Body Contouring after Weight Loss

This information is useful for children and adults
Man stretching before workout, possibly after receiving body-contouring surgery
Why Yale Medicine?
  • Yale Medicine has been a leader in innovative, post-bariatric, body-contouring surgery research that has helped change the way these procedures are done.
  • Our plastic surgeons provide comprehensive, state-of-the-art body contouring for patients who have lost a significant amount of weight.
  • We often work closely with Yale Medicine Minimally Invasive & Bariatric Surgery to help patients who had weight removed surgically achieve the best results.

Whether you you’ve lost 50 pounds or a few hundred, significant weight loss can change your life for the better. It can reverse obesity, as well as such serious conditions as diabetes and sleep apnea, and it can reduce your risk for heart disease and cancer. But once the weight comes off, many people are left to deal with another challenging problem: excess skin that sags.

In addition to the fact that some people find it embarrassing, excess skin is prone to rashes and fungal infections between the skin folds. Other potential challenges range from limited mobility to difficulty urinating to problems with sexual function.

A type of plastic surgery called “body contouring” is an increasingly common solution. In 2016, more than 55,000 body contouring procedures were performed, according the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The decision to have this type of surgery is a deeply personal one. It’s important to understand the pros and cons and to talk to an experienced surgeon about how to prepare yourself for the procedure.

“Body contouring may be an option if you feel embarrassed about having excess skin,” says Michael Alperovich, MD, a plastic surgeon in the Yale Medicine Post-Bariatric Body Contouring Surgery Program. “You've done a lot to get yourself healthy, and you deserve to have an improved quality of life and the appearance you’ve wanted. Body contouring surgery can help complete the journey.” 

When people gain a lot of weight, the skin stretches, and it may not have enough elasticity to spring back after dramatic weight loss. Body contouring removes the excess skin and tightens surrounding tissue. Typically, the surgeon makes an incision on the targeted area, removing fat either directly or with the help of liposuction. Underlying supportive tissues are then tightened using sutures to achieve a result you cannot reach by exercise alone.

There are a number of body-contouring surgeries available, targeting different parts of the body (arms, breasts, face, thighs, abdomen) for people who have lost weight with the help of diet and exercise or weight-loss surgery. Your surgeon may suggest multiple body-contouring surgeries at the same time, or that you have them gradually, over a period of months or years.