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Excess Skin Removal After Extreme Weight Loss (cont.)

What Is the Follow-Up for Excess Skin Removal Surgery?

Subsequent procedures are performed based on the original plan, but can be modified depending on the response to the first stage of the procedure. Asymmetries are common, and healing problems are more significant with greater weight loss. Revisions are often necessary.

Complications are common in patients after major weight loss but can also occur in patients with less severe changes in body weight. The most common complication is a fluid collection under the skin (seroma). Drains are frequently used to minimize this complication and are usually removed after one to three weeks. Infections, wound breakdown, reaction to sutures, and hypertrophic scarring can also occur.

What Are the Risks of Excess Skin Removal Surgery?

The risks of a given procedure are best discussed with the surgeon. In general, more extensive operations have higher complication rates. The usual risks such as possible blood loss, hematoma (mass caused by accumulation of blood) or seroma formation, and infection vary depending on the procedure, site of surgery, and facility.

What Results Can I Expect from Excess Skin Removal Surgery?

People who are slightly overweight or mildly obese often obtain excellent results from excess skin removal. From an aesthetic standpoint, people with massive weight loss have results that are less pleasing, but they often have dramatic functional improvements such as an increase in the ability to exercise and a decrease in rashes because of the reduction of skin folding. Although long incisions are often necessary for maximal skin removal, the use of the superficial fascia (body layer) to reduce the tension on the surgical closure has resulted in scars that most people find acceptable. Improvements in excess skin removal surgery allow for safer and more effective results.

Last Reviewed 11/21/2017
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