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-   -   Weight Loss And Skin FAQs (https://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/body-image-issues-after-weight-loss/36040-weight-loss-skin-faqs.html)

Meg 01-31-2004 08:58 AM

Weight Loss And Skin FAQs

luckycharm 01-31-2004 09:55 AM

HI Meg

Wow what a great job you have done here. This must have taken a lot of work. I just want you to know that I appreciate what you have done here. It has been a great help for me to be able to read this.


Have a great Saturday.


MrsJim 01-31-2004 11:47 AM

My experience with plastic surgery...in a nutshell
I've posted about this before but most of my post-op posts got torched during the Big Crash. :( So here ya go again... :)

In November 2002, I came to the conclusion (after talking with Meg - see the huge Loose Skin thread which has been moved to this forum) that:

      So that's when I decided to research it further. I went on a couple of consults - the first one was with a major university hospital - I was trying to save money initially and had read about teaching hospitals doing the surgery at a discount (a medical student in training, supervised by a 'real' surgeon). It only took the consult to find out that was NOT the way I wanted to do it. Meg's said in the past that a plastic surgeon is an artist - just like if you were having your portrait painted, or your home redecorated/remodeled, you would want to have a good rapport with the surgeon who works on you - KWIM? (besides, the money I would have saved wouldn't have amounted to much anyway...and they did admit they had a waiting list).

      My second (and last) consult was with the PS who did my mother's breast reconstruction after her double masectomy. She's highly regarded here in the Bay Area (and that's really saying something since we have a plethora of PS's here!) and we just hit it off right away. Like I said...rapport.

      So I had two problem areas that were bugging me:

      1) Even at a size 4/6, I had 'thunder thighs' including saddlebags that never went away...remember that Meg said once fat cells develop, they're there to stay unless you have them removed surgically (liposuction).

      2) My hangy tummy. :(

      I didn't have the 'fundage' to do both procedures at once so I basically picked the area that was bugging me the most - at the time it was my thighs. In February, I had 5000 cc's of fat cells removed from my thighs via liposuction. While I was delighted with the results, I could see immediately that my stomach now looked MUCH worse - more prominent since the saddlebags and all were history.

      On December 8th, I went into the surgery center and had a full tummy tuck with muscle repair (where the abs are sewn back together like a corset). The surgery took 3 1/2 hours and I went home the same day (for both procedures actually).

      For the liposuction, I took a week off work; for the TT, I took two weeks off.

      Pain? Actually I would call it for the most part, more of 'discomfort'. Of course you have to remember that I was on DRUGS. :dizzy: At least for the first 3-4 days post op. After that, an occasional Valium or Tylenol PM was fine. I am a major pain weenie (my dentist has to give me a Valium to calm me down before she injects the novocaine!) but aside from a couple of times where I was reading/watching TV and something funny would come on (warning: do NOT watch "South Park" during TT recovery!) I was okay. Except for the fact that I couldn't run, jog, lift weights or horseback ride for six weeks following the surgery - but it was well worth it. (for the lipo I was on the DL for four weeks).

      Am I happy I did it? was it worth the $$ and time off, etc? ABSOLUTELY!

      diphthong 01-31-2004 12:29 PM

      Thanks for the excellent job, gals. ;)


      Mel 05-29-2004 07:44 AM

      And another plastic surgery experience
      I've been a goal weight for 2 1/2 years, and lost about 50 pounds. I carried most of my weight around my abdomen, and had had 2 very large pregnancies. During my first, I ballooned from 113 pounds (I'm 5'3") to 165 pounds in about 4 months. My dd was in a bizarre position in utero- we called her "torpedo babY" to give you an idea. After her birth, my skin was shredded, and never recovered no mater what weight I was. I gradually gained weight for the next 20 years and had 1 more full-term pregnancy, reaching my high of about 182 during the summer of 2001. I'd finally had it with the way I felt and looked. When I started losing weight, I did it for a combination of health and vanity reasons. Health to start with, but as it started coming off and I achieved a healthy weight, I wanted to look better and better. I wanted my body to reflect the hard work and exercise that I did.

