Is There a Chance Your Skin Can Shrink Back After a Weight Loss of 100lbs or More?

I am 5ft 3in tall. Just had lap band put in place on Aug 19. My max weight was 320lbs (In June) and I am at 286ish now. I have been overweight most of my adult life but not considered morbidly obese until the birth of my now 4 year old daughter. I would like to be a healthier weight, between 140 and 160 to me, seems reasonable, is there a chance my skin will shrink to fit my body or is it likely that I will need surgery to get rid of loose sagging skin?

Doctor Answers 14

Skin Contraction Following Massive Weight Loss

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Unfortunately, a 100 pound weight loss is usually always accompanied by loose skin. This may involve the face, arms, breasts, upper back, lower back, abdomen, buttocks and thighs.

The degree of sag is dependent upon several factors including the patient's skin elasticity and the magnitude of the weight loss. Although it's reasonable to expect some skin contraction, this would probably be inadequate to totally address your sag.

For these reasons, it's highly probable that some type of surgical intervention will be likely. Under these circumstances, it's appropriate to consult a board certified plastic surgeon with experience in this area. This surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plan that addresses your concerns.

Loose Skin After Large Weight Loss

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While some people will have better skin shrinkage than others, it is highly unlikely there will not be poor tone and excess loose skin in areas of the body such as the buttocks, abdomen, arms, and breasts. Typically body contouring surgery is required to restore a smoother, firmer skin tone and more ideal contours which complement and reveal the body's new look.

Excess skin after weight loss

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If you are successful in losing more than 100 lbs, I would predict that you will likely have some degree of  excess skin in one or more areas.  The rapidity of weight loss seems to correlate with the amount of skin recoil; i.e., very rapid weight loss does seem to produce more loose skin.  Also, patients with preexisting stretch marks have lost skin elasticity and will almost always have excess skin folds after massive weight loss.  How much excess skin is difficult to predict, so certainly you ought to wait until your weight plateaus for at least 6 months before making decisions about plastic surgery.    

Jeffrey D. Wagner, MD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Is There a Chance Your Skin Can Shrink Back After a Weight Loss of 100lbs or More?

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Unfortunately, it is not in anyone's favor to experience weight loss of that magnitude with no effect on the skin.  Of course, skin laxity is not an all or none phenomenon.  There are degrees of looseness that can develop in different regions of the body.  The skin's tightness or looseness is affected by not only the total weight loss, but also by the fat loss in specific areas, the age and sex of the individual, and factors like prior pregnancies, prior significant weight fluctuations, and overall health.  I wish you great success with your weight loss goals!

Paul Fortes, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Is There a Chance Your Skin Can Shrink Back After a Weight Loss of 100lbs or More?

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It is always a good idea to wait at least one year after gastric procedure to determine how much skin is present.  There are certainly some patients who do not need any reconstruction on their skin but many do need the reconstructive procedure.

Thomas Guillot, MD
Baton Rouge Plastic Surgeon

Wait a few months until your weight loss has plateaued before deciding the need for plastic surgery

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Congratulations on your weight loss journey and taking that step of having a LAP-BAND placed. 

I would see how much weight you lose with the LAP-BAND.  Younger patients have more recoil or rebound to their skin and the skin can shrink wrap around your body after massive weight loss. 

I would wait until your weight has plateaued for at least 3 to 4 months and then evaluate your body to see if you will need surgery.  I have seen patients lose more than a 100 pounds and not require any reconstructive surgery because their skin is relatively healthy and shrink wraps around their new arms, new legs, abdomen, and buttock.


Thank you,

J. Timothy Katzen, MD, FACS

J. Timothy Katzen, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 254 reviews

Skin laxity after lap band

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Depending on the character or quality of your skin it is possible that it will contract enough tht you won't need surgery. However, it is more likely that you will need surgery to remove the loose skin and fatty tissue that doesn't shrink back. Your skin may be like a rubber band that is over stretched and then it rebounds back, but not all the way.

Todd C. Case, MD
Tucson Plastic Surgeon

Body Lift After Massive Weight Loss

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Not every person that loses 100 lbs or more choices to have some type of plastic surgery to deal with the skin excess . It is totally your choice. If you wait a year after your weight loss has stabilized you will know how much skin shrinkage will happen for you. The body lift or other post weight loss plastic surgery helps to complete the process you began with your new life style. Your transformation will be more complete when the excess skin is removed.

Mary Lee Peters, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

Skin shrinkage after massive weight loss

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Although you will have some skin shrinkage with weight loss, you certainly will still have some excess skin if you are able to lose 160-180 pounds. The most common areas where patients have excess skin removed are the abdomen, breasts, upper arms and thighs. Don't let this discourage you from continuing to lose weight. You already have a great start and you have set a very reasonable goal for yourself.  You are significantly improving your health and the more you lose, the better you will feel. Keep it up and good luck!

James McMahan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Skin Shrinkage after 100 Pound Weight Loss?

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Thank you for the question.

Congratulations on your successful lap band surgery and your commitment to weight loss and healthy lifestyle.

Unfortunately,  given that you will end up losing over half of your weight  (at least 150 pounds),  it is most likely that you will have  “loose sagging skin”.  Also unfortunately this excess skin does tend to be a reminder of the previous history of obesity even when you reached your goal weights.

There are a variety of plastic surgical procedures designed to eliminate the excess skin when you are closer to your stable weight ( you may find the link below helpful).

At that point it would behoove  you to seek consultation with well experienced board-certified plastic surgeons.

Congratulations again!

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.