Can you tighten loose skin and get rid of excess skin after massive weight loss?

How excess skin reduction surgery can tighten loose skin for a better body contour

What is excess skin reduction surgery? Excess skin removal or skin reduction surgery for men & women who have lost a significant amount of weight is often referred to as Body Contouring or Body Lift Surgery.  There are a variety of procedures available to remove excess skin after weight loss or pregnancy, which often involve skin reduction, liposuction and skin tightening.

Body Contouring Surgery is appropriate for those who have lost significant amounts of weight resulting in large folds of saggy skin across the body, or those who have large folds of loose skin due to multiple pregnancies. Whether you want to reshape your mid-body contour or remove unsightly hanging skin, Body Lift Surgery can help to achieve a more toned & streamlined body contour.

10 Most Common Plastic Surgery Procedures for excess skin removal after massive weight loss

1. Circumferential abdominoplasty (belt lipectomy or Fleur De Lys Surgery)

A circumferential tummy tuck is more extensive than a standard tummy tuck. It’s usually performed on patients who have lost a great deal of weight and now have loose, overhanging skin around their entire body. In a circumferential tummy tuck, an incision is made that extends around the entire waist line, through which excess skin and fat are removed and the muscles are tightened. The outer thighs and buttocks are also lifted, and a new navel may be created.

Fleur De Lys Surgery or Vertical Belt Lipectomy also has a vertical scar to reduce even more excess tummy skin.

2. Thigh lift or Thigh Reduction Surgery

A Thighplasty surgery or thigh reduction procedure is designed to reduce and reshape the loose skin of your thigh, resulting in more toned, contoured legs. Liposculpture is often used in combination with Thighplasty to remove excess fat primarily from the inner and outer surfaces of the thigh and buttocks.

3. Lower body lift (thighs, tummy & buttocks)

excess skin reduction surgery before and after New Zealand - Dr Mark Gittos Best Plastic Surgeon NZ

Example Photo of a Lower Body LIft

Lower Body Lift surgery is a combination of Skin Reduction procedures that tightens and sculpts the buttocks, back of the thighs, outer thighs, inner thighs, hips and abdomen. A Lower Body Lift targets excess skin along the lower abdomen, relaxed abdominal muscles and loose skin along the thighs and buttocks. This procedure can dramatically improve areas of sagging skin and/or cellulite below the waistline.

4. Breast Lift Surgery (with or without implants)

A Breast Lift or Mastopexy involves the reshaping and lifting of the breast to remedy severely droopy or sagging breasts. This procedure can often be required for women following pregnancy, breastfeeding, ageing or significant weight loss. A Breast Lift can be combined with other surgical procedures, the most common being the placement of breast implants, to add shape and volume to the breasts as well as a lift.

5. Breast Reduction Surgery

Breast Reduction Surgery, also known as Reduction Mammoplasty, is a procedure involving the reduction of the size of overly large breasts. This procedure removes excess breast fat, tissue and skin to achieve a breast size that is more proportionate to your body. The breasts and nipples are also elevated to a more central position on the chest wall. If desired, the nipple can also be adjusted in size, shape or symmetry.

6. Arm lift Surgery or Brachioplasty

A Brachioplasty procedure (Arm lift) is a surgical reduction of excess skin from the upper arm area, usually from the elbow to the under-arm area of the body. Most Brachioplasty procedures also involve liposuction prior to excising the excess skin. It’s known as surgery to reduce “bat wings” or “bingo wings,” and officially called a Bilateral Brachioplasty.

7. Back lift Surgery

A lower or upper back lift may be performed to produce a slimmer, more defined contour to the back and remove excess or sagging skin. A bra-line or upper back lift is a type of plastic surgery treatment intended to correct sagging back fat rolls affecting the upper back. For a lower back lift, excess skin and fat are removed from the lower back and the buttocks are lifted.

8. Upper body lift (Arms, Back & Breasts)

Upper-body-lift surgery may consist of one or several procedures, including an upper arm lift, Breast Lift (or Male Breast Reduction) or surgery to remove fat rolls along the back. Loose, sagging skin is targeted and removed from the upper body to create a tighter and smoother contour.

9. Facelift Surgery for Excess Jowls and Loose Facial Skin after weight loss

Facelift Surgery can help you regain a more toned facial appearance by removing skin folds and excess skin and reducing wrinkles and deep trough lines. A Facelift involves lifting the tissues of the mid and lower part of the face, as well as tightening and lifting skin and underlying muscle around the mid and upper neck.

10. Neck lift Surgery

A neck lift procedure lifts the back (rear) corner of the platysma muscle, drawing the surrounding tissue up, which greatly reduces looseness in the skin and underlying tissue on the neck. Combining Liposuction or fat transfer procedures may be of additional benefit for some neck lift patients.

