100 lb. Club - Will I Defintely Need Skin Reduction??

12-20-2007, 08:49 PM
Hi Everyone. I just joined 3FC last night and am learning my way around.
Something I would like to know...I am 5'2" (barely) and weigh 230 pounds. I have been overweight most of my life to some degree, don't exercise and the majority of my weight is concentrated on my stomach. I am very concerned that when I lose 100 pounds, I will need skin reduction. I would almost rather stay fat than have to undergo this. It's scary and expensive and I'm sure incredibly painful. If I had less weight to lose I would be less concerned but I guess what I'm asking is, with hundred pound weight loss on a sedentary person, is skin reduction almost always a definite or is there hope for me to lose weight without needing it?
Thank you.

12-20-2007, 08:59 PM
Red, there is no way to know this in the beginning. Even after you lose 100 lbs., your body will continue to adjust and firm. You will need to make that decision when you get there. I DO believe that starting an exercise program that includes stretching, toning and weight resistance will help the firming process along.

I CAN tell you, that after losing 50 lbs., I have a lot of saggy baggy skin that has not firmed. Will I have surgery? No. And - I wouldn't trade my saggy skin for those 50 lbs. for an instant! There are wonderful products that help me tuck and hide that extra skin - I never found anything that would sufficiently hide 50 lbs. - LOL

12-20-2007, 09:00 PM
There's really no way to know....and I think there is always hope!

I have thought the same thing - but I've just decided that it's better to lose the weight and be healthy and deal with any consequences that come my way due to weight loss at that time. Truly, why worry about it? Even with excess skin, weighing 100 pounds less will be much healthier for me than to keep the fat filling up my skin.

Sure, I wish I didn't weigh 100 pounds more than is healthy, and sure, I wish I would have started losing weight and being more active earlier in my life - but I didn't. If I could have, I would have. Truly! For whatever reasons, I couldn't pull it together in the past - but for today, I am. For today, I am making choices that are good for me. And for today, I'm not going to spend a minute worrying about excess skin. I'm just going to do what I need to do to keep moving forward on my path to becoming fit and healthy.

Just my 2 cents worth!

Suzanne 3FC
12-20-2007, 09:04 PM
Hi, welcome to 3FC :D

Meg put together a fantastic skin FAQ at http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=36040 which should be a big help :)

12-20-2007, 09:05 PM
I have lost 91 lbs so far. I do have loose skin on my belly, but I keep it as a badge of honor for now. It represent all my hard work. I would definately take saggy skin over the fat that once filled it! Don't be afaid of what might happen. Just get started in your journey you will feel so much better. Jelly

12-20-2007, 09:12 PM
Hi Red and :welcome3:!

You might want to check out our Weight Loss And Skin FAQs (http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=36040) thread. It should answer a lot of your questions. :)

Right now, no one - not even a doctor - can predict how your skin will react to a large weight loss. There are so many variables that affect the elasticity of your skin: age, genetics, length of time spent overweight, smoking, sun damage. It's just impossible to guess at this point! Some people lose 100 pounds and barely have any excess skin. Others aren't so lucky. There's no way to tell how your skin will react until at least six months to a year after you reach goal. So I know it's not what you want to hear, but ... patience. :)

If you reach your goal, have waited for your skin to stabilize, and still have excess skin, that's the time when you consider surgery or not. Many people are quite happy camouflaging whatever skin issues they have under clothing. Regardless, every person I've ever talked to would gladly choose excess skin over excess fat. Think of it this way -- the skin is there, regardless. You can live with it all stuffed with fat or you can live in a slim, healthy body -- the choice is yours.

BTW, I've had skin reduction surgery and can assure you that it isn't "incredibly painful". ;) In fact, I would characterize it as "uncomfortable", but never painful. Heck, I was back in the gym working out two weeks after my lower body lift! Honestly, it's really not quite as horrible as you think. In fact, I would do it again in a heartbeat! :D

12-20-2007, 10:06 PM
I would almost rather stay fat than have to undergo this.

