Congratulations! You have lost significant weight due to gastric bypass surgery and are well on your way to a healthier and more vibrant you. You have more energy, are more active, and are probably enjoying wearing new fashions. But there’s one problem—you have a tremendous amount excess of lower abdominal skin (called a pannus) so you are still hiding your stomach at all costs. This can be very frustrating, especially after all you have accomplished.
Due to inadequate skin elasticity, massive weight loss often results in surpluses of skin. Besides being unsightly, excess skin can interfere with clothing and activity while also leading to skin irritation and breakdown. Fortunately, there are plastic surgical procedures designed to remove this skin excess and recontour problem areas.
Where you are in your weight loss journey will determine the type of procedure performed. In the initial stages after bariatric surgery, the excess skin (pannus) may simply be excised directly in an operation called a “panniculectomy.” This surgery is usually considered in patients with significant localized skin excess, who really need to lose more weight before a more definitive operation should be done.
When you are closer to your goal weight, a more complex surgery known as an abdominoplasty, where all the surplus skin from the belly button to the pubic area is removed, may be performed. This is commonly associated with tightening and repositioning the abdominal (rectus) muscles.
With greater weight loss and skin excess, the skin surplus is not limited to your stomach, but extends around your hips to your back. A circumferential abdominoplasty would then be appropriate to provide the smoothest contour.
Finally, a more extensive form of a circumferential abdominoplasty called a “body lift” may be done for the additional purpose of lifting your thighs and buttocks to give you the shape you have worked so hard to obtain.
To visit our cosmetic plastic surgery office in National Harbor, Maryland, serving Washington, DC, and Alexandria, Virginia, request a free consultation online or call the office at 866-BELLA 06.
By Michael F. Chiaramonte, MD, FACS, Bella Cosmetic Surgery