Significant weight loss can transform a person’s life. But in many cases, it’s only the start of changing their body. Losing so much weight can create other issues, most notably loose skin, that many people will find they want to address.
“After working so hard to lose weight, it is disheartening for patients to see deforming skin folds hanging from different parts of their body,” said Dr. David Stoker, a Los Angeles plastic surgeon. “Removing the excess skin and restoring a normal appearance is a high priority for most.”
Lifting procedures that remove excess skin and tighten your body are common following significant weight loss, according to Dr. Jaime Schwartz, a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills. Dr. Schwartz said common procedures include bra-line back lifts, lower body lifts, breast lifts, arm lifts, thigh lifts and tummy tucks.
In some cases, multiple procedures are required to get the desired final result. Zach Moore, who lost an incredible 350 pounds, has undergone 10 surgeries since losing the weight, and is planning additional surgeries to address more loose skin.
Without follow-up procedures, patients can also have issues with rashes, sores or struggle to keep areas of their bodies clean. Dr. Schwartz said many also have a hard time fitting into regular clothing.
Addressing these concerns can be a long, expensive process. Dr. Stoker said he meets with patients on an initial consultation and works with them to plan stages of surgery based on their budget, time they can get off work and more. People also need to wait until their weight loss is complete before addressing any issues.
“I require my patients to be at their current weight for at least six months prior to undergoing any procedures,” Dr. Schwartz said.
Although not getting the follow-up procedures can lead to issues, insurance coverage isn’t likely to be much help. Dr. Schwartz said most insurance companies consider the follow-up procedures to be cosmetic and don’t cover costs. There are some circumstances, however, where a patient may get some assistance from insurance.
“In my experience, very little is covered by insurance for plastic surgery after weight loss,” Dr. Stoker said. “Hernias and breast reductions would be the procedures most likely to be covered by insurance.”
For more info about potential coverage, please visit our guide on what insurance may or may not cover.
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