More than 200,000 people receive weight loss surgeries each year in the U.S., and afterward common complaints include loose skin. Most of them are not aware of the cosmetic procedures available to them from plastic surgeons that can eradicate the physical remnants of their pre-surgery bodies.
HONnews posted a story about a study by plastic surgeons that found that most of post-bariatric surgery patientsare not made aware of their cosmetic options. American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) researchers studied 284 patients that underwent weight loss via surgery. They found that 75% of weight reduction surgery patients did not know about cosmetic treatments such as body contouring.
ASPS states that many of the recipients might have chosen plastic surgery treatments had they been aware of the options. Not every bariatric surgery patient needs cosmetic treatment after their procedure, but Dr. Jason Spector, ASPS member and lead author of the study, feels that plastic surgery is a necessary step on the road to helping the patient feel comfortable in their new body. He warns of “large amounts of loose, sagging skin as a result of their rapid weight loss that, if not removed, can cause rashes, wounds, infection, and limit comfortable mobility.”
Out of the 25% of patients that discussed plastic surgery options with their surgeon, almost 40% said they may have gone through with cosmetic operations if they had been presented more information. Fourteen-percent of patients received consultation from a plastic surgeon, and about 11% had plastic surgery for contouring. Dr. Spector believes this lack of information is a symptom of “insufficient counseling at the time of bariatric surgery is obscuring viable body contouring options for these patients.” However,
It was not just a shortage of information that kept patients from plastic surgery. Nearly one-third of those polled said that the cosmetic procedures were too expensive and not usually covered by health insurance.
Others are being mindful of non-surgical methods to get rid of loose skin. Dr. Michael Potter, University of California, San Francisco professor for clinical family and community medicine, believes that exercise and time for healing are good options to weigh before seeking plastic surgery. He has patients that “have bounced back nicely from extreme weight loss without excessive sagging and have felt happy to forego the plastic surgery.”