The psychology of loose skin after Bariatric Surgery

In our obsession over weight and the removal of excess fat using non-invasive and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures such as fat freezing and liposuction we often forget about the effects of dramatic weight loss on our body silhouette. Once many have succeeded losing all that weight they are often left with irritating loose skin and more folds than they had before. Many find this more distressing than the weight they had on before and seek help from plastic surgeons through ‘Body Contouring Surgery’.

It’s not only successful weight loss that can result in loose skin. Pregnancy and a couple of kids can often leave previously fit and slim women with loose skin over their tummies that just doesn’t go away no matter how many crunches they do each day.

When it comes to skin tightening there are a number of options available on the market but do they produce real results? Amongst non-invasive skin tightening treatments, the most common are either radio-frequency (RF) or High Intensity Focussed Ultrasound (HiFU).

At Rejuvence Clinic we are the first clinic in the UK and much of Europe to offer a revolutionary minimally invasive skin tightening treatment that has taken the US by storm – J Plazty Skin Tightening from Renuvion.

What is Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery has become increasingly popular over the last decade and results in significant weight loss. Essentially this type of surgery involves various techniques used to reduce the size of the stomach so that only small amounts of food can be eaten.

In the US more than 216,000 bariatric surgery procedures were performed in 2016. On the whole excellent weight loss is normally achieved with this type of surgery but often patients develop loose skin. Many report high levels of dissatisfaction with excess skin after bariatric surgery and make enquiries regarding ‘Body Contouring Surgery’.

What is ‘Body Contouring Surgery’?

Body contouring surgery is a collection of various procedures that surgically remove excess skin in various regions of the body including the tummy (‘tummy tuck’ or abdominoplasty), arms (‘bingo wings’ or arm-lift) and the legs (leg-lift). This type of surgery is often very expensive and results in large visible scars as well as a long recovery process. In 2016 55,245 body contouring procedures were performed. This is a small number considering more than 4 times this number of patients had bariatric surgery. This is mainly down to the cost. The average cost of a tummy tuck alone in US is $5798.00 which amounts to almost £4500. A complete body transformation involving multiple regions can cost over £20,000.

How badly are patients affected psychologically by loose skin?

In 2018, Marek and colleagues published the results of a psychological assessment they carried out of 1159 patients who had received bariatric surgery. These patients were asked to complete an ‘Excessive Skin Survey’ 4-5 years after their surgery. The majority were women (80.5%). Marek and his colleagues found that women of younger age with greater weight loss after surgery demonstrated poorer psychological functioning and had greater desire for body contouring surgery. Loose skin was found to negatively impact physical and psychological aspects of their day to day functioning.

These women were most bothered by loose skin around their waist, tummy, thighs and breasts. Areas of life that were especially affected by loose skin included difficulties with hygiene, physical activity and sexual behaviour.

If you are thinking about weight reduction surgery keep in mind you maybe left with loose skin.

There is no doubt there are huge benefits to weight loss and especially the dramatic weight loss that comes with bariatric surgery. The health benefits include significant reductions in risk factors for heart disease, blood pressure, diabetes and even cancer. In this respect, there are more than enough positives for going ahead with bariatric surgery. However, all patients should bear in mind they are likely to be left with loose skin and this will impact on their body self image. The younger they are, the more weight they lose and especially young women are likely to feel the psychological burden of this the most.

What about for minor to moderate weight loss with cosmetic procedures? Can I combine skin tightening treatments with this?

If you are considering liposuction it is worth combining this with a skin tightening treatment to get even better results. Please keep in mind that liposuction is not a weight loss solution and that you should be within 20% of target weight before considering liposuction. Don’t believe all the talk about VASER liposuction also helping with skin tightening. This just isn’t true. Even VASER themselves state that their liposuction technique does not result in any significant skin tightening.

J Plazty Skin Tightening from Renuvion

At Rejuvence we offer a revolutionary skin tightening solution in combination with all our liposuction cases. We are the first clinic in the UK to offer J Plazty Skin Tightening from Renuvion. This has taken the US by storm and is rapidly being regarded as the best minimally invasive skin tightening treatment around.

Even if you have had bariatric surgery and have moderate loose skin you could benefit from J Plazty skin tightening. This is a fraction of the cost of body contouring surgery with prices starting from only £1995. It is especially fantastic for those who have lost mild to moderate amounts of weight or are left with loose skin after pregnancy – the so-called ‘mommy tummy’. It is also great at addressing loose skin resulting from the aging of skin including a ‘turkey neck’ or ‘bingo wings’ and can even help with cellulite.

To learn more, have a look at our page on J-plazty Skin Tightening.

Call us now for a consultation: 0207 531 6600

Alternatively use our online booking portal to book a consultation.


Marek RJ1, Steffen KJ2, Flum DR3, Pomp A4, Pories WJ5, Rubin JP6, Wolfe BM7, Mitchell JE2. Psychosocial functioning and quality of life in patients with loose redundant skin 4 to 5 years after bariatric surgery. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2018 Nov;14(11):1740-1747. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2018.07.025. Epub 2018 Jul 31.


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