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 26

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
4.4 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.

Jeffrey Weinzweig, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

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.

Randy Wong, MD
Honolulu Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

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
4.9 out of 5 stars 45 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,


Michael A. Bogdan, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Post-Bariatric Surgery

After major weight loss, extra sagging skin is incredibly common. There are a number of plastic surgery procedures designed specifically to address body contouring after weight loss surgery. We call these procedures “Post-bariatric” surgery. Post-bariatric surgery patients are unique since they frequently have much more extensive work that is done over the course of multiple procedures (that may include a tummy tuck, arm lift, thigh lift and more) than patients seeking a single procedure. Post-bariatric procedures may be spread out over the course of a year or longer, in order to safely and effectively achieve the patient’s aesthetic goals.

David Whiteman, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

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

Congratulations on this successful weight loss.   I would suggest that you wait until you have reached your long-term stable weight prior to seeking consultation with board-certified plastic surgeons who can demonstrate lots of examples  achieving the types of outcomes you would be pleased with. 

Generally speaking, combination surgical procedures are done routinely. However, you are wise in being concerned about the safety of combination surgery; risks/possible complications do increase with increased length of surgery… 

 During this consultation process, after a complete history and physical, the SAFETY of combining these surgical procedures becomes of paramount importance.  For example, how much liposuctioning is indicated and can be safely performed will become a judgment call that can only be made after careful evaluation of the patient's overall situation.

Your best bet: choose your plastic surgeon very carefully; everything else including good judgment/advice/planning, anesthesia provider and safe surgery facility will follow. Best wishes. 


Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 reviews

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 28 reviews

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.

Siamak Agha, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 106 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.