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
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
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."