Rapid weight loss after bariatric surgery is truly life-changing — not only for your health and appearance, but also for your sense of confidence. But many people wonder if the leftover loose skin after weight loss surgery will make them feel self-conscious.
The fact is loose skin does happen to some people, but there are steps you can take to minimize it, and options for removing it if it becomes a problem for your lifestyle or confidence level.
Real patients share their experiences with loose skin
We talked to two bariatric surgery patients to hear their experiences with loose skin. Lena and Dora are sisters who both had weight loss surgery in 2009, and have been very pleased with their long-term weight loss.
“I really didn’t have any problems with loose skin after my bariatric procedure. I lost my weight slower than Dora, which was a little discouraging at the time, but in the end I lost the weight and didn’t have extra skin,” says Lena.
“At my pre-op appointments, the nurse suggested getting some special garments that hold in the loose skin as you lose weight, but honestly I never felt the need for them,” says Lena.
Even among sisters, there are many variables that impact both the pace of weight loss and the amount of loose skin after weight loss surgery.
“Loose skin has been an issue for me since my surgery. I ended up with what’s called an ‘apron’ of extra skin on my belly. It’s not a big issue for me appearance-wise, but what’s tough about it is keeping the skin clean and dry where it’s folded over on itself,” says Dora.
Dora’s daily skin care regimen now includes drying under the excess skin, and occasionally applying antifungal ointment if yeast becomes a problem.
Our 4 tips to minimize loose skin after weight loss surgery
Though you can’t do much to influence the speed of your weight loss right after surgery (you’ll be on a liquid diet for some time), there are some variables you can control to help your skin stay elastic and bounce back better.
- Take care of yourself! Among the great reasons to stop smoking is better skin. Quitting before surgery will reduce your risks of complications, speed up healing, and help your skin stay supple and elastic after your procedure. Getting good sleep also helps your skin stay resilient and healthy. Healthy habits like drinking plenty of water, getting proper, balanced nutrition as your doctor gives you the OK to add back in normal foods, and keeping up with your vitamins and supplements can all help boost skin elasticity. Click here to learn about the diet and supplement regimen you’ll follow post-op.
- Exercise. As soon as you’re cleared for exercise, find a weight training program that fits you and start building muscle. Not only will your new figure thank you for this healthy habit, so will your skin! Taut muscles are a great way to fill out your skin. And you’ll find the rapid weight loss from your bariatric surgery will make exercising easier than ever.
- Pamper your skin. There are some good creams and body butters that will give your skin moisture and help you avoid dryness, as well as reducing the visibility of stretch marks. Dry-brushing is also great to help with circulation and spreading collagen and elastin throughout your skin.
- Consider cosmetic surgery. This is where your confidence comes into play. You may feel so wonderful in your transformed body that a little loose skin almost feels like a badge of honor. Or you may feel like loose skin is hindering your confidence. Either feeling is valid and common, but cosmetic surgery is an option for removing trouble skin — whether it impacts your health, like Dora’s “apron,” or just your feeling of comfort in your own skin. Most insurance plans won’t cover cosmetic surgery for appearance’s sake, but if you develop infections or other health problems due to loose skin, they may help cover skin removal. You can check out the American Society of Bariatric Plastic Surgeons to learn more.
Is weight loss surgery in El Paso right for you?
If you’re ready to explore whether you’re a good candidate for weight loss surgery, give us a call today. We’d love to hear any concerns you have about loose skin or other aspects of a bariatric procedure.
Dr. Clapp will be delighted to answer your questions and help you find the weight loss solution that best suits your situation, so you can feel great in your own skin!
To schedule your consultation, or for cost and pricing information, please call 915-534-1051.