Weight loss after bariatric surgery can differ based on the bariatric procedure performed. For example, after gastric bypass, most people can lose between 50% and 90% excess weight. This significant weight loss can leave you with excess loose skin which may hinder your self-confidence and possibly cause health concerns.
Cosmetic tummy tucks after bariatric surgery may help you to regain that confidence.
This article will help you understand what a tummy tuck entails following bariatric surgery and whether it is the right surgery for you.
What is a Tummy Tuck?
Tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a form of plastic surgery which involves the removal of excess skin after bariatric surgery. The technique that the surgeon uses is determined based on your anatomy and further discussion on what results you are looking for.
There are different kinds of tummy tuck procedures you may consider to tighten loose skin after gastric bypass including:
Full Tummy Tuck
Excess skin will be removed from the upper abdomen and the remaining skin is pulled down over the stomach. There will be an incision below the navel and another around the belly button. The abdominal muscles are also tightened, giving you a thinner and firmer midsection.
Mini Tummy Tuck
There is no excess skin removed in this procedure. It focuses on the lower abdomen, below your belly button. An incision is made along your bikini line, so scarring is minimal and easy to hide. The lower abdominal muscles can be tightened where necessary. This is for those looking for minimal change due to natural stomach sagging from pregnancy or weight loss.
Extended Tummy Tuck
This surgery may be ideal for those with extreme weight loss looking for a wider range of skin to be corrected. This surgery removes excess skin around the stomach but also the back and love handle area as well. An incision is made that reaches around the hips to the lower sides of the back, fat is removed and the skin is pulled tight.
Is a Tummy Tuck Right For You?
A tummy tuck should not be done during a period of rapid weight loss as the skin will not heal properly.
To qualify for a tummy tuck or post-bariatric plastic surgery, it is recommended to wait until your weight has stabilized around a year after bariatric surgery. A lower BMI after weight has stabilized will decrease the risk of surgical complications and better body contouring.
Typically, insurance companies will only pay for a tummy tuck or other plastic surgery procedures if it is medically necessary.
Removal of excess skin after bariatric surgery may be medically necessary if you are experiencing health-related complications, such as:
- Recurring rashes and irritation
- Skin lesions
- Pressure wounds
There may be financing options available if the procedure is not covered by insurance. It is important to check with your preferred plastic surgeon what will be covered by their quoted prices.
Tummy Tuck Without Surgery
Major weight loss has been associated with damage to the skin, specifically elastin and collagen fibers. The collagen production that occurs after rapid weight loss is an immature collagen form with less healing capability which can result in decreased skin elasticity that causes excessive sagging.
While there is no way to remove excess skin without surgery, sticking to your prescribed diet and exercise plan after bariatric surgery will help to reduce sagging skin and rebuild abdominal muscles.
Diet and exercise will also help to minimize weight loss stalls after gastric bypass procedures. Here are a few ways to ensure that regain after gastric bypass is kept to a minimum:
Eating a Healthy Diet
Collagen fibers and elastin are components that make up the skin. After bariatric surgery, extreme weight loss can damage these components.
Fortunately, the body can naturally synthesize collagen from the nutrients you consume in food sources. A healthy, balanced diet can provide sufficient nutrients in order for the body to produce collagen. You will also receive support through your bariatric vitamins and minerals post-op.
Many bariatric patients are restricted from consuming a wide variety of food sources due to the smaller stomach pouch. With that being the case, there are bariatric collagen supplements available in order to support skin elasticity and promote natural collagen formation.
It is equally important to ensure you are receiving enough protein to facilitate wound healing and recovery. Protein will also build and maintain muscle that can minimize the appearance of sagging skin. Therefore, you should consider adding bariatric protein supplements if you are not getting enough high quality protein through dietary sources.
Preserving Skin Elasticity
The idea is to keep the skin firm to reduce the amount of sagging and stretching.
Taking multivitamins for bariatric patients will ensure that you are receiving sufficient amounts of each vitamin so that your skin stays strong and healthy.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant required for natural collagen synthesis and skin regeneration found in many chewable vitamins for bariatric patients in order to tighten loose skin after gastric bypass without surgery.
Another importance of taking your bariatric multivitamin after surgery is to prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Vitamin A deficiency can be associated with decreased collagen synthesis resulting in diminished skin appearance.
Maintaining Goal Weight
Minimizing weight gain after gastric bypass will be important for the healing of your skin.
Weight gain after gastric sleeve statistics state that 10 years after weight loss surgery, patients regained close to 30% of the weight back.
Remembering your nutrition plan, portion control, exercising, and pinpointing the main problem are all things to focus on in order to minimize weight regain after bariatric surgery.
Tummy Tucks After Gastric Bypass FAQs
Can You Donate Skin After Bariatric Surgery?
It is possible to donate skin that has been removed after bariatric surgery. Although it may seem strange, donated skin can be used for performing skin transplants for those who may need it. Tissue grafts, burn victims, and degenerative conditions are examples of those requiring donated skin.
If you are interested in this process, it is advised to have a discussion with your plastic surgeon for more information about the procedure and what to expect.
Can You Gain Weight After a Tummy Tuck?
Yes. The tummy tuck repairs abdominal muscles and removes excess fatty tissue, but it is possible to regain weight.
If there is weight gain after a tummy tuck or other plastic surgery procedure, it is possible to perform another cosmetic operation to correct it. However, maintaining a healthy weight after the surgery is the easiest way to receive the most benefit out of a tummy tuck procedure.
Will The Scarring be Very Noticeable?
Not necessarily. Tummy tucks do involve the surgeon cutting into the skin. However, depending on the kind of tummy tuck, the scarring can be easily hidden under bathing suits or clothing by having a discussion with your surgeon about incision placement.
The scars are permanent, but will fade over time. If you look after the scars and keep your skin moisturized and protected, they will become less noticeable. Your surgeon will be able to give you an idea of the extent of the scarring, as it differs from person to person.
Can I Still Get Pregnant After a Tummy Tuck?
Yes. A tummy tuck procedure will in no way affect your ability to get pregnant and have a healthy birth.
However, it is recommended that the surgery be performed after giving birth to prevent major bodily changes, possibly reversing the results achieved by the surgery.
**This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition.