Surgical Procedures to Help After Massive Weight Loss

People who lose a great deal of weight suddenly, as they would after bariatric surgery, are often left with sagging skin and tissue that they can’t get rid of no matter how much they exercise or control what they eat. These people may be candidates for such surgeries as:

  • Face and Neck lift
  • Brachioplasty
  • Breast Lift
  • Thigh Lift
  • Abdominoplasty
  • Panniculectomy
  • Belt Lipectomy

In a basic face lift, the surgeon makes incisions that are usually hidden in the patient’s hairline or behind their ear in order to pull the skin of the face up and back and trim away the excess. Some patients opt for deeper facelifts that rearrange the muscles and connective tissue in the middle of their face to give them a revitalized look. In a necklift, the surgeon removes the unwanted skin and tissue that results in jowls and the “turkey wattle.” Sometimes the surgeon performs liposuction to remove excess fat in the neck, or makes incisions under the jaw line to tighten the neck muscles. The skin is then brought together beneath or behind the ear to firm the appearance of the patient’s neck. This operation can also be done endoscopically with miniaturized surgical instruments.


Brachioplasty is an arm lift. In this operation, the surgeon removes sagging skin in both the upper and lower arm and tightens the skin that remains. The surgeon makes incisions on the inside or the back of the arm from the armpit to just above the patient’s elbow. The fat in this area can also be removed with liposuction. The remaining skin is pulled in place and sutured.

Breast Lift

Sagging breasts are also a problem for women who have lost a great deal of weight in a short period of time. In this operation, also called mastopexy, excess skin is taken away and the breast tissue is tightened in order to reshape the breast. The surgeon can make different types of incisions to do this. One is a circle around the areola that extends down the breast to the crease beneath it, an incision that follows the crease beneath the breast or just an incision around the areola. Permanent sutures are placed into the deep breast tissue to support the patient’s new breasts, while skin glue, surgical tape or sutures close the skin.

Thigh Lift

A patient may opt for a thigh lift if losing a great deal of weight has left their thighs flabby. There are several types of thigh lifts, and the one that is most popular after great weight loss is the medial thigh lift. This reduces the fat and excess skin on the upper part of the patient’s inner thigh. The surgeon makes an incision in the groin that goes to the crease of the buttock. The skin is then lifted, excess skin is trimmed away and fat is removed before the skin in the area is tightened.


This is also called tummy tuck. A patient can choose a standard tummy tuck, an extended tummy tuck or a mini tummy tuck. In the standard tummy tuck, the surgeon makes incisions above the bikini line, detaches the patient’s belly button, pulls the muscles beneath the skin together and stitches them into place. Excess fat is removed, the skin is pulled down and tightened and the belly button repositioned. In an extended tummy tuck, the doctor not only takes away fat and tissue from the abdomen but from the back as well. In a mini tummy tuck they only remove the fat from below the belly button. These procedures are done under general anesthesia and require at least a night in the hospital or surgical center. All of the surgeries leave scars, but they can be well hidden. A woman who is not sure that she’s completed her family should probably put off abdominoplasty.


This operation takes away the apron of skin, or pannus from the lower part of the abdomen. It is done on bariatric patients who are experiencing back pain, rashes and other skin problems because of this great apron of flesh. Some find sitting, standing or walking difficult because of it. During the operation, the surgeon makes a horizontal and a vertical incision in the abdomen which results in a T shape. Then, they remove an area of loose skin and fat and attach the rest of the tissue to itself and to the anterior wall of the patient’s abdomen. This operation can also be performed with abdominoplasty.

Belt Lipectomy

This operation removes excess fat and skin from the abdomen, outer thighs, buttocks, waist and hip. As with panniculectomy, abdominoplasty can be performed at the same time, as can liposuction. In liposuction, a vacuum cannula is inserted into an area to pull out unwanted fat.

It’s important that a person who wants to have a post weight loss surgery stabilize their weight. If they keep losing weight after their surgery, pockets of sagging tissue will develop. If they gain weight, their skin will be stressed and produce stretch marks and scars. The physician of a person who has had weight loss surgery should work closely with their cosmetic surgeon.

For More Information About Post Weight Loss Surgery, Contact Doctors Plastic Surgery.

A person in the New York or Chicago area who longs to get rid of sagging, excess skin after bariatric surgery should arrange a consultation with our plastic surgeons Dr. Pey-Yi Kevin Lin, Dr. Marc Everett, Dr. Christine Blaine, Dr. Marcelo Ghersi or Dr. Jason I. Altman. New York patients should call (718) 395-5220, while Chicago patients should call (312) 313-2833.