Would Exercise Help Tighten Loose Chest Skin After Weight Loss? (photo)

I lost over 80 pounds in the past 2 years which left me with loose skin especially around my stomach and chest. I've already went through with a tummy tuck operation with happy results but decided not to go with the chest lift because of the noticeable scaring with my shirt off. I'm now considering the surgery but before I do I'd like to know if weight lifting would help tighten up the skin around my chest and make it look less "man boobish". Any advice or own experience would help. Thanks!

Doctor Answers 24

Will exercise tighten skin?

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Thanks for your question and photo. Congrats on the weight loss. I do not think that exercise will help your breast skin to shrink. I think you will need at least a peri-areolar skin reduction for decent results. Make sure you see someone who performs gynecomastia surgery frequently. Goo luck.

Excess Skin on Pectoral Area After Weight Loss

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Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Would Exercise Help Tighten Loose Chest Skin After Weight Loss?

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Hi MacbookproYo,

Thank you for the post and the photos. Congratulations on losing the weight. Based on the photos, I do not think you will get noticeable skin tightening with exercise alone. Even though you can increase the bulk of your pectoralis muscles with exercise, it would not be enough.  That being said, a physical exam would be necessary to confirm this.


Dr. Dadvand

Babak Dadvand, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Would Exercise Help Tighten Loose Chest Skin After Weight Loss? (photo)

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Exercising to increase the bulk of your pectoralis muscles can help take up some of the loose skin.  It may never completely resolve the loose skin issue.  Only surgery will do that.  Good luck and be safe.

John T. Nguyen, MD, FACS, FICS
Double Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

John Nguyen, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Skin tightening

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Nice job on losing so much weight! Unfortunately, this loose skin can only be dramatically and effectively improved with surgery. 

Would exercise help tightened loose chest skin after weight

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Congratulations on your 80 pound weight loss this is a significant accomplishment. Congratulations also on undergoing reconstructive plastic surgery after your weight loss. I think it will be very difficult to exercise your chest and tighten your chest skin. Your chest skin has been distended and then has attempted to recoil. I think it will be very difficult to exercise or coax the skin into contracting more. Also, I think if you developed pectoralis major muscles comparable to bodybuilders, that your breast skin would still hang. Therefore, unfortunately, I would suggest a formal male breast reduction. For the excess breast skin and fat you have shown in your pictures, I would suggest breast skin and fat excision and relocation of the nipple areolar complex. Typically, male breast reduction scars heal very well over time. Compression, silica gel and silicon strips all contribute to a final healthy scar. Congratulations on your weight-loss and good luck on your reconstructive plastic surgery journey.


Dr. Katzen

J. Timothy Katzen, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 254 reviews

Surgery, not exercise best solution for loose skin

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Exercise indirectly and to a small degree by increasing underlying muscle bulk. You can not exercise skin or return its lost elasticity and therefore you will need to reduce the excess skin for best results. I use a technique as do other plastic surgeons so that the final scar is at the junction of the brown/white border of your areola to camouflage your scars

Would Exercise Help Tighten Loose Chest Skin After Weight Loss?

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Exercise will not tighten skin, and you would have to develop huge pectoral muscles to even begin to fill out the excess skin. 

The surgery can often be done with a circular incision around the areola, and another incision in what is now the breast fold. Although these are visible, they improve over the course of a year, and almost certainly are less unattractive than overhanging tissue that is present. 

Thanks, and best wishes. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Skin Removal Necessary

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Thank you for your question.  Based on your photos, skin reduction will be necessary to improve the contour of the chest.  This will require scars on the chest.  With careful scar placement, the natural fading of scars and hair growth on the chest, these scars do well in the long term.  You will feel much better about your hard earned weight loss with improvement in the chest region. Best wishes.

George Bitar, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Male breast reduction

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exercise will not help, you need surgery. Please see a board certified plastic surgeon and seek his or her advice

Joseph A. Russo, MD
Newton Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.