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Bad News! Plastic Surgery Often Required After Massive Weight Loss


After losing hundreds of pounds through weight loss surgery, many patients have excess skin that may require surgery to remove. As in the case of Biggest Loser winner Danny Cahill, a combination of surgical procedures can give dramatic results after extreme weight loss.

Weight loss surgeries, or bariatric surgery, has steadily increased year over year in the past 2 decades. Statistics from the American Society for Bariatric Surgery show that in 1993, less than 17,000 weight loss surgeries were performed. A mere decade later, that figure climbed 600% to 103,000 weight loss surgeries performed in 2003. As the number of weight loss surgeries climb, so do weight-loss-related surgical procedures, mainly to address excess skin that occurs after losing such a large amount of weight.

biggest loser before and after
Before and After Photos of Cosmetic Surgery Results of Biggest Loser winner Danny Cahill
Image Courtesy of www.thedoctorstv.com

As seen on The Doctors, the winner of NBC's season 8 Biggest Loser, Danny Cahill returned to the set after undergoing a few surgical procedures to show off his new body. After losing 239 pounds on the The Biggest Loser, albeit without the aid of weight loss surgery, Danny still had a massive amount of skin that used to house the extra weight. After losing 55.58% of his total starting weight, this excess skin was essentially just hanging off of his body.

For patients that have undergone bariatric surgery or have lost a massive amount of weight, similar to Danny, these cosmetic surgery options are available to address excess skin:
  • Tummy Tuck

    Dr. Drew Ordon removed Danny's excess skin around his stomach through a tummy tuck. Typically performed on mothers who have excess fat, skin and muscle damage due to pregnancy, tummy tucks involve removing extra skin and repairing muscles. However, in cases following massive weight loss, the tummy tuck may be used to remove excess skin on the trunk through an incision that transverses the stomach. After removing loose skin and repositioning the belly button, the incision is sewn back up.

  • Breast Reduction

    Traditionally a breast reduction addresses sagging or drooping breasts on females or as treatment for gynecomastia for males: male breast reduction. Breast reduction may be used in patients who have experienced major weight loss of either sex. In Danny's case, the excess skin gave him the appearance of having drooping breasts. A breast reduction removed the excess skin and after repositioning the nipple, Danny had a more normalized male chest.

  • Body Lift

    For patients who have undergone severe weight loss, a body lift may be in order. For many years, Houston plastic surgeon Dr. Paul Vitenas has worked to develop a body lift procedure that removes excess skin from not only the stomach, but stretches around to remove excess skin from the back too. According to Dr. Vitenas, "A body lift balances both the front and the back and is truly a transformative process." The body lift not only addresses excess skin in specific areas, it lifts skin all over. "Patients' buttocks are lifted after a body lift," says Dr. Vitenas, "And so are their thighs - they actually have fewer wrinkles in their thighs. It's just a really wonderful procedure."
    removing excess skin the doctors
    Actual Body Lift Results of Dr. Paul Vitenas

As these are major surgeries, patients can expect significant downtime after undergoing any of these procedures . Recovery may take up to 2 weeks and returning to normal activity may take up to 6 weeks. It is important to discuss all your options with your physician, especially after weight loss surgery, to find the best option for your needs.