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Loose Skin After Weight Loss Surgery

Aug 17, 2007
In his blog, Jimmy Moore of the book "Livin La Vida Low Carb", the author posted about having an excess of 15-20 pounds of "loose skin" after losing 180 pounds of weight. In the following comments, someone noted that if one was to lose so much weight, lose skin is inevitable.

Indeed a search on the internet for "loose skin weight surgery" will always nearly without exception serve back topics on plastic surgery. Lose or hanging skin is most evident in people who have lost weight using weight loss surgery. The surgical intervention in obesity cases results to such dramatic loss of weight leaving "hanging skin" on the abdomen, thighs, buttock, chest and underarms.

The argument forwarded to support the theory of loose skin is that with weight gain your skin stretches. Since fat is stored both around organs (visceral fat) and under the skin (subcutaneous fat), you will need to stretch the skin to accommodate the increased fat.

With huge amounts of weight usually above 50 pounds but more graphically with 100 pounds, you literally melt away body fat with surgery. But because the skin was so far stretched, it losses its elasticity and cannot possibly stretch back to its original size. Rolls of skin in various parts of the body are shown as evidence.

But this evidence is really inconsistent with the human biology. The skin is really a thin sheet of tissue consisting of epithelial cells. Considering that the fold of skin can be a thick as one inch it is impossible that this so called "loose skin" is solely fat.

With such huge weight loss there not only loss of body fat, but also lean tissue in significant amounts. Studies show that weight lost by diets only programs consist of up to 25% lean tissue. This is specifically muscle tissue. Also with the same dieting technique, you tend to lose more visceral fat than subcutaneous fat. So even after an overweight individual loses a lot of weight, thier body composition still constitutes of significant amount of fat.

The rolls of skin that is usually called hanging skin is really subcutaneous fat. And when you lose this fat, your skin will go back to its original form.

Just think about it, the skin is a living tissue, everyday thousand of skin cells die and new ones are formed, and since the human body is inherently adaptive don't you think that the skin will shrink as more of it grows and the older cell die?

Well do not get mad at the plastic surgeons for convincing you of "hanging skin". What do you expect them to eat after all these years in med school; furthermore its not their job to tell you there is nothing like lose skin after weight loss surgery.
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