Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Weight Loss Surgery Health Center

Font Size

Weight Loss Surgery: Long-Term Results

Bariatric surgery can help you get past those cravings, get healthier, and be more active.

Time for Skin Reduction After Weight Loss Surgery?

With extreme weight loss, loose skin can be a big problem. Up to 70% of patients have skin reduction surgery (also called body contouring, or panniculectomy when referring to the tummy), says Courcoulas.

With gastric bypass, skin reduction surgery is usually done two years after surgery, she says. With gastric banding, body contouring is usually done three years postsurgery. Insurance typically covers the procedures if they are considered medically necessary, she explains. "That's if loose skin causes hygiene problems, pain, sexual function problems. If the surgery is considered cosmetic, it won't be covered."

It's nothing you can check before having weight loss surgery, she adds, as insurance companies must see after-surgery photographs to make their decision.

In medical centers that do significant numbers of bariatric surgeries, the plastic surgeons are often adept at getting insurance approval, Courcoulas adds. "They are very expert at packaging services. If a bariatric patient needs a hernia repair, for example, they package it with skin removal. We work really hard to service the needs of patients because we know it's tight with insurance."

For many patients, however, plastic surgery isn't really necessary, she says. "The patient who loses 80 to 100 pounds -- if they were shaped well before surgery, are young, their skin is elastic, they exercise -- they may not need it. But someone who loses more weight -- if they are older -- they will need it. It depends on age, size, skin elasticity, and how much tolerance they have for a little loose skin."

Reviewed on February 12, 2009

Today on WebMD

mid section view of a woman measuring her waist
Procedures to choose from.
What to expect.
Doctor Examining Male Patient With Hip Pain
Common questions answered.
Woman weighing self after drinking water
Get the facts.
calculate your bmi
Healthy woman eating for a healthy lifestyle
Obesity What Does It Mean
Medical Reference
Types Of Weight Loss Surgery
Medical Reference
woman eating apple
BHC Eating and Nutrition Healthcheck
Plastic Surgery After Weight Loss