Weight Loss Surgery (Obesity Surgery) & Excess Skin

Excess skin is a problem for most weight loss surgery patients, particularly if you have lost a lot of weight.  It would be nice if your skin could snap back into shape after surgery, however this happens rarely.  The skin is rather like a balloon that once blown up then deflates.  Your skin takes on the appearance of a deflated balloon as it hangs down around your middle and under your arms, which can be soul-destroying if you have managed to lose a great deal of weight.  Firstly remember you have a much healthier body even if you don’t like the look of all of it!  There are things you can do to help you gain muscle tone, which can help such as regular exercise and weight training.  Eating more protein can also help with muscle tone and ensuring you are taking vitamins supplements. The problems you have with excess skin will vary depending on many factors:

  • Your age – the older you are the less elasticity you will have in your skin which will make it less likely to snap back into shape.
  • How much weight you have lost – the more overweight you were the more excess skin you are likely to have post surgery.
  • How many times you have gained or lost weight in your lifetime – the skin loses elasticity the more times it is stretched and deflated rather like a balloon.
  • Where you carry your weight – some patients carry most of their excess weight around the abdominal area rather then all over.  If this is the case you are unlikely to need plastic surgery all over your body just in your problem area.
  • History of smoking – smoking breaks down collagen, which gives the skin structure.  Smokers will generally have more excess skin than non-smokers.
  • Sun damage – exposure to lots of sun makes the skin less elastic.
  • Skin types – genetics play a part, the type of skin you have will depend how much excess skin you will have.

Many worry about excess skin and not just because it looks unsightly but also because of the medical issues it poses.  Hygiene can become a major issue with excess skin.  Any skin fold can be prone to rashes from trapped sweat.  Such infections can occur underneith the breasts and on the stomach.  Hot, moist skin can become eaily infected.  An anti-fungal powder can keep the problem at bay by keeping the area dry.  For many weight loss surgery patients with excess skin post surgery rashes and infections are a constant battle.

Chafing is another problem, between the thighs and under the arms where skin can rub against each other.  This can cause great discomfort and irritation to the skin.  You can improve things by wearing soft cotton materials and making sure that your clothing is comfortable, not too tight around your skin and made from breathable fabrics such as cotton.