When to consider excess skin reduction

What causes excess or sagging skin?

Our skin is a living organ, and it adapts to weight gain by expanding or stretching. Our skin has a limited ability to tighten once that excess weight is lost, and this depends on a number of factors. When it comes to the extra flab you may have around your stomach, arms, thighs or back, the accumulation of fat stretches your skin tight, so when you lose that fat, your skin isn’t able to snap back to where it used to be. Over time, the elasticity of your skin weakens, and when it comes to your stomach, your abdominal muscles and connective tissue also weaken which are largely responsible for how tight and toned your abdomen is. Many factors can contribute to excess/sagging skin, including, but not limited to:

  • Significant Weight Loss or Weight Fluctuation
  • Pregnancy
  • Ageing
  • Gravity
  • Heredity Condition

Why doesn’t skin just ‘snap back’ after weightloss?

Some people are more susceptible to excess skin; your skin’s ability to contract and bounce back after losing weight depends on various factors such as:

  • The amount of weight gained and lost
  • Sun exposure
  • Lifestyle factors such as smoking
  • The quality of your skin tone
  • Your Age
  • Genetics

Quick, drastic weight loss shocks your system in such a way that your skin’s elasticity doesn’t have enough time to adapt to your new shape.

Am I a good candidate for excess skin reduction or removal?

 excess skin reduction surgery before and after New Zealand - Dr Mark Gittos Best Plastic Surgeon NZ

Body Contouring Surgery can help to remove excess, sagging or hanging skin to achieve a toned, firmer body contour. Mentally, excess skin can lead to embarrassment and a lack of satisfaction with your body image, even after significant weight loss. The accomplishment of losing weight is diminished because this is not reflected in the ‘final result’ Skin Reduction Surgery can help those who have lost weight to regain their confidence and body image by removing embarrassing and uncomfortable excess skin.

To be considered a suitable candidate for Body Contouring Surgery, you must have realistic expectations about what can and cannot be achieved.

Common reasons for wanting excess skin reduction

Some of the reasons you may be exploring your surgical options for excess skin removal:

  • Loose sagging skin that is uncomfortable and embarrassing
  • Prone to unpleasant body odour due to moisture trapped in excess skin folds
  • Other discomforts including fear of intimacy due to current body contours
  • Inability to see your natural body curves or shape due to excess skin
  • Difficulty finding clothing that flatters you (e.g. wearing baggy clothing even though you’ve lost weight)
  • Recurring skin infections
  • Chaffing due to skin folds
  • Feeling ‘off balance’ during exercise
  • Feeling uncomfortable and self-conscious wearing revealing clothing or swimming

*Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your Surgeon. Results depend on individual patient circumstances and can vary significantly. Results may be impacted by a variety of factors. Consult your Specialist Plastic for details.

About Dr Mark Gittos FRACS (Plast) – New Zealand Plastic Surgeon 

Practice locations in Herne Bay Auckland, Northland and Bay of Plenty – Kerikeri, Whangarei, New Plymouth & Tauranga

Dr Mark Gittos is a leading Specialist Plastic Surgeon and operates a practice in Herne Bay, Auckland and in the UK. The practice focuses on both surgical and non-surgical procedures, each designed to help restore, improve or change a physical characteristic or problem. The first step in every case is to talk through your personal requirements and explore all the options, before deciding on the most effective solution.

Dr Mark Gittos offers high quality, natural-looking cosmetic surgery results and is highly experienced in BreastBody and Face Surgery having performed over 4000 Surgeries in the last 26 years.  With worldwide expertise Dr Gittos is an expert in breast, face and body surgery for men & women. 

Naturally, before any treatment is begun, we will explain clearly the advantages and risk factors; so that you have the information you need to make an informed decision that is best for you. Visit the practice to find out more.


Please NOTE: Dr Gittos only performs surgery on non-smoker patients with a BMI less than 30. To check your BMI please visit the NZ Heart Foundation website. For help giving up smoking before surgery visit the Smoke Free website

Do your Research

What to Bring to your Plastic Surgeon Consultation

  • Bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices
  • Take lots of notes and read the documents provided thoroughly
  • Dress in simple clothes as you may need to undress for examination
  • Bring your medical referral and any relevant medical documents or test results

Book your Initial Surgery Consultation

  • A Referral from your GP or specialist is helpful but NOT essential – you can have a consultation without a GP Referral
  • Email us or Call on 09 529 5352 to arrange your surgeon consultation appointment.
  • Book a consultation with Dr Gittos by paying the Consultation Fee – $325 incl GST

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Please contact us to arrange to book a consultation with our Specialist Plastic Surgeon or to speak with our Patient Care Advisor.

Send an enquiry form today or phone  09 529 5352  during Clinic Hours