Loose Skin After Weight Loss Surgery

Thomas P. Sterry, MD

Bariatric surgery helps many patients to lose a tremendous amount of weight and keep it off long term. Unfortunately, patients who have these operations are sometimes surprised at the way their bodies look after they have accomplished their comendable weight loss goals. Many of them start looking for plastic surgery to help tame the excess skin laxity that develops. And the rest take up weight loss programs to lose the excessive flabs of fat left hanging around.
I started my career working with a bariatric surgery group of surgeons that was performing over 1,000 gastric bypass operations each year. Frankly, back in those days I had difficulty keeping up with the volume of work that they would send me every week. It was an interesting time because no surgeon in the world had a tremendous experience with these patients, so although I was junior, I quickly gained equal footing with many doctors who were decades my senior.
During those days I found that the most powerful tool I had at my disposal was a procedure we called the “Lower Body Lift with Fleur-de-Lis Abdominoplasty”. This technique allows us to tailor the patient’s “skin suit” in both the vertical and horizontal directions. The trade-off is that they get a scar around their torso as well as one up and down the abdomen. While many patients do not like the idea of this scar, the body contouring outcomes are some of the most impressive I have seen.

I don’t recommend that every patient have this procedure, when when I note a lot of excess laxity in the middle of the abdomen, I feel it would be a mistake not to mention the possibility. Then, I let the patients decide for themselves.

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