How long should I wait to have loose skin removed after weight loss, and does OHIP cover any portion?

Over the past year, I have lost 54Lbs. I still have about 20-25Lbs to go, but already my skin is very loose, in spite of losing slowly, eating well, 4L of water a day, strength training, oils, creams, wearing Spanx etc. I am in Ontario, Canada. Does the provincial health care plan cover any portion of any procedures to have the skin removed? Also, how long do I need to wait after reaching my goal weight to have the surgery/surgeries? Thank you!

Doctor Answers 2

Loose skin weigh loss goal

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There are no rules for after weigh loss.  After you start loosing your weigh normally the patient plateau and if there are less than 20 pound of close to reach the ideal weigh loss the plastic surgery can be perform and even if the patient looses some more weigh there is not going to be any effect in the result of the plastic surgery

Body lift after weight loss and the issue of timing and insurance

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As long as you're reasonably satisfied with your weight (and it is within a healthy weight range), body lift via excision-based techniques such as tummy tuck, arm lift, back lift, among others, can be a great option.

The general rule is to have your weight stable 6-12 months to ensure that you can really stick to a healthy lifestyle.  Take note that significant weight fluctuations can affect if not reverse the surgery's results. 

Also, the waiting period allows you to recover from malnutrition.  You may not be aware of this, but massive weight loss patients have some type of malnutrition (e.g., iron deficiency) due to the sudden change in their diet.  For this reason, surgeons typically work with their patients' bariatric doctor or primary care physician to eliminate or at least control potential risks. 

In terms of insurance coverage, most issuers will only pay the cost if you are able to demonstrate that the excess skin is causing non-healing irritation, skin breakdown, and back pain due to the heavy saggy abdominal skin.  Hence, you must present medical evidence showing that your surgery is beyond cosmetic improvement. 

Good luck and best wishes. 

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.