Body Changes after Bariatric Surgery
There are many positive changes after Bariatric surgery including improvement in diseases, decrease in chronic pain, and an increase in self-confidence. You will also notice significant changes in your body during your weight loss journey. The fat cells that hold up your skin are shrinking which causes a sagging or hanging of the skin. Most patients notice the biggest changes in their arms, stomach, and thighs. Exercise may help to build muscle underneath but it will not prevent gravity from affecting your skin.
If hanging of the skin is affecting your daily life and preventing you from completing activities of daily living or exercise it may be medically necessary to have the excess skin removed. Issues with odor and rashes between the skin folds are not uncommon and may be very uncomfortable and embarrassing.
Be sure to speak with your NP/Surgeon about issues with skin and rashes. Documenting occurrences is essential. You will notice that the sheets you fill out before seeing us include a question about rashes and space to comment. We recommend over the counter products as a first line treatment. If these are not effective there are prescription options available.
Insurance companies may cover removal of excess skin if it is medically necessary, documented, and you failed prescribed treatment. We have several Plastic Surgeons in the area that are Certified and familiar with treating our Bariatric patients. It is also helpful to see your Primary Care Provider or OB/GYN for documentation of issues related to excess skin.
Coverage often only includes the stomach area but there are always exceptions. Patients opt to have arms, breasts, legs or upper and lower body lifts as well. We suggest that our patients reach their weight loss goal and maintain their weight for 6 months before consulting a Plastic Surgeon. If you plan on becoming pregnant, once you have reached your goal, we suggest that you wait until after family planning before having plastic surgery.
Consults with Plastic Surgeons are generally at no charge. During your appointment they will review your medical history and take discreet photographs to submit to your insurance provider. Their staff will aide in the process for obtaining coverage.
Also know that Dr. Allison (our Psychiatrist) is available to discuss ways to cope with your changing body and the affects that it may have on your life and with your relationships.