Santa Barbara cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Terry Perkins, gets lots of inquiries about how to tighten skin after pregnancy or a significant weight loss. While there are lots of claims on the internet that certain lotions and potions can “firm and tighten”, the reality is that most of these products don’t offer the results that people are truly seeking.
Excessive weight gain, whether it is through pregnancy or accumulated over the years, can significantly stretch the skin. Once the weight is lost (or the baby is born and the rest of the pregnancy weight is shed), the skin may not be as taut as it once was. The best way to get rid of excess, sagging skin is through surgery. Skin excision surgery is common and may be done in combination with liposuction.
Removing excess skin can be done in many places on the body:
Arm Lift and Arm Liposuction: Many people (even those who have not gained extra weight) suffer from excess skin in the upper arms (“bat wings”). If fat is the main issue, liposuction can be done and the skin may contract without the need for skin removal. For those with too much loose skin, removal is done so that the scar is placed inside the arm (against the body), above the elbow, so it is not visible from the front or back. If there is only a small amount of loose skin, the skin removal can often be confined to or near the armpit.
Abdomen Surgery / Tummy Tuck: Dr. Perkins can remove skin in the abdominal area in a “mini tummy tuck” procedure. The incision is done at the upper edge of the pubic hair line so it can be hidden. If need be, the incision can be extended far to the sides (a “tummy tuck”) to avoid a “dog ear” pooch of the skin and the abdominal muscles are sewn together to further flatten the lower abdomen.
Leg Liposuction / Thigh Lift: Loose skin on the legs most often occurs in the inner thigh area. Liposuction can be done to remove any excess fat (as the inner thigh can be a “trouble” spot and some may prefer to have liposuction along with skin removal) and the skin removal is done through incisions in the groin and upper thigh area that can be hidden with underwear or a bathing suit.
Getting rid of excess skin is a great way to give a person a new shape – or re-store an old one!
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