What Happens When Weight Loss Leaves You With Excess Skin?

Losing weight can help you look good and feel great. There’s a significant sense of accomplishment when you hit your goals on the scale or when your clothes fit better–or just when you happen to feel a little more energetic. But that sense of accomplishment can feel slightly undone by one simple thing: excess skin.

Do You Need Body Contouring After Weight Loss

This can be especially true for those who have undergone a massive weight loss transformation, whether that weight loss was accomplished with diet and exercise or a surgical procedure (such as bariatric surgery).

These significant transformations can leave behind equally significant amounts of excess skin. Why does this happen, and what can you do about it? What happens when weight loss leaves you with excess skin around your abdomen? Well, you have a few options.

Are There Natural Solutions?

If you were to lose five or ten pounds and notice a bit of excess skin around your arms or legs, the solution might be simple: bulk up a little bit. Focus on building some muscle and that excess skin will take care of itself.

But when an individual goes through a total transformation–the kind of massive weight loss that a bariatric procedure can accomplish–the sheer amount of excess skin makes this type of strategy untenable. That is, when you are left with a significant amount of excess skin, “bulking up” with muscle is just not going to work.

And that can be deflating if you’ve committed to losing a significant amount of weight. All of that excess skin can, from the outside, look a lot like the weight you just lost–and prevent you from having the kind of lifestyle you wanted from the beginning. There are solutions for this excess skin–but those solutions are a little more substantial than “bulking up.”

Surgical Solutions

Plastic surgery is one of the most common solutions for eliminating and mitigating excess skin after a significant weight loss. Now, that might feel a little extreme at first–but if excess skin is stopping you from enjoying all that hard work you put into a weight loss transformation, a bit of surgery just might be worth it.

The most common and popular procedure used after weight loss is a body contouring surgery called “tummy tuck.” Known medically as abdominoplasty, tummy tuck is a wildly popular procedure, so we wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve already heard of it.

Generally performed on an outpatient basis, a tummy tuck is a plastic surgery procedure designed to eliminate unwanted excess skin. An incision is made along the abdomen (below the bikini line) and the excess skin is trimmed away as needed. In some cases, additional structure is also given to the abdominal wall and muscles.

Recovery after a tummy tuck can last several weeks (or months), depending on how your body handles everything. But once the swelling fades, patients typically notice a significantly more slender-looking tummy area. The tummy tuck highlights the natural surfaces of your body by getting that excess skin out of the way.

Completing the Journey

For many who have undergone a weight loss transition, then, a tummy tuck will often represent the completion of the journey. With the excess skin out of the way, you’ll be able to appreciate all of the changes your body has been through. Some evidence even suggests that patients who undergo body contouring after massive weight loss are more likely to keep the weight off.

That could be for any number of reasons, but at least one cause may have something to do with that feeling of confidence and accomplishment that comes with loving the way you look.

That said, excess skin is a natural part of the weight loss process. Not everyone is bothered by that excess skin, so body contouring procedures such as a tummy tuck should not be approached as compulsory by any means. But procedures like a tummy tuck are there if patients need them.

Is It Worth Tightening Your Skin

Whether eliminating that excess skin–tightening your skin, in effect–is worth it can only be answered (ultimately) by the patient, by the individual. By you. It all has to come down to your personal preferences. Your doctor and your plastic surgeon may have some input as well.

In some cases, you might not be bothered by excess skin, even if there’s a lot of it. But your weight loss transformation may also feel incomplete when you find yourself trying to wear bulky clothing all the time. You might want to show off your transformation, and for some people, that can be hard to do when excess skin gets in the way.

So if you find yourself feeling as though your weight loss journey is not yet complete, it might be worth taking some time to consult with a local, well-qualified plastic surgeon to find out what your options are.

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