As a plastic surgeon, I see more and more patients who have lost weight but complain of skin that hangs and interferes with their life. This can be very frustrating because many of these people have worked so hard via diet and exercise or have undergone surgical procedures to make themselves look and feel better. My hat goes off to these patients because they truly have taken control of their health.
The typical problems encountered by weight loss patients are hanging skin/fat of the arms (bat wing deformity), abdomen, and thighs. Also, there can be flattened, sagging breasts, large skin excess under the chin, and sagging buttocks. The good news is that each of these problems can be dealt with using appropriately planned procedures.
It is usually ideal for a weight loss patient to reach their target weight before embarking on post-bariatric/weight loss plastic surgery. This target weight is variable and can be discussed in consultation. Multiple procedures are often combined so that different areas of the body can be improved at the same time.
The most common procedure is an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), which involves removing excess skin/fat of the lower abdomen and tightening the abdominal muscles. This recontours the abdomen to enhance shape and redefine the waist. The tummy tuck can be extended onto the back to remove rolls of tissue on the sides and lift the buttocks in a lower body lift. Volume can also be added to the buttocks using one's own fat (Brazilian butt lift) in order to counteract the flattening effect weight loss can have on this body region. Excess, sagging tissue of the thighs is removed in a thigh lift, giving a smooth, wrinkle-free appearance to the thighs. The arms are addressed using a brachioplasty, which often combines some liposuction with skin/fat removal to give a toned, youthful appearance to the arms.
A woman's breasts can suffer following massive weight loss. The end result is a flattened and severely sagging breast shape. This is corrected using an implant with a breast lift (mastopexy) or a breast reduction. Finally, the excess skin that accumulates under the chin after weight loss is best addressed using a standard facelift.
Weight loss through diet and exercise or following bariatric surgery is an incredible boost to a person's overall health. You literally can add years to your life and feel so much better. Plastic surgery offers a solution to problems associated with the extra tissue that may result from weight loss. These procedures improve appearance, function, and self-esteem.