      I thought I lost the weight the "right" way. Good, nutritious food, cardio, and weighlifting. I was well muscled. My legs, arms, back and chest were tight and strong, but nothing seemed to help to little extra fat and saggy, droopy, stretched out skin on my abdomen. I had stretch marks almost to my breasts, and despite the strongest abs in the gym, I would never see them. I felt like a total failure, since I'd done it the RIGHT way, guzzled water, rubbed lotions on my skin, taken my EFA's, massaged my skin with all manner of creams and loofahs, and nothing helped.

      In my late forties, my skin was not going to magically spring back to it's 24 year old state. Heck, it didn't do that when I was 27, why should I expect it to do that at 47? I spent two more years trying to get rid of that skin through competition diets, brutal exercise routines, and a lot of crying at mirrors. Conversations with other maintainers and a lot of reading convinced my finally that I'd done nothing wrong other than having 2 wonderful children and being overweight.

      After much soul searching about vanity, cost, quality of life, and risk taking for vanity, I finally started researching plastic surgery to remove the skin and a little ab fat that wasn't moving no matter how lean I got the rest of my body. I still wasn't sure I'd go through with it, up to the point when they put the IV in my hand! The surgeon I finally picked, after interviewing 3, decided that I needed a full tummy tuck, with a lot of muscle repair. "Torpedo Baby" had stretched and torn my abs, to the point that although they were now very strong, no amount of crunches would ever give me a flat mid-section.

      Today I'm 3 weeks post-op. It was not a terribly painful procedure, although I did have it done in a hospital with an overnight stay. My Doc is extremely cautious, and that was the only way he would do tummy tucks. It cost a lot, none covered by insurance. Recovery has not been a straight-line experience: some days I feel ready to take on the world, other days I just want to lie on the couch. My scar is aready looking pretty good, and my clothes fit SOOO much better without having to stuff in a roll of skin.

      I went back to work after 2 weeks. I'm a personal trainer and am on my feet most of the day, and usually lifting weights all day. My clients have been wonderful about racking their own weights this week, but I do wish I'd been able to take another week off; I was exhausted, and had some days where I was painfully swollen by the evening. I've started very light or just body weight workouts for myself, but can't do abs or lift heavy for another 3 weeks.

      Would I do it again? YES! resoundingly, YES! I look in the mirror and even though I'm still swollen in the ab area, I see the body I've worked for. I'm told that it takes 6 months to see the final result, so I can't wait! 4 months post-op will mark my 50th birthday, and I can't wait to see where I'll be then.


      Sweater Girl 07-15-2004 09:04 AM

      I am not 100% sure if I am allowed to post this, but this is an article from cbc.ca and I partially saw this news story last night.


      QUEBEC CITY - A Quebec City woman is at odds with the province's health board over the cost of removing 50 pounds of excess skin on her body. Plastic surgery can remove it, but while Quebec's health insurance board paid for the weight-loss surgery, it won't pay to remove the skin. The province considers it an esthetic procedure.Quebec's health insurance board says there has to be a medical reason for it to cover the cost.

      "Either physical or physiological. It doesn't matter which," said spokesperson Nathalie Pitre.

      The doctor who performed Marin's surgery believes the excess skin poses a medical problem.

      "Depending on the patient, you can have a medical skin problem and a social problem if you think about wiping and cleaning yourself," said Dr. Simon Biron.

      Marin says she has difficulty walking and is embarrassed by her appearance.

      "It sickens me. I sicken me," she said. "They started this, why won't they finish it?"

      The province has approved skin-removal surgery for 209 people.

      Marin says she wants her case reviewed and is prepared to take her battle to court.

      Written by CBC News Online staff


      It would be interesting to see how this pans out.

      boiaby 07-23-2004 05:00 PM

      Hey Meg!
      I've got a question about the arm surgery you had. How do the scars look now that itís been a while? If I ever get the chance to have mine done I'd hate to still be too self-conscious about how they look to go sleeveless. So are the scars very noticeable?


      almostheaven 08-21-2004 11:48 AM

      I'm needle phobic, so surgery frightens me (says this former open heart patient). ;) But if someone dropped the kinda dough in my lap it'd take, I'm thinking I'd jump at the chance for something around the abs and buttocks. It's not bad unless I bend forward. :( I concentrate on that area in exercise. But now:


