After having undergone gastric sleeve surgery, many patients would be left with sagging skin especially after a dramatic and rapid weight loss. Post-bariatric patients would oftentimes resort to having plastic surgery or cosmetic surgery in order to improve skin contour postoperatively. While this is not a requirement, many patients would decide outright to consult with a plastic surgery specialist to see their options.
Plastic Surgery – A Necessity?
Aside from aesthetic purposes, having plastic surgery right after gastric sleeve bypass is deemed necessary as it inhibits movement and function of patients. The skin does not automatically snap back right into place following gastric sleeve surgery which is precisely why many patients find this mandatory. The excess fatty folds of the skin could interrupt with movement and will also limit your wardrobe options. In addition, this could also be very disruptive of daily activities as it can cause skin irritation, rashes, and other medical problems.
The excess skin though is temporary. Expect to see some changes and improvement on the appearance of your skin in a span of 6 to 18 months following gastric sleeve bypass. Skin appearance though depends on different factors such as genetics, age, lifestyle choices, and the amount of weight you were able to lose postoperatively. You can also try to conceal the excess skin while recovering from gastric sleeve bypass like wearing compression garments which are readily available online. Dealing with loose skin after gastric sleeve surgery doesn’t have to weigh you down.
Plastic Surgical Procedure Options
Following gastric bypass surgery, you have the following postoperative plastic surgical options to choose from:
Brachioplasty – Also referred to as the “Arm Lift”, which seeks to get rid of the excess flab hanging on your arms. An incision is made on the upper arms to be able to reposition the tissues to create a well-toned appearance.
Lower Body Lift – This surgical procedure is most commonly used to remove excess fatty deposits and skin from the flanks, lower back, buttocks, hips, and abdomen. A circumferential incision is made to remove the remaining skin and tissue. These are also tightened to reveal a much firmer and well-contoured appearance. This is recommended to be combined with liposuction and abdominoplasty.
Thigh Lift – This is recommended to be performed in conjunction with liposuction for a more smoother appearance. This helps deal with loose flab that can irritate the skin and cause rashes and chaffing. Incisions are made to lift and firm the thigh area to reveal silkier and smoother skin.
Should you decide to opt for plastic surgery, it is very important that you choose a board-certified and experienced plastic surgeon who has expertise with handling post-bariatric cases. Most plastic surgery experts would recommend to wait for at least 18 months after gastric sleeve bypass before undergoing plastic surgery although you can have yourself checked to see if you can go for it before that time. The good news is that plastic surgery could be covered by Medicare or other medical insurance when the removal of excess breast and abdominal fat is due to skin rashes and hygiene purposes.
But, the arms and extremities may not be covered by Medicare as these may be considered as “cosmetic” or “aesthetic” by the insurer. You can ask referral from your bariatric surgeon with competent plastic surgeons who can do a followup surgery on you.