The number of people having weight loss surgery has been steadily climbing, and it’s having a ripple effect on the plastic surgery industry. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reports that 179,000 Americans underwent weight loss surgery in 2013, and that 2014 saw a huge surge in the number of tummy tucks, upper arm lifts, breast lifts, and thigh lifts in the plastic surgery world. This correlation is no coincidence, because extreme weight loss often requires plastic surgery to yield a healthy final result.
Two Sides of the Same Coin
When you gain weight, your skin stretches out and grows in order to accommodate the additional fat beneath it. When you lose weight, the skin will tighten back up again, but not in all cases. As we age, our skin becomes less elastic, and can’t tighten up like it use to. For those who have gained a lot of weight at any age, excess skin is often the byproduct of massive weight loss, because the skin just doesn’t have the ability to tighten up that much. This is why excess skin is par for the course after massive weight loss for many people.
Body Image Issues
Most people undertake extreme weight loss measures with the idea that reaching their goal weight will be a fulfilling end to their journey. Imagine the disappointment felt by those who discover that hanging excess skin is left behind, standing between them and the healthy body they’ve worked so hard for. The psychological stress of those who suffer from this issue is substantial, as they’ve traded one problem for another through the process of massive weight loss.
Besides being unsightly and uncomfortable, excess skin can actually be painful. Infections can develop in the folds, exercising can be difficult, and finding clothes that fit properly is nearly impossible. There are several health problems associated with excess skin after extreme weight loss, but plastic surgery offers a solution. Tummy tucks, upper arm lifts, breast lifts, and thigh lifts are just a few of the procedures available to correct the problem. See the life-changing effects of skin removal surgery on this episode of The Younger You.
Fixing the Problem
Only 45,000 people who had achieved massive weight loss opted for excess skin removal surgery in 2014. Some people don’t have the surgery because they think they can’t afford it, while others don’t even know it’s an option. The goal for the medical field going forward is to educate each patient who is beginning a massive weight loss endeavor about the possibility of needing to manage excess skin at the end, and on how they can get this surgery covered financially.
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The Younger You with Troy Thompson, Season 1 is a double Emmy nominated show for 2014