Skin removal surgery is usually an important procedure for patients who have lost a significant weight through gastric bypasses, lap bands, and other procedures that force them to consume less amount of food.
While losing the extra weight provides countless health benefits, you may develop excess, hanging skin which not only distort your body’s contour but may also result in breakdown of skin, irritation, poor hygiene, difficulty in moving, and even foul odor.
Fortunately, our plastic surgeons at the California Surgical Institute clinics in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange Counties have specialized in treating massive weight loss patients who are suffering from excess skin that usually accumulates around the abdomen or even the entire lower trunk, both in the inner and outer thighs, in the upper arms, and around the neck.
Aside from the excess hanging skin, a significant number of massive weight loss patients also suffer from pockets of fats which may not respond to even the most rigorous exercise and dieting. For this reason, liposuction is also performed in order to achieve the most desired result.
But unlike people who have maintained a normal weight throughout their lives, massive weight loss patients have more fibrous fatty tissues which are difficult to eliminate with the use of traditional procedures. For this reason, our liposuction surgeons are using tumescent fluids which are directly injected to the area to make the fats firmer and swollen, making them easier to be dislodged and suctioned out from the body.
There are the other advantages of tumescent technique that you may find interesting: minimal or almost no bleeding, lower surgical trauma, and significantly safer and more effective than “dry liposuction” which does not use any solution than can aid faster and easier removal of excess fats.
If you are a massive weight loss patient, your skin removal surgery may also involve reshaping or realigning your weakened, stretched muscles and tightening your tissues using deep, internal sutures.
The location and length of the excess, sagging skin will largely determine the incision sites. For example, if you have this problem along the abdominal area, our plastic surgeons may use a U-shaped excision below the navel which is covered by your underwear so the surgical scars are hidden. But in case that the hanging skin reaches your hips and backs, the incision will cover your entire lower trunk to achieve the desired result.
In case that you are also suffering from a significant amount of loose skin in the inner and outer thighs, the incision is usually placed below the butt crease and reaches the groin where the pubic area and thigh meet, although this is sometimes also placed along the inner thighs or hips.
And if you have hanging skin in the upper arm, the incision starts from the underarm to the elbow and is generally placed on the inside or back of the arm so the surgical scars are hidden.
Before the procedure, you will undergo consultations with one of our specialists so you can discuss your goals, expectations, and concerns with the surgery.
During the consultation, you should be honest with your doctor especially when it comes to your current medication (including the herbal supplements you are taking), alcohol intake, previous surgeries, and medical condition. But just to be on the safe side, your surgeon may ask you to undergo physical examinations to determine if your health is in good condition.
Once you have been declared as a good candidate, your surgeon will give you pre- and post-operative guidelines which usually include quitting smoking, avoiding aspirin and other medications that affect clotting and healing, and taking certain drugs to minimize the risk of complications.
If you rigidly follow all your doctor’s advice, you can significantly reduce the risk of complications, enjoy a faster and more convenient recovery, and achieve the best possible result.
After the skin removal surgery, you will most likely remain in the hospital for a day or two. But in some cases, this is longer particularly if the procedure involves more amounts of skin and/or larger area.
A few days after the procedure, the sutures will dissolve on their own or will be removed by your surgeon. However, it may take one to three weeks before the surgical drains are taken out to make sure that all the excess fluids and anesthetic solutions have drained out from the body.
To further improve your contour and achieve the best possible result, specialists at the California Surgical Institute will recommend you to wear compression garments for several weeks or even months.
In some cases, our doctors recommend physical therapy to allow you to immediately return to normal activities. This post-operative requirement is usually common among patients who received skin removal surgery in their upper arms.
To prevent blood clots in the thighs and calves and promote faster recovery, our surgeons recommend their patients to take a short walk as soon as they can (usually a day or two after the procedure). However, those people who will undergo skin removal surgery in their inner thighs and abdomen may have to wait for several days before they can normally walk.
While you may be advised to have a short walk and perform light activities during the first few days after operation, you have to avoid too much exertion, heavy lifting, and rigorous activities for at least a month to allow the incision site to heal faster.
As with any plastic surgery, skin removal involves risk of complications which you may significantly reduce by rigidly following your doctor’s advice.
Meanwhile, the usual risks associated with this procedure are blood loss, seroma or formation of excess fluids under the skin, infection, hematoma or mass caused by accumulation of blood, and asymmetrical appearance.
Just to be on the safe side, you should immediately inform your surgeon if you will experience delayed healing, abnormal heart rate, and other tell-tale signs of complications.
Our chief plastic surgeons has been board-certified by the most prestigious medical organizations in the country and has undergone extensive surgical training to give patients the best possible outcome.
Please fill in our contact form above so that we can offer you complimentary consultations that will help you start your new life after massive weight loss.