Loose Skin After Weight Loss Surgery

Posted by: Kim Hembree

Weight loss surgery has become a great way to fight obesity. Many people struggle with losing weight solely through diet and exercise, so it is wonderful that there is another option. Weight loss surgery patients experience fast weight loss with bariatric surgery, which is wonderful because you are able to receive immediate gratification. However, often loose skin comes with this fast weight loss. So, why does loose skin happen and is there anything you can do to prevent it? Let’s talk about it.

Loose skin happens as a result from being obese for a long time. Your skin was stretched out while you were obese and it takes awhile for it to bounce back after weight loss. The longer it was stretched out, the less likely it is to bounce back after weight loss surgery. I like to think of it like a balloon. When you first hold a balloon, it is really small and tight. When you blow it up, it obviously gets bigger. Then once it is deflated, it never really goes back to the original size and is instead really loose. Now, I am not trying to compare you to a loose balloon, but I am trying to be realistic about the situation. It’s normal that loose skin happens after extreme weight loss, especially through bariatric surgery where it happens very quickly.

Having loose skin can make you self-conscious. It’s hard because as weight loss patients we have invested all of this time and effort into losing weight, but we are still stuck with loose skin. It can affect your confidence and it can even cause health issues such as rashes and yeast infections when the loose skin rubs against other parts of the body. It can also make it extremely hard to get in shape because you always have the extra weight on skin off you. This can affect your overall body image because it really does feel like you just aren’t finished with the journey.

So, is there anything you can do to prevent it? Honestly, not really. There are creams out there that swear they can prevent loose skin, but the truth is there’s not much you can do. Working out and toning your muscles does help, but it won’t completely fix it. Plastic surgery is really the only true way to completely get rid of the loose skin, but the problem is plastic surgery isn’t covered by insurance and not many people can dish out $30-50k. There are some people who are able to have partial coverage from insurance if they can prove it is medically necessary (e.g. explaining how the loose skin causes severe rashes).

Some people are completely fine with the loose skin, while others can’t handle it and find a way to have surgery done. Although I don’t think I will feel completely done until I have plastic surgery, one thing for sure is that I would much rather have my loose skin than be 400 pounds. If you are scared to have bariatric surgery because of the loose skin, remember that. It is so much more than what you look like. You are getting healthier and stronger and becoming a better version of you. It will take time, but you will figure out what you need for your individual journey.

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