The results of weight loss can be life changing. When you’ve lost weight on your own or via bariatric surgery, there’s nothing that beats enjoying the results. But major weight loss can leave you with another obstacle—loose, excess skin that hangs around after your weight loss or surgery. Hanging skin can be an unwelcome, seemingly permanent reminder of the weight you worked so hard to lose. We often hear from patients who come to us frustrated with the way that loose skin keeps them from celebrating their hard-earned results. But don’t despair! We understand why this happens and offer solutions that let you move ahead with confidence. Let’s explore what you can do about excess skin after weight loss.
Why is hanging or excess skin a problem?
Perhaps you have a bit of loose skin after weight loss that doesn’t bother you. But for many patients who have undergone a major change, hanging skin can be a cause of frustration and discomfort. Excess skin can be cumbersome and heavy, causing chafing or creating unflattering lines under clothing. It can affect your posture, confidence, comfort, and overall health. If you’re looking to get into an exercise routine or move your body, hanging skin can also be a real obstacle to ease of movement.
What is a “pannus”?
An abdominal pannus is an excess area of skin and fat that hangs off of the abdomen, sometimes referred to as an ‘apron belly’. It’s normal to have some extra skin or fat here on the lower tummy, but after bariatric surgery or major weight loss a pannus can be heavy and problematic. For some people, this loose skin can hang down to the thighs or knees, creating a heavy obstacle when you’re wanting to exercise or enjoy wearing a swimsuit for the first time in a while.
What causes loose or hanging skin after weight loss?
If you’ve ever seen a balloon deflate after it’s been full of air, you know that it doesn’t take on the exact same shape as before. Our bodies are incredible at adapting to change, and when we gain weight the skin stretches and supports fat cells by making room for them. Excess weight can also damage your skin’s collagen and elastin fibres, making it hard for skin to “snap back” after the fat cells are gone. Once you lose a substantial amount of fat, you may be left with loose skin that expanded to accommodate it. That’s why we often pair liposuction (a fat removal procedure) with a tummy tuck (to remove excess skin and smooth contours). Many women also experience hanging skin after a pregnancy, and may choose surgery to smooth excess or loose tissue.
What can I do about excess hanging skin?
At FORM we’re passionate about crafting results that let you enjoy your weight loss fully, without the nuisance of loose or hanging skin. From comprehensive consultations to thorough followup and aftercare, we’re on this journey with you every step of the way. Our body contouring surgeries let you take back control of your shape, honouring the hard work you’ve done to get where you are today. With a compassionate, supportive, team offering round-the-clock care, we’re here to help you target hanging skin so you can live life fully.
This is a basic surgical procedure that is covered by OHIP and performed by a surgeon assigned to you by OHIP. The abdominal pannus is excised and removed, but generally this procedure does not include considerations for an aesthetically pleasing result.
Cosmetic Body Contouring Surgery
Body contouring procedures like body lifts and tummy tucks allow for a more thorough focus on superior aesthetic results. During your consultation, our skilled surgeons Dr. Jalil and Dr. Somogyi will create a personalized surgical plan to strategically contour any areas of loose skin and minimize scarring. These procedures are not covered by OHIP.
- Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)
Abdompinoplasty, also called a tummy tuck, removes excess fat and skin from the abdominal area. This procedure can also tighten weakened abdominal muscles for a smoother, tighter appearance. Post-weight loss patients typically benefit from an extended tummy tuck, which uses a longer horizontal incision across the lower abdomen and around the sides of the hips to correct loose skin on the flanks as well as the stomach, or a Fleur de Lis tummy tuck, which combines a horizontal incision with a vertical incision up the midline of the abdomen, giving your surgeon greater access for more tissue removal and improved tightening.
- Body lift
A body lift uses an incision that completely encircles the lower abdomen. Body lifts can address loose or hanging skin in multiple areas of concern like the thighs, abdomen, buttocks, and lower back—the entire truncal area. A body lift could be a good fit for you if you’re also noticing loose skin on areas like the buttocks or thighs after weight loss. This procedure is sometimes referred to as abdominoplasty 360, a circumferential tummy tuck, or a belt lipectomy.
- Arm lift (brachioplasty)
If you see a lot of loose skin hanging from your arms when standing with your arms held out in a T, you may be a good candidate for an arm lift. This procedure, also known as a brachioplasty, uses an incision along the inner arm to remove excess skin and restore a more uniform contour to your arms. Patients sometimes refer to this as getting rid of their ‘bat wings’.
- Thigh lift (thighplasty)
A thigh lift can be a good option for weight loss patients who have significant loose skin beginning from their upper thigh down to the mid-thigh or even to the knee. We typically use an incision along the crease of the groin, combined with an incision running down the inner thigh, to excise and lift skin. We frequently pair this procedure, along with all the others mentioned here, with liposuction contouring to give us greater control over your final shape and produce aesthetically pleasing results.
Am I a good candidate for body contouring surgery?
You may be a good candidate for body contouring surgery if the following applies to you:
- You have lost a significant amount of weight, on your own or via bariatric surgery.
- You have concerns about excess tissue or loose skin anywhere on the body or face.
- Your weight has been stable for three months or more and your BMI is below 32.
- You’re a non-smoker or able to quit smoking at least two months prior to surgery.
Are there financial options to help me afford body contouring surgery?
Financing via Medicard and Beautifi is available for all surgeries. Our team is here to support you through the application process to finance all or part of your surgery. In summary, don’t worry! We’ve got options to help make a life-changing surgical plan a possibility for you.