How Long Does It Take to Heal After Removal of Excess Skin?

Hello, I'm a 25 year old male. I used to weigh a little over 300 pounds and over the last seven months I have brought my weight down to 180 pounds. I have excess skin in several places but the worst and the one that concerns me the most is my chest. I need to get this skin reduced but my problem is that I will be going to army basic training in four months. If I have surgery in the next month, would the wounds heal enough to get me through basic?

Doctor Answers 5

How Long Does It Take to Heal

If everything goes well, usually by six weeks you should not have any continuing restrictions. By that time the incisions will have attained almost all (90%) of the strength that they will achieve. And it may take a couple of months before you have regained your level of conditioning. 

So do this soon if you so choose. Ask your doctor about starting on Iron tablets before surgery so that you will have enough to restore your red blood cells after surgery without the delay that iron deficiency might cause. 

Congratulations on the weight loss, acceptance into the army. Thanks for ;the question and best wishes. 

Healing after skin removal

Your answer will really depend on which procedures you will need.  Typically after any skin excision procedure such as a body lift or upper trunk lift, most plastic surgeons will recommend no heavy lifting or strenuous activity (ie working out) for about 6 weeks.  After this time period most will clear you to start resuming activity as tolerated gradually.  I hope this helps with your planning.

Dr. Basu

Houston, TX

Massive Weight Loss Surgery Recovery

It's not unusual for patients to develop redundant skin following massive weight loss. In your particular case, excess skin has developed in the area around your chest. Correction of this problem will require a major skin resection.



It's important to allow adequate time for a full recovery before proceeding with military basic training. Patients can anticipate limited physical activity for ten to fourteen days following surgery. I typically tell my patients bathroom and kitchen privileges initially with slow resumption of normal activity over the next two weeks. Patients can usually return to work in two weeks if no strenuous activity or heavy lifting is involved. After six weeks, they can resume all of their normal activities including heavy lifting.



Patients typically wear an abdominal binder for three weeks following surgery. This minimizes swelling and increases comfort. Drains are placed at the time of surgery and are usually removed within two weeks of surgery. Pain management is extremely important. Most patients are initially given narcotic pain relievers and switched to Tylenol five to seven days following surgery.



For many patients, this type of procedure represents a life changing experience. Patients often respond with improved self-esteem, self image and self confidence. In your case, three months should be more than enough time to fully recover.

Healing time

The answer is dependent on your procedures.  Generally, 6-8 weeks of protecting your incisions should cover most uncomplicated situations.  Even after this time, you will not be fully recovered, as there will be some lingering edema and the scars will be immature.  Complete healing and final results will typically be apparent at 6 months; maybe even longer in some cases.

Jeffrey D. Wagner, MD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

How Long Does It Take to Heal After Removal of Excess Skin?

If you have surgical correction of your breasts/chest only, expect an early recovery of about 2-3 months.  You will continue healing well beyond 6-12 months, but I think you will be ok with your time frame of four months to start basic training.  Best of luck!

Paul Fortes, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 8 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.