying layer of your skin. Collagen, which composes 80% of the structure of your skin, gives it firmness and strength. Collagen is usually white.
Elastin is a protein that gives your skin elasticity and helps it stay tight. This yellow tissue is essential for the elasticity and tensile strength of cardiac, respiratory, and other organ systems.
Our skin grows to accommodate additional growth during weight gain since it is elastic. One instance of this extension is pregnancy.
During pregnancy, the skin expands over months. And within a few months following delivery, the enlarged skin usually retracts.
As an outcome, excess skin may hang off the body when you lose a lot of weight. In general, the more weight you lose, the more noticeable the effect of loose skin becomes.
Factors Affecting Loose Skin After Weight Loss
Whether you will have loose skin or not after losing weight depends on several things. To avoid loose skin, being aware of the following factors that affect loose skin after weight loss will help you.
Smoking leads to a reduction in collagen production and damages existing collagen. It may not necessarily cause loose skin after weight loss, but it contributes to sagging skin.
Excessive sun exposure
The more youre exposed to the sun, the lower your collagen and elastin production levels, making your skin less elastic and looser after losing weight.
Length of time
The longer you have been obese or overweight, the looser your skin will be after losing weight.
Depending on the quality of your skin and other risk factors, losing 100 pounds or more can result in more loose skin.
When you age, dermal collagen fibrils undergo progressive loss and fragmentation, which leads to thin and structurally weakened skin.
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Exercise To Lose 70 Pounds
Exercise expedites weight loss. Aim for at least 250 minutes of moderate activity every week to see significant weight loss, notes the American College of Sports Medicine. Cardiovascular exercise, such as brisk walking or jogging, fits into this category. Work up to longer durations and higher intensities to bring about more calorie burning and faster results so you can hit your 70-pound weight-loss goal sooner.
Strength training is also critical for fast, effective weight loss. A paper in the publication Current Sports Medicine Reports from 2012 notes that 10 weeks of resistance training can increase lean weight, decrease fat weight and improve your resting metabolic rate by as much as 7 percent. An increased metabolic rate means you burn more calories at rest, so it’s easier to lose weight. Restricting your calories and moving more puts your body in a state of deprived energy, so it turns to your lean body mass — or muscle — for fuel. If you strength train while losing weight, however, you’ll prevent the loss of muscle that can happen as a result of this process.
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Loose Skin After Weight Loss Is Totally Normal But There Are Ways To Fix It
Losing a bunch of weightwhether it’s through diet and exercise, surgery, or a combination of different approachesisn’t all glitter and smiling “after” photos. If you shed a significant number of pounds, having loose skin is normaland extremely common. Also normal? Feeling a little bummed about it.
This is a legitimate concern that patients have when seeking obesity surgery, says Vivek Prachand, M.D., a bariatric surgeon and associate professor of surgery at The University of Chicago Medicine.
Why does loose skin after major weight loss happen? The maybe-a -little-downer truth: If you were in a larger body previously, excess fat likely stretched out your skin. Couple that with the fact that collagen and elastin in the skin naturally decrease as you age, and you’ve got a recipe for excess skin, explains Manish Shah, M.D., a board-certified plastic surgeon in Denver.
There may not be sufficient elasticity for the skin to contract back down to your new, smaller body size, says Constance Chen, M.D., a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City.
Stretch marks are one sign of skin being, well, stretched past the point of no return: Once you see them, its much more likely that significant weight loss will result in loose, hanging skin, says Dr. Chen.
Avoid Fast Weight Loss
A pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories, so you must burn 500 to 1,000 calories more than you consume every day to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. At this rate, you can expect to reach a loss of 70 pounds in about 9 months. When you first start a weight-loss plan, you may experience quicker loss, but it’ll taper off as your body becomes accustomed to the dietary changes and physical activity and your metabolism drops due to your shrinking size.
Losing 1 to 2 pounds per week is recommended because this rate allows changes that are doable for the average person. You can create a 1,000 calorie deficit by eating about 500 calories fewer and burning 500 calories more through exercise every day. To reach larger deficits, you’d have to sustain extraordinary activity levels and dietary restrictions for which you probably don’t have the time or willpower, and which could be unsafe.
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Where Does All That Skin Go See For Yourself
Franklin Santana, a 29-year-old who lives in the Bronx, had gastric bypass surgery in October 2011, and before the surgery, he weighed 395 pounds. Two years later, as of late last year, he was down to 170. To the public, he seemed like a trim, even skinny, guy. But underneath the clothes, he said his sagging skin reminded him of a deflated balloon.
Im wearing a fat suit I feel like Im a thin person inside wearing a body thats twice the size of mine.
To me, it looks gross, said Santana. You know how a pumpkin looks, at the beginning of October? And then, at the end of October, its all sad and saggy and deflated. I guess you could say it looks like that.
Fantana had done his research before getting the surgery done, and he knew that hed probably be saddled with loose skin after it was over.
Deborah Olmstead, who first had weight loss surgery done in 2001, knew to expect it, too she just didn’t know how awful it would make her feel.
“I was not really comfortable even looking at myself in the mirror, with all the excess flesh,” said Olmstead, who lives in New York state and had cosmetic surgery in Manhattan, led by Wallach, to remove the sagging skin in 2004. “You’ve done all this work, you’ve made this big, massive change that you see on the scale, but you don’t necessarily see it in your clothing, or the way you feel about yourself.”
Skin Elasticity Is Dependent On Two Primary Factors: Age And Genetics But Lifestyle Choices Matter Too
Typically, younger patients with thicker and more sebaceous skin will have more skin contraction during weight loss due to better elasticity, Devgan says. Starting in the 20s, tissue elasticity begins to decline. Even in the absence of weight fluctuation, loss of tissue turgor and decreased firmness can be seen in midface descent in the late 20s, breast laxity in the 30s, abdominal laxity in the 40s, and extremity laxity in the 50s.
However, everyones body is different, Devgan says. There is a tremendous amount of variability in the human experience, so some patients may lose 50 pounds with minimal change in their body, while others can lose as few as 10 and see tissue laxity. If you are genetically blessed with unusually superb tissue elasticity, Devgan says, it can be less dramatic.
Also, lifestyle choices can factor in, as well, Boston-based dermatologist Ranella Hirsch says. How long were you at the weight you started losing from? Are you a smoker? Do you spend a lot of unprotected time in the sun? All these factors play into skin elasticity.
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