Following weight reduction surgery, or any substantial amount of weight loss, the skin and tissues often lack elasticity and cannot conform to the reduced body size. As a result, skin that has been severely stretched is now unsupported including the upper arms which may sag and appear loose and full; the breasts may flatten and hang with nipples pointed downward; the abdominal area may extend around the sides and into the lower back area, resulting in an apron-like overhang; and the buttocks, groin and thighs can sag and cause hanging pockets of skin. The goal of after weight loss surgery is a more normal appearance to the body, with smoother contours. The surgeons at PeaceHealth Medical Group help patients in the Portland area complete the final phase of their total weight loss experience.
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Weight loss patients often realize the need for skin removal surgery when the following conditions become evident as they near their goal weight:
- Sagging breasts
- Loose folds of skin around the abdomen
- Hanging skin and fat pockets around the hips
- Sagging skin and excessive wrinkling around the buttocks area
- Hanging skin from the inner thigh to the knee area
- “Bat wings” or loose skin on the underside of the arms
- “Turtle neck” or loose skin around the neck
Many of these conditions are inevitable after any major weight loss because skin, when stretched for a long time, loses its elasticity and fails to shrink back as the body becomes smaller.
After weight loss surgeries are ideal to trim down this excess of skin resulting in a tighter and firmer appearance. Many surgeons recommend grouping certain treatments together as they relate to the lower or upper body in order to minimize the risks of complications. An example of how a surgeon may group the surgeries include:
- The upper body: Procedures such as liposuction, breast lift, tummy tuck and arm lift may be performed.
- The lower body: Procedures such as liposuction, butt and thigh lift, lower body lift may be performed.
After weight loss surgery is considered a major operation in which the patient is put under general anesthesia. The number of hours it takes to complete this surgery varies, but on average it is between 4-7 hours. Overnight stay in the hospital is required so that patients can be closely monitored. While scarring is a part of this surgical process, a skilled plastic surgeon will make every effort to ensure that the incisions are kept as inconspicuous as possible. Post-surgery care is also prescribed so that the scars will heal properly. For many patients, the results after surgery are so positive and impactful, they are life-changing.
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After Weight Loss Surgery FAQs@headingTag>
Common Areas Treated?@headingTag>
Typical body parts that are addressed for surgery are the abdomen, buttocks, upper thighs, breasts, arms and neck. The most common areas for improvement include the breasts and abdominal area, which can usually be done at the same time. During the course of losing weight, the areas of loose skin will become more obvious and it is usually around this time that patients begin consulting with a plastic surgeon.
Before moving forward with this procedure, patients should be at or near their goal weight. Sometimes, removing the loose skin helps accelerate weight loss. This is the case when loose skin gets in the way of the patient’s daily physical activities.
Will Insurance Cover the Cost?@headingTag>
Insurance companies, for the most part, will not cover the expenses associated with cosmetic surgery. However, coverage does vary and sometimes may apply to weight loss patients where loose skin becomes a medical problem. Our billing coordinator works to provide accurate estimates and will thoroughly check the benefits of each provider.