No, no, no, no..... It is way, way, way, WAY better to have loose skin and not be morbidly obese and all that it brings about, then to be morbidly obese WITH tight skin. WAY BETTER. Surely I'd prefer to be fit and trim and heatlhy with ZERO loose skin, but that's just not the case. But it is WAY better then I thought it would be and it is totally and completely undetectable under clothing. But really, being a healthy weight and all the incredible things that come with it, is just so remarkable and incredulous, that any loose skin that you "may" have will be worth it to you as well. I'm 100% confident in saying that to you.

Oh and :wel3fc:. I'm thrilled that you're here and look forward to getting to know you. :)

12-20-2007, 10:32 PM
Wow. You guys really know your stuff. I just finished reading the Skin FAQ and everyone's stories. Thank you for being so reassuring to me and for being so kind to answer my question, even though you must have heard it many times before. I really appreciate the time you took to share your stories with me. I've finally found the right group for me! I thank you all so much! :)

12-20-2007, 11:20 PM
I am 36 years old and in the last year and a half or so, I've lost at least 95 pounds. I am very close to getting 100. I have been following this forum only for like a couple of months, but I've found it informative and very motivating as I struggle to shed the last few and more importantly head into maintenance.

Anyway, I always told myself I wanted to lose the weight before I turned 30 because of the skin issues. It didn't happen. I can tell you I changed my way of eating to save my life (diabetes) but low carbing helped me lose weight. I hadn't really thought about how much I might lose till goals kept being met.

Now, at 95 pounds, skin issues become bigger and bigger. I think the one that bothers me the most is my arms. I had thigh-arms and it shows now. I am not sure how much of my remaining stomach "tire" is skin or still fat. It def. puckers and wrinkles so I know a lot of it is skin. My boobs have a deflated look to them and when i look down my thighs have saggy skin too. I could fixate on all that but really, i can't. Luckily, my face held up nicely, even my neck, though recently, I think I notice a little sag. I think also, i recently lost another 15 pounds and I think that my body is catching up to that loss. I have had different times when my skin seemed loser and then tightened up a bit. It might happen again.

Either way, I will not let it shame me in any way. It's not too bad... I wear short sleeves when it's hot, shorts etc. I am a teacher and my current kids don't remember me when i was bigger. My old kids do and they can't get over it. I try to educate kids in the way of nutrition. They notice my arm skin and they are kids, they speak just what is on their mind. Some think it's "gross" others think it's fun. Either way they all want to touch it, or play with it. I indulge them sometimes. They jiggle it and I use it as a way of reminding them the dangers of junk food and what the reason for this skin is. Anyway, I don't mind, it makes me very aware of what I have and that people get used to it. When my arms are down it's not really noticeable. My breasts are taken care of by a bra.

The point is, I would not trade it for the fat. I will name some of the things that I enjoy doing now that I could not enjoy at 256 pounds.

Things that are better than tight skin:

-being able to tie my shoes without putting my foot up on something
-crossing my legs comfortably
-playing basketball
-running any kind of distance without suffering knee pain for days and maybe weeks
-walking up many flights of stairs
-shopping for clothes anywhere I feel like
-buying shoes for looks and not comfort
-being able to curl up like a ball on the couch
-not having the burden of telling people to let me set the pace when we walk
-not worrying about fitting right on an amusement park ride (I did have the embarrassment of being assisted to secure the seat belt while riding those flying chairs).
-not worrying about lifting the arm rest on a plane because my thighs just didn't fit

I could go on ... really... I probably should make a list on its own thread.

