Excess skin is frequently caused by significant weight loss. It may also result from normal aging, prior surgery, pregnancy, or heredity. Excess skin folds can appear in many places on your body including your arms, legs, buttocks, and torso.
Sagging skin can keep you from fully enjoying your life. Eliminating excess skin may boost your comfort and self-confidence, enabling you to exercise more easily and improving the fit of your clothes. In some cases, excess skin can cause medical issues such as infection, rashes, and ulcers. Excess skin removal is a specialized subset of cosmetic surgery and should only be performed by board-certified or eligible plastic surgeons.
The doctors at Southwest Breast and Aesthetics in Phoenix, AZ are board-certified and trusted Southwest plastic surgeons. In addition to their elite-level technical skills, Drs. Tim Matatov and Joseph Zakhary consistently win praise from patients for their personal warmth and approachability. They encourage you to schedule a consultation at Southwest Breast and Aesthetics in Phoenix, AZ.
For many people, shedding a significant amount of weight is a tremendous accomplishment that yields wonderful physical, emotional, and lifestyle benefits.
But whether that weight was dropped through diet and exercise alone, or resulted from previous surgery, excess and sagging skin can be a troubling by-product. In some cases, the skin will retract on its own within a year of massive weight loss. But after that period additional natural skin retraction is very unlikely, making excess skin removal procedures an option for many.
Sagging skin can appear almost anywhere on the body. But following weight loss, it can be particularly evident and bothersome in the lower abdomen. While that skin is sometimes referred to as an “apron,” the medical term for it is the pannus. The surgical procedure to remove the pannus is called a panniculectomy. Other procedures involving the removal of excess skin include brachioplasty and thighplasty. A brachioplasty (or arm lift) removes sagging skin from the back of the upper arm. Thighplasty refers to the removal of loose skin from the thighs.
Good candidates for these procedures include patients with excess skin in these areas, and especially those whose excess skin is causing health problems such as skin infections and/or ulcers. You should be in overall good health and a non-smoker. Your weight should be stable for a full year before undergoing a panniculectomy. And it’s important to have realistic expectations from the surgery. If you have a chronic medical condition such as diabetes or cardiopulmonary disease, you may be a poor candidate for these procedures. Your doctor will help you determine if excess skin removal is medically necessary and safe for you.
All surgeries carry risks, including infection, bleeding, adverse reaction to anesthesia, and allergic reactions to medications or materials used in surgery. Scarring, nerve damage, and fluid buildup are among additional risks from panniculectomy.
Your doctor will carefully go over your medical history, including previous surgeries. You may undergo some lab tests like blood and urine analysis before your procedure is scheduled. Your doctor will ask you about all medications and supplements you are taking. You will likely be directed to stop using aspirin and any other medication that may promote bleeding for days or weeks before your surgery.
Your surgery will be performed at a hospital or another licensed surgical facility as either an inpatient or outpatient procedure. Follow your doctor’s instructions about when you should stop eating and drinking before your surgery.
Once you are on-site and checked in as a surgical patient, a nurse will record your vitals and you will be given your prescribed anesthesia. The length of your surgery depends on the procedure being performed and the technique selected. A panniculectomy could take as long as five hours. Your surgeon will cut out excess skin and fat using a scalpel or other instruments. Your incision will be closed with sutures, and thin tubes may be temporarily inserted under your skin to prevent fluid accumulation.
Following the procedure, you will be taken to a recovery area. When your body clears the anesthesia, you will be asked to walk a few steps. Depending on the extent of your procedure, you may be able to go home that day, or you may have to stay at the hospital for a day or two. Your incision will be covered with gauze bandages, and you will likely need to wear a compression garment to help support your healing abdomen. Make sure you have arranged for someone to drive you home and to help care for you for at least a few days.
You will have some swelling and bruising for a few days.
Your doctor will prescribe pain medication as needed. If you have drains, you’ll be given instructions for their care and operation. You’ll likely be able to return to work within four weeks, but you should avoid strenuous activity for up to six weeks. Your surgeon will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your healing and results and to remove sutures and drains as required. It may take three months or more for your swelling to subside and your wounds to completely heal.
The cost of your surgery will depend on the extent of the work done. Excess skin removal is often regarded as medically necessary, so your insurance may cover all or some of the costs. Procedures deemed purely cosmetic are not covered. You want the best for your body and spirit. Excess skin removal performed by the doctors and staff at Southwest Breast and Aesthetics in Phoenix, AZ may help you achieve your goals.
Your final results may not be apparent for six months or longer and it could take up to two years for your scars to fade. Most patients report significant improvement in their appearance, self-image, and enjoyment of life.
Your journey to better begins with a consultation at Southwest Breast and Aesthetics. Our plastic surgeons set the standards for plastic surgery through their innovative procedures and meticulous attention to detail. Discover a better experience by booking your consultation at Southwest Breast and Aesthetics today.