Dear doctor, how can I get rid of loose skin following weight loss?

23 May 2017

Q: I’ve recently lost a lot of weight which has really boosted my confidence, but have now gained some loose skin as a result. How can I get rid of this?

A: First of all, many congratulations on your weight loss!

Weight loss leads to many great benefits including improved general health, fitness, mobility and hygiene. However, major weight loss comes at a price.

When people become quite large, the skin expands to accommodate the extra fatty tissue. The skin may expand so much that it loses its natural elasticity. This means that when the fat disappears (whether through lifestyle changes or surgery), the skin is unable to shrink back to its original size and many people are left with large empty flaps of skin that can be unsightly and embarrassing or even cause significant functional problems.

Unfortunately, there is no magic wand that will remove this skin (despite promises made by various non-surgical treatments), so the only way to get rid of this extra skin is to... well, remove it. This usually involves cutting away the extra skin from the thighs, tummy, arms, breast or face using the latest plastic surgery techniques to minimise downtime and promote faster recovery. Think of it as pulling a bedsheet straight but, instead of the extra material being tucked away, it is trimmed off.

The surgery itself is significant and should not be undertaken lightly. It’s important to research your surgeon and be sure that they are adequately trained and experienced in post-weight loss surgery.

Though scars are inevitable, great care is made to ensure they are as small and discreet as possible - although this is not always achievable. Your surgeon should be able to advise you which procedure would be best suited to achieve your goals and enjoy your new lifestyle to its fullest.

Mr Charles Durrant is a Consultant Plastic, Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgeon practising at Spire Portsmouth Hospital. 


The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other health care professional.

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