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Plastic Surgery After Extreme Weight Loss

After extreme weight loss, many patients are left with excess skin. Dr. Samuel Lin, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, answers some common questions about the need for plastic surgery after a successful bariatric procedure.

1. I am having weight loss surgery. Will I need plastic surgery as well?

Often, depending on the amount of weight one loses over time or following a weight loss procedure, the skin that is left over can become loose and create folds. The folds of skin may need to be removed or contoured following weight loss. Depending on the individual, some patients who lose even 20-30 pounds may begin to notice "extra" skin that develops in different areas of the body. Typically, patients may be candidates once they have achieved a stable weight for several months before body contouring procedures.

2. What are the most common areas of the body to need contouring-type procedures?

The most common areas are the abdomen or tummy area, breast/chest area in males and females, buttock region, lower back, arms, legs, and face/neck area.

3. How long after my WLS is it safe to have more surgery (such as plastic surgery?)

Typically, once weight has stabilized for 3-4 months and individuals are medically stable, one may be a candidate for surgery after weight loss, such as body contouring surgery.

4. What are the risks of this type of plastic surgery? What factors should I consider?

Some of the usual risks related to any surgery include bleeding, infection, need for additional surgery, delayed wound healing, and blood clots. All of these should be carefully considered before undergoing any surgery.

5. What generally is the outcome of these types of procedures?

Once patients have recovered and healed from surgery, many state that they feel more mobile and less confined. The often comment that they can now wear clothing they couldn't before, and do activities that they did not feel were before body contouring surgery.

For many of our patients, body contouring surgery, or surgery after weight loss, completes a long journey. They lost the weight and then the "extra" skin that may have been limiting their daily activities.

For appointments with Dr. Lin, call 617-632-7369.

Contact Information

Weight Loss Surgery Center
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Shapiro Clinical Center, 3rd Floor
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215