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seeking advice from anyone who has had surgery to remove skin after weight loss

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  • seeking advice from anyone who has had surgery to remove skin after weight loss

    So wanted to see if anyone has had surgery to remove excess skin after weight loss.

    I've lost about 120 pounds, from 270 to 155. See:
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/node/5580

    and I've got quite a bit of loose skin left now, as you can see below:

    I've seen a couple of surgeons and they have said its mostly skin there and will need to have it cut off if I ever want to get rid of it.

    So was wanting to find out from folks that have had this done what the experience was like for you? Has anyone had this much skin and it tightened up on its own eventually? I'm told you can't really exercise it away.

    I know it is pure vanity, but really does bother me right now. I'm almost thinking it looks worse all loose like that than being a bit chubby. Any advice from folks that have had this done would be greatly appreciated!
    Attached Files
    Last edited by KestrelSF; 04-09-2010, 04:07 PM. Reason: images
    Apathy is tyranny's greatest ally.

  • #2
    i had a tummy tuck to remove loose skin from pregnancies. no amount of exercise would make it better. in fact, the fitter i became, the more the skin sagged because there was less frame to support it. i would advise you to be very close to goal weight when you do this type of surgery and the recovery can be painful/difficult but i feel it was totally worth it.

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    • #3
      Kestrel, I hope to have this problem some day..................... <grin>

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      • #4
        I worked for a plastic surgeon as an assistant for a while back when I thought I wanted to be an MD. You're right that there's not really any amount of exercise that's going to get rid of that much extra skin. The good news: tummy tucks are a high satisfaction rate surgery for people who have lost lots of weight. Any good plastic surgeon will be willing to show you pictures of his work. Look for minimal bleeding under the skin in the post-op picture (tummy tucks should not breach many blood vessels and a meticulous surgeon will cauterize them as he works), and a narrow, flat, lightly-colored scar (assuming the patient is white; I'm afraid I didn't work with very many dark-skinned patients, so I don't know what to tell you there) at the hips and a very minimal scar at the belly button in the 'after' picture. Pay attention to symmetry as well.

        Don't be afraid to shop around, but pay for quality. Good luck!
        Give me liberty. Exploration of other options will be vigorously discouraged.

        Wondering something sciencey? Ask me in my Ask a Biochemist Thread

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        • #5
          I have seen the work of Dr. Berkowitz who is located in Campbell, he has done a lot of post-weight loss surgery reconstructive work. You haven't had WLS but his experience is good. His staff is very friendly and helpful and if I were to have any reconstructive work I would have him high on my list. I personally have eliminated over 140 pounds over the last year and a half and know what it's like to have loose skin. It's not vanity to want it removed. How we look contributes to how we feel and view ourselves and we all want a healthy self-esteem. If having this extra skin devalues the work you've done to lose the weight then it's unhealthy for you as you've done something amazing and should be proud of it and yourself. Loose skin may not seem like "a big deal" but it can be a huge thing. I have what I call my shar-pei thighs. My stomach isn't bad but my thighs are rather funny looking. They don't bother me enough at this point to do something like a lower body lift, particularly since gravity isn't kind to them but it's something I think about. I personally feel at war with myself sometimes because I *know* how great I've done but yet I have these shar-pei thighs that detract (in my eyes) from my success. I usually look at them as a badge of honor but sometimes .. it's hard to do that.

          Hope this helps!

          ~Tracey

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          • #6
            Thanks for the input folks! I will most likely use the surgeon who removed my gallbladder and part of my pancreas 2 years ago. She is a Vascular and General surgeon. I have a hernia that I never knew I had until I lost weight from where she took out the gallbladder. She said she would do the skin removal at the same time.

            @eperdu - I'm afraid I have shar-pei ass too! Maybe if the tummy part goes well I'll consider having that done too!
            Apathy is tyranny's greatest ally.

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            • #7
              Hah! We won't get into the subject of my ass .. or what used to be my ass. It's a bit flat now. Women luckily can buy padded ass underwear though so .. no seriously we can though I don't own any!

              Best of luck and keep us posted!

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              • #8
                I've been wanting to have it done as well. I have been using my blog, SCOBY sales and donations to raise the money. You're very brave to post photos. I hide mine behind strategic clothing- lol.