I think one of the reasons I lost weight is that right before I did, I learned to love myself again. I wore tank tops and shorts because it was hot. As I had become bigger and bigger, I had actually put up with the worst kind of heat because I was embarrassed of my fat arms and legs. Well, I stopped. One summer I said to myself, if I am hot I am going to show that, and if people don't like it, they don't have to look. I find myself in that same boat now and it's all about loving yourself. Nothing wrong with flabby arms, people don't have to look if they don't want to.
Anyway, I could probably use surgery but I can't afford it (yes I have some bitterness at insurance companies that cover WLS people but not dieters like myself). I also am not sure if I believe in unnecessary surgery. You may or may not have loose skin but the rewards will far outweigh the skin issues. It would be my guess at the 100 pound loss level. I think it might be different for people who lose more than that but I can't speak for them.

12-21-2007, 02:22 AM
I never really thought about the after effects on my skin, and I'm going to read those FAQs, but it seems to me if you do plenty of toning and stretching exercises and lose weight slowly your body will have a chance to adjust to the change rather than losing it rapidly and winding up with a bunch of baggy skin, not that you won't have it either way (which, to be honest you probably will, and I am there with you as someone who used to weigh over 300 pounds!) but I think it might be less if you take your time. I lost about 17lbs my first month, and then after that it started trickling... and it took me 3 months to lose the next 17. Still, I am not upset because I know that losing weight slowly will ultimately be the best thing for me in the long run, not only will I give my body time to adjust, but also my emotions and keeping the weight off.

3FC is a Godsend! Welcome and I hope you find it extremely helpful and supportive on your journey, I know I have. And feel free to join us in the Accountability thread!

12-21-2007, 02:36 AM
Thank you BlueX and Rakel. Thank you everyone. As I poke around 3FC I find myself filled with respect for you all, for your determination and such willingness to help others. And I love the overall tone of 3FC! You guys rock! I'm not seeing anything negative or self pitying here as I have in other forums, I am seeing self respect and pride and I can't tell you how refreshing that is!! I mean this. I have made excuses for my weight and apologized for *myself* for so many years, as if there was something wrong with me. Coming here is a whole new world!

Rakel, I would love to join you in the Accountability thread, thank you! Could you point me to the way please? I couldn't find it.

12-21-2007, 03:00 AM
redglitter: here it is -- http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=129023

Every week on Monday a new thread is posted for that week. Basically you can just check in and let us know how you're doing every day, some people post their menus to stay accountable, some just give a general report, some report their weight, and we often talk about things going on in our lives and the day to day struggles. You can share whatever you feel comfortable with sharing :)

12-21-2007, 03:30 AM
Thank you, Rakel!

12-21-2007, 03:44 AM
i have been fortunate enough to loose a good chunk of weight without much loose skin. but i did it slowly. like, ridiculously slowly (over the corse of years) so i think that has alot to do with it. my body had plenty of time to adjust and firm up. the only place that's realy floppy on me is my arms, but i refuse to cover them up because i've got beautiful tattoo's that i love showing off :P I wouldnt worry about it too much right now. Just concentrate on getting healthy, and i can 100% garuntee that you'll feel better with a bit of loose skin than you did with the extra 100 lbs!

12-21-2007, 04:57 PM
RedGlitter, I agree with your assessment of the 3fatchicks community being a godsend! So positive, supportive, and inspiring -- had we all grown up & lived in a community like this from birth, maybe we would all have been healthy from the get-go! ;) I'm a newbie, too, so discovering this welcoming and healthy bunch has me still stunned.

Also, love this attitude from KrisR: "For whatever reasons, I couldn't pull it together in the past - but for today, I am. For today, I am making choices that are good for me." It blends One Day At A Time with forgiveness & hope. Lovely. :)

12-21-2007, 06:12 PM
I have lost over 70 pounds, am 5 foot 2 and started at 250.

I am seeing some loose skin, but not as much as I would have thought - although I have 40 pounds to go LOL! I see it in my upper thighs, and a bit on my lower stomach. Also, my triceps. That is the part that bothers me, because I work out with weights and have great biceps - but have skin flab below.

