Nancy Makin weighed more than 700 pounds. Her weight kept her indoors, partly because it was difficult to move and partly because she didn't want to be seen. This morning on Good Morning America, she shares her story of losing the weight and regaining her life. Sadly, for those who have lost a significant amount of weight like Nancy, they are left with loose skin and stretch marks which can make it difficult to enjoy their weight loss success.
Tummy tuck procedures are a good solution for those with a mild or moderate level of skin laxity. This surgical treatment removes excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen as well as tightens the muscles of the abdomen wall. It typically takes about 3 hours, which varies depending on the amount of skin to be removed, and is performed under general anesthesia. The incision is made low on the stomach at the bikini line so it can be easily hidden when wearing a swimsuit. Often, the physician will need to create a new belly button as it is lost with the excess skin. Most are able to resume normal activities within about 3 weeks. Similar procedures are available such as arm lifts and thigh lifts to assist with excess skin on other areas of the body. Also, for more severe skin laxity, there are full body lifts which wrap around to the back.
New laser treatments can greatly reduce the appearance of stretch marks, or striae, as well. Fractional resurfacing devices such as Fraxel use laser energy to deliver columns of heat to the skin, causing islands of damage with healthy skin for easier healing. Other fractional resurfacing devices which use radio frequency energy such as the eMatrix are useful as well.
For others who've lost a more moderate amount of weight, new laser lipo technologies can both emulsify fat for more accurate removal and deliver heat to the collagen underneath the skin to bring about tightening. SmartLipo from Cynosure is a very well known brand and some physicians are using this technology to help jumpstart a weight loss program in their patients.