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                • #9
                  Another thing to bear in mind, SOME insurances will cover plastics if it is determined that it impedes your life. Some have it done for health reasons (the excess skin chafing, causes infections under the fold,etc), some get it for impeding social interaction and personal relationships being hindered / self-esteem issues, and so on. I think it's worth looking into as well.

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                  • #10
                    Can he or she work in conjunction with a plastic surgeon? either that or consider a plastic surgeon who specializes in post weight loss procedures because i have seen the work of general surgeons and the work of plastic surgeons and a general surgeon does not come close to a plastic surgeon in their ability to create the smallest, finest scars possible. that is a plastic surgeons specialization, the general surgeon doesn't obsess as much over the long-term appearance of the scarring. and a board certified plastic surgeon of course

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                    • #11
                      Well, the general surgeon said that she would do the excess skin removal at no extra cost, the plastic surgeon will want at least $1000 on top of what insurance pays for the hernia operation. I credit the general surgeon with saving my life when I was brought into hospital with pancreatic cysts. I have a lot of admiration for her skills as well as her dedication to patients. If she says she'll do it, I wouldn't feel right going to someone else.

                      One other issue is that although the procedure is extremely 'routine' ... so was my gallstone operation, the one that triggered my pancreas blowing apart and almost killing me. I'd feel a lot better knowing she was doing it.

                      PS, hope no one was too put off by the "oh god, look at that gross belly" pics!
                      Apathy is tyranny's greatest ally.

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                      • #12
                        Update?

                        Originally posted by KestrelSF View Post
                        Thanks for the input folks! I will most likely use the surgeon who removed my gallbladder and part of my pancreas 2 years ago. She is a Vascular and General surgeon. I have a hernia that I never knew I had until I lost weight from where she took out the gallbladder. She said she would do the skin removal at the same time.

                        @eperdu - I'm afraid I have shar-pei ass too! Maybe if the tummy part goes well I'll consider having that done too!
                        Hi!
                        I came across your post and was wondering if you decided to proceed with the surgery? Did you end up using your general surgeon? If so, how happy were you with the results?

                        Thanks!

                        Goldie

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                        • #13
                          Kestrel, I'd normally ask how old you are because young skin bounces back better than old skin (mostly), but if it's only $1000 out of pocket, more power to you. Get 'er done.

                          And no, what you posted isn't gross, it's brave and honest. Not a lot of that going on these days, so kudos to you.
                          "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

                          B*tch-lite

                          Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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                          • #14
                            What you posted wasn't gross at all. It gave me a lot of hope. I've seen much much worse. I'll be happy if I look something like your stomach when I'm done losing weight. Also, it looks like you don't need a Tummy tuck (which involves the muscles) but just a pannilectomy - just remove the extra pannus. I think its fine to do it with a general surgeon particularly if you are getting a good deal. Plus he is cutting you open anyway and has to sew you back up - he might as well remove the excess skin. My understanding is that they just just put the scar line right at the top of the genital area and it will blend in really well because there is sort of a crease there anyway. Just know that the results may not be "as perfect" if the general surgeon does it. Worst case scenario, you can get it revised - sometimes revision with a plastic surgeon is cheaper. And if its just scar revision, you don't always need general aestheisa because there isn't as much tissue to numb and they can cut you open, resew you up so you get a better scar. For more info, check out realself.com - you can see lots of before and after picture and get great advice!
                            Last edited by mandypandy2246; 03-26-2013, 04:53 PM.

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                            • #15
                              I'm also very interested in what ended up happening here. I myself have loose skin almost exactly like the OPs that just hangs there. Been trying to tackle it for nearly a year now through exercise but sadly have not tightened the skin (though I have added some muscle mass). I've been considering surgery but been very hesitant about it, simply because I hate surgery, hate going to the doctor, and think I should probably just learn to live with it.
                              Went Primal July 25th, 2011.

                              Current Age: 25

                              Total Loss: 126 lbs

                              Starting Stats: Weighed 266 lbs, Body Fat 37.6% (100 lbs), BMI 40.9

                              Current Stats: Weight 140 lbs, Body Fat 15.2% (21.1 lbs), BMI 21.2

                              Current Goals: Get a stronger core through Pilates and continue being as Primal as I can be.

                              My Weight Loss Notes Now on a blog page. It starts with "My Weight Loss: Introduction." Available to the public, share with friends if you'd like!

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