I would never, ever, ever, ever want to be at 250 again. If I have loose skin at goal, I will kiss it - because that will be the reminder of the long battle that I fought and won against obesity.

12-21-2007, 08:12 PM
I am kinda hoping my youth saves me on this one... I'm only 22 years old, but I've been overweight more or less my whole life, ever since I was a kid. I got a little more slender in Jr. High/beginning on high school, but then continued to gain. I never did yo-yo dieting or anything either, so I don't think I've stressed my skin that way ... but I was at one point over 300lbs. I've always had really clear and beautiful skin though, so who knows.

12-22-2007, 11:35 PM
I'm glad you said that, Rakel, as I didn't know if it would be okay to point it out, but I was admiring your avatar photo which led me to your other pictures, and you certainly do have beautiful skin! Your face is radiant. :)

12-23-2007, 04:35 AM
redglitter -- thanks! :D I'm not usually the one that says it about myself, but people are constantly telling me that (they always comment on my skin, and my eyelashes ... apparently those are exceptionally long)

12-27-2007, 10:35 AM
I am kinda hoping my youth saves me on this one... I'm only 22 years old, but I've been overweight more or less my whole life, ever since I was a kid. I got a little more slender in Jr. High/beginning on high school, but then continued to gain. I never did yo-yo dieting or anything either, so I don't think I've stressed my skin that way ... but I was at one point over 300lbs. I've always had really clear and beautiful skin though, so who knows.

It very well could. my HW was around 250, and I'm 183 right now, so I've lost 67 lbs over the last 2 years, and only have a little more than 30 until i'm at the 100lb mark. I lost the initial 67lbs very slowly, and i exercise a LOT.
I currently have no loose skin, great muscle tone but i DO have a weird fat "lump" on my stomach that I know is going to be the last thing to go. it's not loose skin but it's like a funky fat deposit just over my bellybutton that makes everything i wear look like it's a size too small when it's not because it kind of hangs over my pants. now, looking back, the funky fat was the first thing that happened when i GAINED the weight, so i know that it will go eventually (i hope!!!) I'm losing the weight NOW and absolutely NOT giving up this time, though, because I don't want to have this battle in my 30's (i'm 28) .. it's hard enough now.

12-27-2007, 12:14 PM
There is a free skin reduction idea, If you donate your skin to burn victims
you get free Plastic surgery.....My best friend just had a free tummy tuck and see looks amazing....cost just meds:)

12-27-2007, 12:26 PM
Sandy, can you point me to a web site or hospital or doctor who does the free plastic surgery? I've always read that donation to burn victims for free plastic surgery is an urban legend (even the Shriners include something on their web site that says that donated skin isn't suitable for grafts) but if you personally know someone who did it, then it must be true. I'd like to include the information in our Weight Loss and Skin FAQs if I can find out more about it, so any help you can give me would be appreciated. :)

12-27-2007, 02:19 PM
Sure I will get her to give me all the info, the also use the skin for testing.........she gave them many pounds and the Dr. works out of Orlando Hosp.

12-27-2007, 03:55 PM
Sandy, can you point me to a web site or hospital or doctor who does the free plastic surgery? I've always read that donation to burn victims for free plastic surgery is an urban legend (even the Shriners include something on their web site that says that donated skin isn't suitable for grafts) but if you personally know someone who did it, then it must be true. I'd like to include the information in our Weight Loss and Skin FAQs if I can find out more about it, so any help you can give me would be appreciated. :)

I found this, I don't think it is free, but may be a starting point for those looking into it.


12-27-2007, 06:59 PM
Here is some more info on donating skin:

Can I donate excess skin to a skin bank?
I recently lost a great deal of weight and I have a lots of excess skin. Can I donate my excess skin to a skin bank to help burn patients? Will a tissue bank pay for my skin reduction surgery if I agree to donate my tissue?

