We get asked this question by a lot of people before they decide to go ahead with weight loss surgery. We always remind people that excess skin is a small issue when compared to the health risks and life limiting implications of obesity. It’s certainly the lesser of two evils but it's understandable that people don’t want to trade one problem for another.
The truth is that it's impossible to tell how the body will react, some will have excess skin and some won’t. Whether you will or won’t will vary according to factors like your age, how long you have carried your excess weight, whether you have yo-yo dieted, whether you have had children and just the general nature of your skin.
The good news is that there are things you can do to reduce the chances of excess skin.
We spoke to Sam Dickson, senior Bariatric Nurse at Healthier Weight. In her vast experience of working with weight loss surgery patients, she’s met many patients with excess skin. Here is her advice:
"It's inevitable that some people will be left with excess skin after their weight loss. If they have lost a lot of weight, quickly the likelihood is greater. Here’s what I recommend to patients who want to reduce the risk:
- Follow the post-operative dietary guidelines closely.
a) Keep well hydrated by drinking lots of water,
b) Keep a high protein content in your diet
c) Take a multi vitamin supplement every day
- Try and lose weight steadily. A loss of a 1-2 pounds per week is a safe and effective rate of loss that also gives time for the body to adjust to your changing shape.
- Take regular exercise, in line with the guidance given, to build your muscle mass.
If, despite following these guidelines, you still have excess skin don’t worry, there is always the possibility of having surgery to remove it. Excess skin removal surgery however is a very specialist area and you need to have your surgery with a specialist surgeon who is used to treating patients after weight loss surgery. We don’t do this type of surgery, as we’re specialists in weight loss, but we’ll be pleased to make a referral to a good skin removal surgeon if you need one."
If you are worried about the cost of this it's worth considering the money you’ll save on food. Patients in clinic will often talk about the large sums they have saved on takeaways and food in general after surgery. These savings could fund a skin removal procedure if you need one.
If you have any worries about excess skin, either before or after your surgery, call our team.