Everything You Need to Know About Skin Removal Surgery

If you’ve recently lost a substantial amount of weight, we want to congratulate you for making a commitment and becoming healthier. After helping thousands of patients become the best version of themselves and finally beat obesity, we know how proud you must feel. Although you feel and look incredible, we know that you might need some help fine-tuning that healthy body of yours!

Jump to a Section:

We’re talking about excess skin; those saggy, unattractive folds of skin that no exercise or diet can disappear. If you’ve been wondering what you can do to get rid of excess skin, we have the solution for you: Skin Removal Surgery.

Losing a large amount of weight, whether you did it with the help of bariatric surgery and a healthy diet or with just diet and exercise, is a huge step towards being healthy and something that should always be celebrated. At VIDA Wellness and Beauty we believe that the best way to celebrate is by getting cosmetic help from an expert, a post-weight loss body contouring plastic surgeon. Thanks to skin removal surgery, patients can fully enjoy their slimmer bodies!

skin removal surgery before after female male skin removal surgery before after

Skin Removal Surgery After Weight Loss?

When a person’s weight fluctuates massively, the skin loses its elasticity. We get patients who are incredibly frustrated because, after all of their hard work, they feel they simply cannot get the body they deserve. Once your skin has lost its capacity to shrink back to a smaller size and defined shape, there is little you can do on your own. This is when skin removal surgery after weight loss becomes necessary.

Skin removal surgery is not a single procedure, rather a collection of cosmetic surgeries designed to tone, define and contour different areas of the body. Some patients need a Lower Body Lift, which will tone your abdomen, buttocks, and thighs. You can also have an Upper Body Lift, which focuses on your breasts, back, and arms. Patients constantly get extra procedures such as a full tummy tuck surgery, a neck lift or even vaginal rejuvenation surgery.  Once you schedule a consultation with one of our VIDA surgeons, you can talk about the areas of your body you’d like to improve and customize your skin removal surgery.

There are 2 Types of Skin Removal Surgeries

Panniculectomy and tummy tucks. Both have advantages and disadvantages depending on the person’s skin type, skin condition, and what they are looking to achieve from the skin removal surgery.

1: Panniculectomy:

panniculectomy example

Panniculectomy is a skin removal procedure that removes fat from underneath the skin of the torso, so there will be less hanging flesh after serious weight loss. This involves removing excess skin as well as loose or stretched out skin tissue. 

2: Tummy Tuck:

tummy tuck example

A tummy tuck is also commonly called an abdominoplasty and it’s used for removing excess skin in the abdomen region.

Panniculectomy vs. Tummy Tuck

These two procedures are commonly confused since both are essentially focused on the same area of the body. The biggest difference is the end result or goal of the surgery. A tummy tucks focuses on tightening the abdominal muscles at the same time removing extra fat & skin. After the body has healed, you’ll find that you will have a smoother more appealing look and feel to your abdomen area.

The panniculectomy’s goal is the just remove the large flap of skin (pannus) that hangs over the abdomen and thighs of the patient. This skin can, for some people, cause chaffing, mobility issues and even infection.

Skin Removal Combined with Liposuction

Liposuction is a procedure that removes a person’s fat with the skin still intact. Liposuction may be done on its own or combined with skin removal surgery to get rid of skin that is no longer necessary.

The main difference between liposuction and skin removal surgery is that skin removal surgery takes out excess skin surrounding fat tissues, while liposuction only pulls out fat cells located underneath the skin’s surface level. However, you can combine liposuction with skin removal surgery to tighten and firm up droopy or baggy skin after weight loss. 

How do you qualify for skin removal surgery?

There are a few requirements you need to have to qualify for skin removal surgery. To determine your candidacy your surgeon will ask you a few basic questions, and you should meet the following criteria:

  • You have reached your goal weight and been stable for at least 6 + months
  • Are in good health
  • Nonsmoker
  • Understand the complications of the surgery
  • Are prepared for a long recovery time

Your plastic surgeon will also look at your skin and determine the amount of loose skin to body ratio. The elasticity of the skin before and during a person’s weight loss process may also determine how much—​if any—loose skin they will have. For example, younger skin is more elastic and can snap back more effectively than older skin that won’t snap back much at all. This amount of skin, or lack of skin can be a factor in removal qualifications.

How Long Does Skin Removal Surgery Take?

Between 3 and 5 hours. After talking with your surgeon and deciding on the amount of skin to be removed and the areas, your surgeon can give you an estimate of how long your surgery will be. For some patients it can be 3 hours, for some patients it can take up to 5 hours. All of the procedures are entirely personalized so the timing depends on many variables. 

How Painful is Skin Removal Surgery?

