Q: I had gastric bypass surgery 2 years ago and am now bothered by a lot of belly skin that hangs down onto my legs. Besides giving me problems with the fitting of pants, I have trouble keeping it clean and it takes a lot of powder to keep the area underneath dry. Occasionally the area under this flop of belly skin will get really red and sore and my doctor puts me on a fungus powder to get rid of it. I know that plastic surgery can cut off this skin but what will happen to the extra skin that will still be there that wraps around the hips and across the back? Is there anything that can be done to get rid of this skin also or do I just have to live with it?
A: With a lot of weight loss, the skin on the trunk of the body falls like wax melting off a candle. This usually occurs in a 360 degree circumferential manner, but it is always worse in the front. This is particularly so in women due to their already existing loose skin and muscle of the abdominal area due to pregnancies.
What type of plastic surgery contouring procedure that is optimal depends on how much loose skin exists across the back. While an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck (also called an abdominal panniculectomy in the bariatric patient) is a good frontal procedure, it can be extended to go the whole around the back as well if needed. This is called a body lift or circumferental belt lipectomy. This may be a better reshaping for you based on the amount and location of excess skin around your waistline.
Dr. Barry Eppley