      3. Are there any creams or lotions that I can rub on my skin that will make it tighten up? No.
      Guess I can throw out my firming cream and cocoa butter. LOL

      I use lotions morning and night and do lots of situps, crunches, leg lifts and the like on a daily basis. I've been overweight since about 1985, over 200 pounds since about 1989/90. I keep hoping I can tighten it up some more, cause it doesn't look like my rich uncle will be getting out of the poorhouse anytime soon.

      square dancer 10-18-2004 11:28 PM

      Congrats on your weight loss! Where did you have your surgery done & who was your surgeon? Thanks.

      bluedaisy91 10-26-2004 06:46 AM

      Do you know how long I have been looking for this exact info??? I have just lost 167 pounds thru diet and exercise. I am now at 155 and let me tell you. My arms are what bother me the most. I don't care about the tummy or the non-existant boobs but the arms is what I want taken care of, it's awful. It makes me feel like all of the work I have done was for nothing because I don't know what looked worse. I know that it's not a matter of looking perfect but feeling healthy and that's what I am reveling in now. I have never felt so good in my life. I'm 32 and have 2 boys 4 and 1 yr old and live in NW Pennsylvania.
      Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      LKTS 11-17-2004 03:45 PM

      I don't know if any of you caught it, but last weekend there was a show on Discovery Health about plastic surgery after massive weight loss. Usually I don't watch those shows, but this one seemed pretty well informed. It reminded me of this thread, actually. One lady had lost a couple hundred pounds after a gastric bypass and had a whole-body tuck; another lady had had a very large pregnancy and had a tummy tuck, and another guy was in the process of losing a lot of weight and had an 'apron' of skin and fat removed.

      Let me tell you, it made me admire those of you that have had these things done even more! I completely understand how frustrating it must be to lose this huge amount of weight and then have these problems which are only solved by major surgery. Holy cow.

      MrsJim 12-19-2004 01:59 PM

      Regarding excess skin - I've seen this posted NUMEROUS times at other forums and thought this needed to be addressed here for reference...

      With so many people losing a great deal of weight and having to deal with excess skin as a result...for some reason the 'buzz' is that burn centers (such as Shriners) will perform free or discounted plastic surgery if you donate the excess skin...

      Unfortunately...'taint so.

      Here's an article which I found here that pretty much sums that up.


      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.

      Tom Taddonio
      Director, University of Michigan Skin Bank

      fatgirlnomore 11-09-2005 10:07 PM

      For those of you who had surgeries, are the numbers quoted at the beginning of this thread pretty accurate?!?!

      Mel 11-10-2005 07:26 AM

      They are a few years old and cost varies a lot by where you live.

      Ready2ShedLBS 03-31-2006 02:08 PM

      Ive had my boobs "refluffed" :lol: You know how after you lose alot of weight they just become flaps of skin, so I just got them filled up w/ implants. They are beautiful, I love them love them love them. My boobs cost $4600 thats with a 10 year warranty. Next is a tummy tuck but we are waiting because we cant decide if there are more babies in the future or not. I cant wait. That will be the last thing i need to fix and after 100lbs and 2 babies, 1 csection, i definitely need one.

      FairyWinx 06-23-2006 05:58 PM

      Another great thread. I am one of those people who has excess skin after my weight loss. I've intentionally waited this long in order to see what my skin was going to do. I recently saw a plastic surgeon who said my skin is in great condition and he said I need a tummy tuck, lipo on my back flanks, and a breast lift and augmentation. Unfortunately my wallet says "HA!HA! You want how much!" LOL!! I am hoping to get at least the tummy tuck. I see another PS next week to see if I can have it covered by my insurance. I'm not holding my breath. ;) I have met others who are lucky and their skin bounces back great. Too bad we aren't all so fortunate. *sigh* I've gone from a size 26 to a size 12 but I'm in a size 12 to accomodate all the skin on my abdomen. I can't wait to see what size I will be. At this weight in highschool I was a size 8. It would be nice to be a single digit again. :)

      lilybelle 06-27-2006 11:42 PM

      I had wrongly thought that I didn't have much extra skin. However, my DH had the video camera out the other night and I was shocked at the loose skin in areas that I couldn't really see very well. I knew my arms were flappy and breasts unusually saggy. Now I see that I have extra skin on my back, hips, tummy and thighs. I have lost 87 lbs. and am 46 yrs. old, so this should not be such a surprise. But it is. I am going to save money first for a breast lift because this bothers me the worst. Next, I want my upper thighs and hips done. I don't think any PS would do a tummy tuck due to multiple hernia repairs with mesh. I could consult and find out. Does anyone Know?

