Men and women who have lost significant amounts of weight are often disappointed to find that they are still unhappy with the appearance of their bodies due to excess skin and stretch marks. Skin is extremely elastic and may shrink in some cases. However, some men and women will have to undergo surgery to permanently remove extra skin. If you have recently lost weight or been pregnant and are wondering if excess skin will disappear on its own, here is some information you should know.
Elasticity Decreases with Age: As you age, your skin is less likely to contract on its own. This loss of elasticity is what leads to skin wrinkling.
The Amount of Weight Gained: The total amount of weight that was gained will have an effect on skin elasticity. Once skin is stretched beyond a certain point, it will not shrink back.
How Long You Carry the Extra Weight: The amount of time associated with the weight gain also has an effect on excess skin. The longer you carry the extra weight, the less likely it is to shrink.
The Effect of Exercise and Diet : Unfortunately, diet and exercise do not have an effect on excess skin. If the skin does not contract on its own, the only way to remove it is via plastic surgery procedures such as tummy tuck, body lift, thigh lift, and arm lift.
Tummy Tucks and Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are scars that form when the skin stretches. Skin can stretch as a result of age, pregnancy, weight gain, and working out. Unfortunately, once stretch marks appear, they are difficult to treat. There are few effective stretch mark removal treatments on the market. Some lotions, creams, pills, and other products claim that they can minimize the appearance of stretch marks over time. Professional dermatology treatments such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and laser treatments are somewhat effective in reducing the appearance of stretch marks, but several treatments must be performed in succession in order to achieve the best results. Even then, stretch marks do not completely disappear.
The only treatment on the market that is capable of completely removing stretch marks is surgery. The drawback of this treatment is that patients still end up with a scar, as an incision will be required to remove the skin affected by stretch marks. Patients who are the best candidates for surgical stretch mark removal are those who have stretch marks and excess skin on their stomachs. These patients may be good candidates for tummy tuck surgery. During tummy tuck surgery, excess skin and skin affected by stretch marks can be removed.
Combining Tummy Tucks with Female Incontinence Surgery
More and more in my practice, I see patients having surgery for female urinary incontinence who want to combine it with a tummy tuck. Traditionally, it has been common for a woman to have abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)at the same time they are having a hysterectomy. The hysterectomy is usually done in women who have had their children and are having problems with their uterus, such as excessive menstrual bleeding. Now however, with newer and more successful techniques for female urinary incontinence, patients are combining these procedures with plastic surgery.
Everyone recognizes that pregnancy can result in abdominal laxity and stretch marks. What is becoming more recognized, is the number of women who suffer from urinary incontinence after being pregnant. Symptoms can be mild, like leaking a few drops of urine with straining, or more severe and involve chronic leakage that can interfere with daily activities and require the women to wear absorptive pads. Suffering in silence, as many women have done for years, is no longer necessary. New surgical procedures, some of which can take as little as 30 minutes, can restore continence and free women from concerns about embarrassing "accidents."
Since many of these incontinence procedures are quick, they can be used as an opportunity to correct some of the other consequences of pregnancy by using the latest techniques in tummy tucks and liposuction. If you think this is something you would be interested in, please contact my office so you can receive more information.