Patients feel quite anxious when it comes to pain. Well, to ease your concerns, let’s start by giving you the great news: during the procedure itself, you won’t feel a thing. That’s right. Nothing. Nada. You will receive medications to keep you comfy, and depending on how much you’re having done, a combination of sedation with local anesthesia or general anesthesia will be used. Once the anesthesia effect wears off, you might be a bit uncomfortable, but that’s what brings us to the next point!

What’s the Skin Removal Surgery Process Like?

As a general rule, you should schedule at least two weeks off from work. Regardless of the procedures you end up having, during the first two weeks of recovery you need to focus on healing. Take two weeks off from working out, lifting heavy objects and any other vigorous activity that could jeopardize your recovery.

The first couple of days you might notice swelling, soreness and bruising, but your surgeon will prescribe you pain medication to keep you comfortable. Keep up with resting, taking short walks around your house, drinking lots of water and eating healthy. Doing so will speed up your recovery.

During recovery, if asked to wear a compression garment- do it! Post-surgery compression garments help support the body, keep you comfortable and protect the treated area.

Will I Have Scars After Skin Removal Surgery?

Scars are an inevitable part of having cosmetic surgery, but not all scars are the same. Depending on whether you focus on the upper or lower region of your body, incisions will be in a different location. VIDA surgeons plan your procedure strategically, including where to place incisions. The priority is to make them as invisible as possible, so you might be left with a scar on the lower part of your abdomen or your groin area, areas that can be hidden by underwear or regular swimsuits. If you combine this with good care of your incisions, such as not scratching them and avoiding direct sun exposure, they’ll fade considerably.

Is it Covered by my Insurance?

Insurance companies can and will cover weight loss surgery but typically don’t cover cosmetic surgery (tummy tucks) to remove excess skin after significant weight loss.

The key word here is “cosmetic”. Since a panniculectomy is less cosmetic and more of a functional procedure, it is often covered by health insurance providers. Both procedures remove excess skin and fat from the abdominal area, however a tummy tuck involves cosmetic contouring features like liposuction, tightening of ab muscles etc.

Depending on your insurance coverage, skin removal surgery is typically an out-of-pocket service. However, in some cases, you may be covered under your company’s health plan coverage if the excess skin is causing health-related issues such as chronic skin infections from moisture trapped in folds of skin or other complications.

How Much Does Skin Removal Surgery it Cost?

In the United States, the average cost for skin removal surgery or Panniculectomy ranges between $8,000-$15,000. However, depending on the type of skin removal surgery and the amount of skin, fat, and tissue that needs to be removed, these prices can vary. The cost for skin removal in the United States is often reflected based on the following factors:

  • Level of expertise: An aesthetic plastic surgeon can charge more than general plastic surgeons or dermatologists.
  • The degree of difficulty: skin removal surgeries, such as those associated with liposuction, are cheaper than those who need abdominal reconstruction, such as those who lose weight from bypass surgery.
  • Anesthesia fees: Pharmacological agents or general anesthesia may be needed for any skin removal surgery. The amount of anesthesia required can increase the costs significantly.
  • Skin grafts: If you need skin grafts, a surgical procedure where a piece of skin is transplanted from one area to another, the fee can also increase.

Skin removal surgery cost also will depend on whether the patient has been through weight loss surgery or not. The average patient who has had bariatric surgery tends to have more skin to remove, increasing the procedure time and the procedure cos. At VIDA Wellness And Beauty, we offer competitive rates for every skin removal procedure, including skin reduction procedures.

First Step: Consult a Plastic Surgeon

Before you make any appointments with your plastic surgeon to receive skin removal surgery, have a frank conversation about the procedure and the outcomes. Ask any questions you may have about the procedure, so you are well informed before the surgery. Some basic questions you should ask before you undergo skin surgery include:

  • What skin removal procedure best for me?
  • How much weight do I need to lose to be a candidate for skin surgery?
  • Will this skin removal improve my health and/or look better than the skin I currently have?

Your plastic surgeon should take the time to explain all your options and help you decide which skin removal procedure is right for you. 

Our team of weight loss & skin removal specialists will be able to answer any questions or concerns you may have about any weight loss surgery and provide honest opinions as it relates to the recovery process after your specific procedure. Our surgeons are always up-to-date on the latest medical advances and deliver optimum results for each unique patient situation.

Schedule a virtual consultation today to get started. 

Dr. Alejandro Quiroz

Dr. Quiroz is our board-certified Chief Plastic Surgeon at VIDA Clinic in Tijuana. He specializes in Facial Rejuvenation, Neck lift, Buttock Augmentation, Breast Augmentation, Body Contouring and more. He is member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, San Diego Plastic Surgery Society, the Mexican Society of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and the Mexican Council of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, to mention a few.