      shrinkingchica 07-05-2006 04:57 PM

      For those in the know......... can the swelling caused by ps fluctuate a bit day by day or week by week? Because it seems as if I "gained" 3lbs overnight. I know that in the end the swelling all settles down and goes away (though I know it takes a full 6mos to a year to do that) but I just was wondering if it is normal to have "good" and "bad" swelling days.
      Any takers?

      Mel 07-05-2006 05:32 PM

      The swelling comes and goes with activity, diet, humidity.... Some of my worst swelling was at about a year and a half. I'm over two years from surgery and still feel that my abs swell when I do cardio or eat salty food.


      rebelridergirl 07-23-2006 10:09 PM

      I'm just curious. How did you all finance PS? Can you make payments or are home equity/401k's the best way to go? I know that I will have TONS of loose skin on my chest, arms, abs, and upper thighs. I'm just thinking that I ought to prepare myself for the financial aspects.

      tucsonchris 07-24-2006 04:51 PM

      After losing the weight (80 pounds and maintaining it for two years), I began to look into a tummy tuck. I found a good doctor, a lady doctor. I paid for half the cost and my dad (who was so proud of my weight loss, covered the rest--I am so blessed). But my doctor does do payment plan. I think most plastic surgerons have a payment plan.

      So check around and see, it is no more than buying a car on credit. But you look so much better in your jeans LOL LOL

      By the way, I had a full lower body lift done--the cost was $9600 and worth every penny.


      beautifulone 02-25-2007 11:08 PM

      I don't want to sound silly.. but HOW does loose skin feel? I think I can imagine it, but then I wonder if I actually can. And how much loose skin is loose skin? A wrinkle, a whole wad that sags or hangs? I know it varies.. but what is typically loose skin, how much of it at the least?

      I'm just thinking.. I'm in my early 20s, and this isn't my primal concern about loose skin, but I just wonder what it's like in terms of physical intimacy? Especially with a new partner. A serious relationship partner not just some fling, but new partner nonetheless... I can just imagine feeling so incredibly self-conscious.

      shrinkingchica 02-27-2007 04:45 PM

      How does it feel??? Like normal skin, only more of it without any fat or muscle to fill it out. Usually you can pinch an inch of pure skin off a part of your body, for some it is much more.

      canadian mom 02-27-2007 05:20 PM

      For those who have had the extra skin taken from legs and arms.

      I was wondering how the scars have healed anyone who I have seen(on tv not in real life) have this done has had infections and really bad scaring so I am a little timmid about these procedures

      canadian mom 02-27-2007 06:22 PM

      Thanks Meg

      Well it will be a few years away but it was something I was always wondering. I have lost weight the old fashion way <cals in vs cals out> also calorie counting lately. I will be saking those questions but it always nice to have an idea before hand. Seing all the problems were scaring myself away from it and I know once I am done losing it will probably be a an optiom that I will be doing. If I could aford right now I would go for a consult to see how close I was to getting it done.

      canadian mom 02-27-2007 06:40 PM

      I do not know any I would have to go to my doc I think. Thanks for the advice

      canadian mom 02-27-2007 06:42 PM

      another question how close to"goal"weight were you when you had sugery?

      aphil 03-04-2007 01:58 PM

      I have a question for those who have had tummy tucks...how is your mobility in your abdominal area?
      I don't know if any of you took gymnastics or remember when kids did "backbends" when they were little? Is there enough mobility left to do that after a tummy tuck? How is your sense of feeling, and control in your abdominals?
      I have extra skin in my belly area, from having three huge babies, and the gaining/losing weight after each of them. I would love to have a tummy tuck after I reach goal this time-since there are no more babies-but I am afraid of it damaging my career.
      Any thoughts?

      shrinkingchica 03-04-2007 03:49 PM

      Complete mobility Aphil! I like streching by doing yoga backbend type poses and it took a few mos (maybe 3) before I could start doing them again but everything is totally fine......in fact maybe better as your ab muscles are brought (sewn) together after the seperation that happens during weight gain and/or pregnancy.

