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Just Underwent Major Weight Loss? What about All That Extra Skin

Fifteen years ago, Kelly Coffey was almost twice her current size and had very little self-confidence. Her weight yo-yoed dangerously over the years until she crossed 300 pounds and she decided to undergo gastric bypass surgery at age 23 in. She hoped that the procedure would spare her the weight roller coaster ride her mom went through for decades. She witnessed her mom’s disappointment in going back to the weight she started with, over and over again, feeling that all her efforts were wasted. And Coffey wanted none of it.

But after having the weight-loss surgery done and reducing her weight by 160 pounds, she gained a lot of it back and eventually settled in at the healthy weight she enjoys now. Coffey now had to consider another surgery, cosmetic surgery to remove the excess skin left behind from her weight loss. She chose to undergo a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty to get rid of the extra skin.

Many people are now seeking methods to lose the extra skin and want to reshape their bodies after they have lost a significant amount of weight. This is because gastric bypass surgery has made it possible to have safe and sustainable weight loss. But another side to quick and massive weight loss (think 50 to 100 pounds), is sagging, drooping and unsightly skin, which just does not go away with a proper diet or exercise. Apart form playing psychologically on a person’s mind, these loose folds of skin can also lead to infections, rashes and for some, even immobility. Because people have had massive weight loss, they would want to show off their new bodies in whatever clothes they wish, but with excess skin, they are forced to hide their bodies, as they are ashamed of what others might think of them. A compression garment can quickly become burdensome, but thankfully, there are other options out there. Here are a few expert tips to help check what suits you the best:

Go easy on yourself

Congratulations on losing all that weight and even managing to keep it all off. It’s like you have beat the odds to regain control over your health and significantly reduced the chances of developing obesity related diseases such as Type II diabetes and heart disease. It’s a bigger achievement than just a few folds of extra skin. Think of it as a battle scar you had acquired when you lost all that weight. And battle scars are nothing to be ashamed of.

No regrets

There is absolutely no point in analyzing what you could have done differently during your weight loss efforts, which would have minimized the appearance of sagging skin. A misconception is that losing weight gradually lessens the chances of developing loose skin. This is not true as doctors say that your genetics, age, weight fluctuations etc. determine how much extra skin you would have.

Know what options are available

Strength training has to be the safest and cheapest way to reduce extra skin. Weight-lifting is a godsend for sculpting the back and arms into the desired shape. Those who have lost >30 lbs of weight, should consider dermatological options, with radiofrequency tightening being a popular one. Stretch marks can be dealt with, with the help of microdermabrasion treatment or regular prescription creams. But the most effective (and extreme) way of getting rid of the excess skin from any part of your body is plastic surgery, where you can opt for body reshaping or complete removal of excess skin.

Find experts to consult

It would be highly beneficial for you to consult with a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon to find what treatment (or combination) would be the best for you. Surgery on a formerly overweight or obese person is more riskier and needs special surgery related skill sets. For instance, some patients need to be nutrient stable before the surgery to ensure that there is no delay in the healing of wounds. Also, because most of these procedures are not covered by insurance, it is best to begin consulting a surgeon early on during the weight loss process, so as to plan ahead and save some money.

Manage your expectations

There are trade-offs and risks in every option. There is the financial burden of the procedure/surgery one has to deal with, apart from the scarring and a month or more of recovery time. Many of the people who have undergone these procedures say that they may never do it again, now knowing what to expect. No amount of plastic surgery or cosmetic procedures can make you feel happy about how you look if you treat yourself harshly. In the end, your happiness lies with you.

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