Can I have my belly skin removed now? (Photo)

I had gastric bypass surgery in 2010 and I had lost 209 pounds with just eating right. I had went from 536 pounds down to 330 pounds with in two years. My belly dropped down with my skin to wear at the time it needed to come off then. I had a seen a plastic surgeon at that time and was told that I was in a catch 22 because of Medicare. I was put on a couple of depression medications and have gained back 70 pounds. But it's made the skin worse and I'm in need for it to come off.

Doctor Answers 3

Panniculectomy - after massive weight loss, then weight gain

Thank you for your question about your lower body lift.
  • I am sorry to hear this has happened to you.
  • You will need to find a plastic surgeon who takes Medicare -
  • Start with contacting Medicare to see who is in your region.
  • Then s/he needs to decide if this is reasonable to do.
  • It is very complicated high risk surgery because of your weight and needs good planning with a good hospital team.
  • Please don't blame surgeons for not taking Medicare - what Medicare pays is so low that usually the surgeon loses money providing such care.
  • Best of luck in finding what you need.
Always consult a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Best wishes. Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews


Congratulations on your weight loss. Even with a gastric bypass, it's hard work. Unfortunately you now have a pannus, or apron of skin hanging from your abdomen. Removing this skin is called a Panniculectomy. In this surgery, the skin and fat beneath it is surgically removed. Assuming that you are a decent candidate for surgery, this is a reasonably quick surgery and can get rid of the excess skin which is likely preventing you from moving forward with your weight loss. A this is not an abdominoplasty, but only a part of the larger procedure.
Not knowing your height, I can't calculate your BMI, but it is likely above 60. This alone puts you in a high risk category. If your health is otherwise good, you could be an acceptable surgical candidate. 
Most insurance will pay for a Panniculectomy if you can demonstrate skin breakdown due to the heavy skin apron. I'm not sure about Medicare criteria. I would start by seeking an experienced plastic surgeon and presenting your case.
For what it's worth, you might talk to your regular physician about your depression medication. Some have much fewer tendencies to increase weight.

Peter D. Geldner, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Try the university

 Your best bet is for a university hospital plastic surgery program. I hope this helps, Good Luck!

Gregory T. Lynam, MD
Richmond Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 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.