      aphil 03-04-2007 05:05 PM

      Good to know, thank you. That is what I was really worried about-because I have to maintain very firm control of my ab muscles, and have lots of flexibility in that area. :D

      Tristesse 03-06-2007 09:24 AM


      I'm just thinking.. I'm in my early 20s, and this isn't my primal concern about loose skin, but I just wonder what it's like in terms of physical intimacy? Especially with a new partner. A serious relationship partner not just some fling, but new partner nonetheless... I can just imagine feeling so incredibly self-conscious.
      Poor lighting :lol:
      And nice lingere that's (at the most) semi-sheer.

      shrinkingchica 05-28-2007 06:38 PM


      In another forum someone inquired into getting procedures done abroad because it can be cheaper. So, I thought that I might provide this informative link to those who are considering that option. :)

      (And I thought it would make a good addition to our sticky here. ;)).

      cora150892 06-03-2007 11:24 AM

      Im getting more and more worried about loosing weight because of this factor of I could look worse afterwards I know im not massivly over waight but having surgery freaks me out.

      WaterRat 06-05-2007 01:12 PM

      Cora, I don't know how old you are or how long you've been overweight, both of which play into how your skin will react. As you note, you're not as overweight as some and that will also be a positive factor. You're still better off healthwise to lose the weight though. :)

      moxiesd 07-03-2007 06:10 PM

      I would like to know about the pain management, and recovery time. I guess I would already have had surgeries, but I am a true chicken when it comes to pain. Also, I don't really trust doctors......I know it wouldn't be possible to have it done close to home....(This hospital kills about as many patients as it helps!!!!!!).

      shrinkingchica 07-03-2007 07:54 PM

      Pain and recovery time vary from person to person and also depend on the type of surgery.

      I didn't think it was so painful, more uncomfortable than anything else since I had restricted movement in the areas which were operated on. I can say that at 2 weeks out from all of them I felt fine and couldn't believe that I had just had surgery a couple of weeks beforehand.

      ggmugsy 10-11-2007 11:28 AM

      WOW! Great thread!

      I saw the Discovery Health Channel show in June about removing excess skin and was freaked by it.

      As I understand what the Dr.'s said in the program, a lot of the reason skin doesn't continue to shrink is because of lack of blood flow to the skin.

      My plan to increase bloodflow to my skin as I lose weight is to regularly use salt and/or sugar scrubs. They exfoliate, moisturize and increase bloodflow to the skin. I have NO MEDICAL REASON THIS WILL WORK, I'm just following my gut.

      After reading Meg's post I also think I'll get started on a program of vitamin C and bioflavonoids. It can't hurt!!

      Koren Michelle 12-12-2007 01:12 AM

      I have extra skin in the stomach area and probably need some sort of breast reconstruction. I was much more obsessed with this before I met my current partner. He loves my body as is, and actually thinks I should gain some weight (gotta love Latin men). I am totally scared to get any type of plastic surgery although I HATE the sight of my stomach, but also whether or not I will have children is a concern for me.

      wishes 12-19-2007 07:35 PM

      awesome thread, absolutly fantastic, answered a lot of my questions :)

      pamatga 03-11-2008 04:34 PM

      I totally agree with wishes!
      i have spent the past three and a half hours reading all of the extra links and the FAQs as well. I can honestly say that this was one issue that had NOT crossed my mind.

      I think what you have done, Meg, Mel and Chica, et al, is clarify a lot of the misinformation that surrounds this issue. I always thought my biggest problem was just losing the weight since that has been my biggest problem for so long.

      I will admit that when I first read some of these threads I felt intimidated by the prospect of having a worse looking body than I started out with but I am also a person who does like to be informed when I am making a decision and this is a huge decision. Who knew??? I know that I didn't!

      Thanks again. I am looking at my 401K in an entirely different light right now. Hmmmmmm, what will be the first.

      I would like to have a boob lift even before I hit my goal weight. I thought that might be one of my "non-food" treats to myself when I hit around 185 lbs or so. I'll let you know if I end up doing that.

      Again, thanks for all the hard work that went into this very informative thread.

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