These questions are asked quite often by individuals who have lost large amounts of weight and have excess skin folds. We appreciate your desire to donate. However, this kind of donation is unworkable. Allow me to explain why, and to give you an alternative.

Our tissue bank does not obtain skin from these patients for several reasons. First, this method of obtaining skin is cost prohibitive. The amount of transplantable tissue obtained from tissue reduction surgery is minimal when compared to the amount of tissue obtained from a cadaveric (deceased) tissue donor. The procurement costs would be much greater as it would require the services of doctors, nurses, anesthetists, and other health care professionals as well as the use of an operating room and other hospital services. Cadaveric donation requires only trained tissue recovery technicians, and they can procure tissue after the body has been sent to the morgue (rather than in an operating room), thus keeping expenses to a minimum.

Additionally, cadaveric donated tissue can be used for transplant soon after recovery (as soon as quality assurance testing is complete), but the FDA requires that tissues recovered from living donors must be placed into quarantine for six months. At the end of six months, all serologic testing (HIV and Hepatitis) must be repeated before that tissue can be used.

It is virtually impossible to obtain a skin graft from tissue than has been removed during tissue reduction surgery. The usual procedure for tissue reduction surgery involves the removal of skin and underlying attached tissues, but skin grafts used for transplant are only 15/1000 (0.015) of an inch thick and do not include these underlying tissues. Skin grafts for transplant are procured by the use of a surgical device called a dermatome, which peels off a very thin (0.015 inch), uniform layer of skin, and it only works on skin that is stretched taut over and firmly attached to muscles, such as in the back, arms, and legs. Very few people have an abdomen taut enough to permit skin tissue recovery. Skin folds (such as those removed when someone has lost a large amount of weight) lack the firm attachment to underlying tissues, and so the dermatome can't work properly.

I do not know of any tissue bank that would pay for a donor's tissue reduction surgical expenses for the purpose of obtaining skin for transplantation.

I would like to encourage you to be sure that your family knows you would like to donate your tissues upon death. Your gift can save lives and greatly reduce suffering. ( click here to learn more about skin and also learn about the tissue shortage).

Tom Taddonio
Director, University of Michigan Skin Bank

12-27-2007, 07:06 PM
Goal, I think the tissue and organ donations discussed in the site you linked to are for donations after the donor's death, unfortunately. My understanding has always been that skin grafts for burn patients come from cadavers (like on that site) or from synthetic skin. My plastic surgeon told me that our skin left over from weight loss is worthless from a medical perspective because it's stretched out and often scarred with stretch marks, so it's just disposed of after it's removed.

What's really unusual is that Sandy's friend not only donated her skin, but was paid for it with free surgeon and hospital services. I thought that organ donors (or their families) weren't compensated for donations?

Fiberlover, thanks for the quote. That's exactly what I've always read in my research (and I have researched this issue to death!) So you can see why I'm so intrigued by Sandy's story about her friend and am trying to find out more about it.

12-27-2007, 07:12 PM
She also told me it was for testing, not sure what kind, however I know she could never pay for the tummy tuck for herself, as she has 3 kids and is a waitress at Dennys......and is a single mother, so it was a life saver for her.

12-27-2007, 07:19 PM
Sandy, did she tell you which organization paid the surgeon and hospital fees for her? We have members here at 3FC who have lost huge amounts of weight (in some cases, several hundred pounds) and who are in desperate need of skin removal surgery but can't pay for it and insurance won't cover it. All my research hasn't uncovered a free route to plastic surgery before, so if you can get some more info, we can track this down. If it's legitimate, it would be an invaluable help out a lot of our fellow 3FC'ers. :)

12-27-2007, 07:34 PM
No I never really cared much as if you read my other posts, I would never have plastic surgery done...but thats just me.....

12-31-2007, 07:28 AM
Discovery Health had a story of Brandon a 16 yr old, that had gastric bypass, and he also donated 8 pounds of skin , they gave the name but did not really hear it.....