How to Get Rid of Sagging Skin After Gastric Bypass and Weight Loss?

I had gastric bypass and my skin sags now. Where it folds (abdomen, thighs, arms), I get infections and painful rashses, and I'm looking for ways to stop this. 

What type of treatment or surgery is available to get rid of all the extra skin?  Could the sagging skin be fixed all at once or would it require me to have lots of things done over a long time?

Doctor Answers 24

Sagging skin after gastric bypass surgery

They say that each bariatric surgery causes 5 to 6 plastic surgeries to be necessary in order to treat the excess skin.  This surgery falls under the category of body contouring surgery.  Some Bariatric surgeons offer the service to their patients themselves.  It is most often otherwise performed by plastic surgeons.  The surgeries should be done in stages, as fixing so many areas at once would put you at very high risk of post-operative complications. 

New York Bariatric Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

What can be done to remove all my sagging skin after my gastric bypass?

Almost all patients that have had a gastric bypass/lap band are able to lose an excess amount of weight, sometimes well over a hundred pounds./ This naturally does result in much excess skin and one of the most common areas is the tummy, arms, face as well as hips buttock and arms. Unfortunately, plastic surgery, face and body contouring is the only way to remove this. I perform many of these procedure as an outpatient and even can safely combine some. I do many out of town patients and can even try and get coverage for my patients with photos, letters. I also recommend patients visit the American Society of Bariatric Plastic Surgeons website to get more info and referrals. I am President of this organization presently.

Edward J. Domanskis, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Body Contouring after Major Weight Loss

Excess skin is an issue with many patients after a gastric bypass but there are many options available for it. After stabilizing your weight you can look forward to getting a total body-lift. It includes lower body-lift or what most surgeons call a circumferential body-lift. This includes a tummy-tuck, a lateral thigh-lift and a buttock-lift or buttock-augmentation.

An upper body-lift focusing on breasts and arms called an upper trunk-lift that includes an arm-lift, treatment of excess skin below the armpits and breast-lift or breast-augmentation can be performed to tackle the upper body sag.

Considering bariatric surgery? Gastric bypass or banding?

I have been encouraging overweight patients considering gastric bypass or banding to have a discussion with a plastic surgeon before your bariatric surgery.  We can provide realistic expectations about how the weight loss will affect your body and to give you a future projection about the problems you may encounter with the extra skin that will inevitably develop.  Although many insurance carriers will cover the body sculpting surgery today, many are expected to turn away and decline benefits for an increasing number of patients, claiming the elective nips and tucks will be deemed cosmetic and self-pay.  We can provide you with a strategy for building your bodysculpting funds with the 1 to 2 years expected before you will actually need our services.

Removing Excess Skin After Weight Loss: Trading the sag for a scar

Patients who lose significant amounts of weight are left with excess skin which can be a problem with wearing clothes and with skin hygiene. Removing the skin has become an increasingly more common operation with many refinements in technique and scar position. Excess skin can be removed in almost any place in the body, however you trade the skin for a scar in most circumstances. The abdomen, thighs and arms can all be treated, however combination cases should be planned with safety as the primary concern. I usually approach these cases with one of my partners so that we can complete a total body rejuvenation in two operations.

I hope this helps and congratulations on your weight loss.

Dr. Trussler

Andrew P. Trussler, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Body contouring after massive weight loss

Dear Panama Girl,

Excess skin after massive weight loss is very common these days. Body contouring procedures to address excess skin are well established, and there are many reasonable combinations. Your question if it could be fixed "all at once" is really a question of risk - the more surface area that is addressed during one operative session, the more the overall risk. Surgical time is longer, DVT risk is higher, and bleeding risk is greater as well. Because of these issues, I like to keep elective operations to less than 6 hours, so certain combinations work for me. If you plan to address all areas of skin excess, then these operations would be staged. It is advisable to address the areas that bother you most first, and then proceed with less bothersome areas. Typically, I would first perform a body lift, followed by breast lift and arms, and save the medial thighs for last. Every patient is different, and the sequence is customized based on the patients body habitus and desires.

Best wishes,


Surgery after weight loss

Your problem is not uncommon after weight loss. There are many surgeries that can help you in many different areas and depending on what surgery you are doing will depend on what you can combine. In my practice I do a lower body lift (address laxity of the abdomen and thighs) with no other procedure because it is a lot of surgery at one time. When you are ready to proceed with surgery be sure that you consult with an experienced board certified plastic surgeon that can show you a substantial amount of before and after photos. Dr. Bernard Shuster, Miami Florida

Bernard A. Shuster, MD, FACS
Hollywood Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Lower Body Lift

  Normally we ask for pictuar after the patientes have lost the weight.  After we recived the pictures we call the patients and plan the surgery or number of surgeris to removed the unwanted skin, pependind on the case we peform one or more operations.    Normally the surgery that is perform  fiest in a Lower Body lift fallow bya Breast lift and  arm lift o braquioplasty.   Than You

Skin laxity correcting

Good to hear you have lost your unwanted weight! The issue many weight loss patients have to deal with is that the lost fat results in skin laxity issues, which in turn may lead to rashes developing from excess skin flapping over. The treatment for most patients is a total body lift and it is performed between 1-3 stages. If you just are looking for your abdomen, thighs, and arms you may just need to do a lower body lift and a brachioplasty, which could be performed in one stage, but stages are determined on a case by case basis.

Body contouring procedures after weight loss surgery

Patients will typically have significant amounts of loose skin in many areas after weight loss surgery. These areas usually include the abdomen, thighs, arms, breasts, back, buttocks and even the face. The approach to these areas can be tailored to the patient's needs depending on their anatomy and desires.

However, most experts agree that the best location to begin is with the central abdomen, which usually involves a tummy tuck procedure that extends circumferentially around the back. This has several different names: central body lift, total body lift and circumferential tummy tuck to name a few. The reason this procedure is performed first is because it will impact other nearby areas such as the thighs and buttock.

Once a patient has recovered from this procedure, 3-6 months later, another area or areas can be addressed; such as the arms/ breasts or thighs. Some patients may require three or four separate surgeries to complete all their body contouring needs. Since safety is a primary concern, medical clearance is indicated prior to embarking on these types of surgeries.

Please consult with a board certified plastic surgeon prior to scheduling any of these procedures.

Best wishes.

William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 282 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.