If you’ve recently lost weight – congratulations! You’ve just taken a huge step towards enhancing your health, self-confidence and appearance. However if you’ve lost a great deal of weight in a short period of time you could be left with large amounts of loose folds of skin around the thighs, abdomen, arms, buttocks and face. Skin loses elasticity when it’s stretched over a long period of time and fails to shrink back to its former size and shape. And unfortunately, for large areas of excess skin no amount of exercise, creams or other non-invasive methods will remove it.
Excess skin can make life hard, limiting mobility and causing hygiene and even medical problems. Plus, it’s disappointing to find that all your hard work hasn’t given you the body you wanted. In order to rid yourself of the sagging skin that’s holding you back surgical body contouring techniques are something you should seriously consider.
Surgically removing excess skin
In order to decide whether you’re a good candidate for surgery, your doctor will need to take into account your age, general health and medical history. You are generally also asked to wait for 12 months or more after having lost weight so that your body has had time to stabilize. In terms of the procedure, if you opt for a full body lift the surgeon will remove excess skin, and will lift and tighten the buttocks, hips, thighs and abdomen, all in one procedure. If it’s thought to be safer, the surgery can take place in several sessions. Any residual fat may be removed via liposuction.
The downside to surgical body contouring is that there will be a certain amount of scarring and you will face the obvious risks posed by invasive surgical techniques.
What if your weight loss is more moderate?
If you haven’t lost a massive amount of weight, but still have some lax or redundant skin, then some forms of non-invasive body contouring techniques may indeed help.
- Laser tightening procedures use carefully calibrated lasers to bring about an increase in collagen production in the skin. They can also help to restructure the existing collagen in the skin giving an immediate tightening effect.
- Radiaofrequency (RF) energy treatment can be used to tighten the skin which has stretched, leaving it tauter.
- Endermologie is a non-invasive body contouring treatment designed to sculpt and tone, smooth out loose skin and firm muscles. It works using deep heated massage and a number of treatments are usually required to get good results after weight loss surgery or natural weight loss.
- VelaShape is often successfully used after weight loss surgery and works by heating up skin tissues on the stomach, arms, hips and thighs.
Lose weight slowly to avoid sagging skin
The best way to avoid loose skin is to lose weight slowly at a rate of around 1-2 pounds per week. Slow weight loss means you can maintain muscle mass, allowing your skin to adjust as you get smaller. If you are seriously overweight, the health benefits of losing weight sooner rather than later take precedence, and may involve the use of a gastric band. In this case some form of body contouring will almost certainly be necessary once the weight is lost.