Thanks to your VSG and a lot of hard work, you’ve reached your weight and health goals. Congratulations! Only one thing is marring your happiness: all of the excess skin left behind. It’s a common complaint among gastric sleeve patients, especially if their weight loss can be counted in the hundreds of pounds. Some people decide to accept their new body, extra skin and all, which is wonderful. Others decide that skin removal surgery is the way to go. (By the way, I’m using “skin removal” as a general term for cosmetic procedures that might also include lifts, liposuction, augmentation, and other procedures.) If you’re in the second camp, read on for answers to some frequently asked questions about it.
Question: Do you, Dr. A, perform skin removal surgery?
I don’t. In the future, we might bring such surgeries inside the state-of-the-art hospital where we do bariatric surgery in Mexico. But right now, I highly recommend my friend and colleague Dr. Rodrigo Munro-Wilson Cepeda, who practices in Monterrey, Mexico. I’ve referred countless numbers of my patients to him over the years because I’m confident about both the care and outcome. And as my patient, Angie, says about the skills of Dr. Munro-Wilson Cepeda, “Words can’t describe how wonderful his work is.”
Question: What’s the cost of skin removal surgery?
There are a lot of factors that go into this equation, including variables like which part(s) of the body will be done, how many areas, etc. It’s highly individual. That being said, just like the gastric sleeve in Mexico via Endobariatric, high-quality plastic surgery with Dr. Munro-Wilson Cepeda costs a fraction of what it would in the U.S. simply because everything costs less south of the border. Lower price doesn’t mean lower quality, as any of my vertical sleeve gastrectomy patients know. My patient, Zina, had a full belt lipectomy with butt flap augmentation and reported that her cost, which included everything except flights and food at the hotel, was “a ridiculous bargain for the extraordinary skill of Dr. Munro and his team.”
Question: Is skin removal more complex than VSG?
Short answer: yes. Gastric sleeve is a minimally invasive procedure, which means we make only a few small incisions. Hence, the recovery is relatively easy; many patients don’t require any pain medication after the first day. Skin removal, no matter where on the body it’s performed, is invasive by its very nature. The surgeon has to remove sections of skin while also reshaping tissues to truly reflect your newly svelte body. It might sound kind of scary, but Dr. Munro-Wilson Cepeda’s results are exceptional, as is his staff.
Question: What’s the recovery like?
Everyone is different, but it’s smart to be prepared for a longer recovery period than you had after gastric sleeve surgery. With Dr. M, most patients will spend a couple of days in the hospital following surgery, with another week or so at an upscale hotel. For most of the procedures, you will likely have drains and wear compression garments. Some patients have very little pain, while others report more. Pain medications are, of course, prescribed to make patients as comfortable as possible while their body heals. You may not be ready to go back to work for two or three weeks, though.
Question: When should I have skin removal done?
To avoid repetitive surgeries, we typically recommend that your BMI be at or below 28 and that you’ve maintained your current weight for at least six months. Gaining or losing much weight after skin removal can greatly affect the results, so be sure you’re at a stable weight that you can maintain.
The decision about what to do, if anything, about loose skin that often comes with significant weight loss is a personal one. If you do opt for surgery, it’s essential to choose the best physician to get the best (and safest!) outcome. I’m always happy to speak with patients about options when it comes to loose skin, and I also recommend that you use our private Facebook page as a resource to get “been there, done that” feedback from your fellow sleevers.
I invite you to follow us on all our social networks, we are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, we also have our YouTube channel where I’m the host of the #AskDrA Show, where I (Dr. Alvarez) answer frequently asked questions that are sent to me with the Hashtag #AskDrA, subscribe to it! we talk about very interesting subjects.
If you want a more personalized experience and you have Instagram, follow me (Dr. Alvarez) to see my day both in my daily routine and in the operating room, add me! We will have a great time! My username is: gmoalvarez.
“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”