Does Rapid Weight Loss Cause Loose Skin?

Since our office specializes in plastic surgery procedures, “loose skin” is a hot topic with our patients. In fact, it’s not unusual for a patient to have an initial consultation for a procedure, such as liposuction or a tummy tuck, and to have questions about whether they should lose weight before the surgery.

“Would I get better results if I lost weight first? Should I be closer to my ideal weight before the surgery?” and “If I lose the weight rapidly, will it cause too much loose skin?” are the kinds of questions that typically come up and for good reason.

There are occasions where we recommend that a patient lose 5, 10, 15, or 20 pounds before a procedure because the weight loss will maximize their results. So, this is where the question about loose skin comes in. Is it better to shed the weight at a safe and healthy two pounds a week, or would a three-day water fast where the patient loses up to 10 pounds just as effective?

Advantages of Slow Weight Loss

If it is determined that you should lose weight before plastic surgery, we recommend taking the slower weight loss route. While rapid weight loss from fasting, sweating, or extreme calorie restriction may bring noticeable results, it may not be as effective over the long term. One reason is that when people lose weight quickly, they’ll usually gain it back, especially when it’s water weight that they lost.

Then, there’s the issue of loose skin. If someone has a lot of weight to lose, for example, if they are obese, then developing loose skin after the extreme weight loss is almost inevitable. However, rapid weight loss can only worsen the situation. When people lose weight at a rapid rate, which is more than two pounds per a week, it can lead to loose skin.

When people lose weight extremely fast, loose flaps of skin can develop around their stomach, arms, and other areas of the body because the skin hasn’t had sufficient time to adjust to the smaller body mass. When people lose weight at a slower pace, the skin responds much better. The skin has more time to contract so it fits around the smaller frame. What’s more, the skin is more likely to look better without the exaggerated wrinkling and sagging.

If you’re considering plastic surgery and you believe that losing weight beforehand will improve your results, contact our office to meet with our Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Yuly Gorodisky, who will gladly answer all of your questions.