Large weight loss. Is this excess skin or fat? (photo)

I am 21 years old and I have lost 110 lbs over a year and a half. I am currently 115 and I am 5' 3". I have a pouch of skin/fat on my lower stomach and I wanted to know if the skin will ever shrink back or if I need to lose more weight to get rid of the fat or take surgical measures in fixing it.

Doctor Answers 11

Loose skin after massive weight loss.

Thank you for your question and for your photograph.  You've done a remarkable job of weight loss.  When patients lose the kind of weight that you have lost unfortunately the skin does not always shrink back completely.  From your photographs are believe that this is what you're seeing.


Most patients who consider abdominoplasty are postpartum women.  In my own practice when I see people your age for tummy tuck it is generally because of significant weight loss.


The paradox here, is that you probably do not need to lose more weight.  Because the skin has lost elasticity the more weight you lose the more laxity you'll probably see.  Once you achieve target healthy weight, you may wish to consider seeing a plastic surgeon and learning about your options for removing the excess loose skin.



Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Large weight loss. Is this excess skin or fat?

Congratulations on your weight loss! It is difficult to tell without personally evaluating you, but people who have especially slack skin in their midsection and abdominal muscle weakness need more than what diet and exercise alone can offer. Typical candidates for a full tummy tuck are women with drooping abdomens after pregnancy, women and men who've lost a great deal of weight, menopausal women, or older people with loose skin due to age. In the tummy tuck, the skin from the rib cage down to the pelvic area is tightened, and the navel is moved up and secured in a new position.

A mini-tummy tuck is especially effective for people who look pretty good from the navel up. The main difference between the 2 procedures is that the mini-tummy tuck doesn't require moving or reconstructing the navel and the incision is shorter than the one made in a full tummy tuck.

Michelle Copeland, MD, DMD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Large weight loss. Is this excess skin or fat?

Even at your age the skin should retract but in your case there is excess skin paddle that needs excision. Best to seek IN PERSON opinions.. 

Skin vs Fat Excess After Weight Loss

From your photos after your weight loss it looks like you have excess skin and abdominal muscle laxity. This can only be addressed with a tummy tuck. If your upper abdomen has reasonable tightness you may be a candidate for a "mini-tummy tuck" which has a shorter incision, but only tightens skin and muscle below the belly button. 

Cory Goldberg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Excess skin or fat

Hello and thank you for your question.
Congratulations on the weight loss. It appears you have some excess skin on your abdomen with a little bit of fat. Like many people, after significant weight loss you are left with some stretched sagging skin. Unfortunately the only way to get rid of that, is to excise it. I recommend that you see a board certified plastic surgeon in consultation to get more specific answers to your questions which can best be addressed after a thorough history and examination is performed.

Best of luck to you!

Skin and muscle laxity of the abdomen

Dear em,
  Thanks for submitting your pictures. You did a fantastic job in losing all that weight without having surgery. Your BMI is 20, so you should not lose any more weight. One of the consequences of massive weight loss is skin laxity and in the abdomen also muscles laxity. From your pictures it appears that you have skin and muscles  laxity from the mid upper abdomen to the pubic bone. Only surgery can correct your condition and full tummy tuck will give you a flat and youthful abdomen. All other surgical options will be a compromise and will give you a less than optimal result. Always, consult with board certified plastic surgeons and check their before and after pictures to make sure that you like the results and that the picture are numerous and consistent.
                       Best of luck,
                                             Dr Widder

Large weight loss. Is this excess skin or fat? (photo)

Congratulations on the weight loss! Based on the photos, I think you likely will need a tummy tuck. You may be able to get a nice result simply with a mini or lower tummy tuck, particularly if you have not had prior pregnancies.  It would be important for you to see a board-certified plastic surgeon for a consultation and exam to determine the best recommendations and discuss them fully.  Best of luck,  Dr Woodyard

Janet Woodyard, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Large weight loss. Is this excess skin or fat?

Congratulatiions on your weight loss. Based on your history and photots toy will, most likely, need  tummy tuck. Any other procedure will not adequately correct the sagging skin. You shoud consult with a Board Certified PS with extensive experience performing the TT procedure. Good luck!

George Lefkovits, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
3.8 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Excess of skin

First of all I have to congratulate you for the courage and determination of loosing weight.
Based on your photos, the "pouch" on your lower abdomen is due to saggy skin and it will not be any tighter after losing more weight, liposuction, laser, vaser, massages, etc. by the contrary it will be only saggier. 
In my opinion you will need a miniTummy Tuck VS Full TT but cannot be determined accurately until the vivid consultation. 
Be encouraged. You will be loving your beautiful flat and tight abdomen. 
Dr. Cardenas

Large weight loss. Is this excess skin or fat?

I think you have very little excess fat, and I think this is likely a skin issue.  An exam would help to make this determination.


Find a board certified plastic surgeon who performs hundreds of tummy tucks and body contouring procedures each year. Then look at the plastic surgeon's website before and after photo galleries to get a sense of who can deliver the results.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

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.