Bariatric surgery is a powerful tool resulting from metabolic changes and patient lifestyle choices that can lead to dramatic weight loss. Weight loss due to surgery or other means reduces fat cells, and resettles internal organs, but extra skin is left hanging. Having the excess skin removed is considered by many bariatric surgery patients. There are many terms to describe surgery to remove excess skin;
- Plastic surgery—reconstructing body parts
- Body contouring—altering body shape
- Reconstructive surgery—restoring normal function
- Or plastic surgery restoration
No matter what you call it, most likely you have questions. Renato Saltz, MD, board certified plastic surgery, answers the most frequently asked questions from patients.
How much does it coast for plastic surgery? Does insurance cover it?
The type of plastic surgery after massive weight loss often involves abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), body/thigh lift, breast lift or reduction and brachioplasty (arm lift). The surgery is often done in stages and the surgical plan is designed specifically for each patient. Depending on the surgical plan the coast is often $15,000-$20,000 per surgery and will most likely require an overnight stay in the hospital.
Some patients may also be interested in facelift after massive weight loss. This surgery is $12,000-$15,000.
Unfortunately, insurance rarely covers this surgery as they consider it cosmetic and not reconstructive.
Is achieving ideal body weight required before plastic surgery?
It is important that you be close to your goal weight, however, we do take into consideration that the excess skin does add additional weight. We like our patient’s BMI to be below 30 and recommend they be a year out from weight loss surgery and maintaining a stable weight.
What can I expect during my recovery?
This varies depending on the type of surgery you have. We generally tell patients to plan on taking 2-3 weeks off work (unless their job is physical) and plan on no heavy lifting or vigorous exercise for 6 weeks (this various a bit depending on the type of surgery). There is always scarring with surgery and we will walk patients through how to massage and treat scars to minimize scarring. For body surgeries, patients will wear a compression (Spanx type garment) for 6 weeks post-surgery.
Are there financing options available?
We accept all major credit cards as well as Care Credit.
Can exercise help minimize excess skin?
While exercising is recommended for overall health, we find that after massive weight loss, the best way to treat excess skin is by surgically removing it.
Can excess skin be donated?
There are no current live donation programs in Utah. There are numerous problems with using live skin donation including; amount of usable skin, cost of trained personal and resources, and FDA requirements of live donations.
The amount of usable skin from live donation is limited and requires having numerous health professionals participate in removing the skin, as well as time in an operating room. Cadaver donations provide much more skin from a single person and only trained tissue technicians are needed to remove it. The benefit of cadaver skin is it can be used immediately after removal, while the FDA requires live donations to be quarantined for six months, and then retested for HIV and hepatitis. That means increased storage and testing costs.
What can I expect at my surgical consultation?
At Saltz Plastic Surgery you can expect an individual consultation with Dr. Saltz and a registered nurse. Time will be taken to discuss your area(s) of concern, followed by a physical exam and recommendations. Dr. Saltz will go over surgical options, expected outcome and risk involved specific to your medical conditions and history. You can expect to leave with an understanding of the best surgical option for YOU! After your consultation, you will meet with a Patient Coordinator to discuss costs, surgical dates, and answer any follow-up questions. Plastic surgery consultation with Dr. Saltz are $95 and deducted from the cost of surgery.
We understand undergoing surgery is a personal decision. We encourage you to continue to do your research.
Part 2: Plastic Surgery After Bariatric Surgery: Questions to ask your surgeon during your consultation.
Plastic surgeon Renato Saltz, MD, is a board certified plastic reconstructive surgeon with an interest in cosmetic surgery, specifically in facial rejuvenation, body contouring, breast surgery and reconstruction after cancer. His goal is to deliver the best results to patients accompanied by the highest level of attention to detail and service.
Saltz Plastic Surgery & Saltz Spa Vitoria
Salt Lake City
5445 Highland Dr.
Salt Lake City, UT 84117
1820 Sidewinder Dr.
Park City, UT 84060
Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians
1160 East 3900 South, Suite 4100
SLC, UT 84124