Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Skinny on Skin After Weight Loss

I am watching a show on TV showing new technologies in minimally invasive plastic surgery. The example right now is women who want to loose their "muffin tops." The procedure is a new less invasive liposuction and the cost is between $2000 and $3500. The procedure removes fat from the area by sucking it out through a vacuum tube.

I am looking at the woman who is shown in the before photo and she has a sizable muffin puff above her jeans. She also does not appear to to someone who has worked out and made an effort to loose the fat on her own. I am thinking "Honey, you need to accept that you have to go up a clothing size. Alternations are less expensive. When you see her 'after' you can see the muffin top is gone. The doctor cautions that poor eating habits and inactivity will bring it back. If she does not change what she has done this will be an expensive and temporary fix.

Will she get her muffin back? Time will tell. If she keeps eating the breakfast pastry, drinking soda and does not consider any sort of exercise plan then I would give her a year before she is back to needing to buy bigger clothes. Is one year of feeling good enough for her? Is it enough for you?

It is not enough for me. After losing over 215 pounds through moderate exercise and changing the way I treat my body and food, I want to have decades of feeling good. I want to know that I never again need to shop in Lane Bryant's. I enjoy knowing that I can find clothing that fits me in any store, anywhere. I never again want to worry that my doctor's office will not have a blood pressure cuff that fits me. I never again want to worry that the chairs in your home may collapse under my weight.

I have loose skin that hangs and bags and sags. It generally looks gross. I cannot exercise it away. I cannot wish it away and I cannot cut it off myself (although I have done that in several crazy dreams). All I can do is have it removed at a total cost of about $60,000.  It has been estimated that my excess skin weighs between 13 and 18 pounds so do the math - how much is that a pound?

I do not have that kind of money. Insurance does not cover this type of surgery.  I have to accept that this is the skin I'm in for today. I will not financially strap my household by 'borrowing' against our future to pay for this surgery. I can live healthy with the skin  - I would just be happier without it. Friends in South America are urging me to come there and have the surgery done for a tiny fraction of what it would cost here. Some South American facilities have excellent reputations for their results. The thought is tempting.

After all the effort that has gone into loosing all the weight and keeping the pounds off it would be lovely to be able to remove the excess skin and really see the physical results. Would I consider traveling out of the country to have surgery to remove the skin if that was the only way I could have it done.  I have to think about this.

What would you do to help you in keeping the pounds off?



Fat Girl Fights Back said...

I was just discussing this with friends, today. I'm already starting to see differences in my skin and I know I will absolutely have hanging skin. I'm a bit afraid of it, but right now I'm celebrating the fact that I'm seeing changes in my body!

Vickie said...

I see here that you wrote insurance does not cover it. Perhaps in a later post you will say more and it will answer my questions. There ARE people in weight loss blog land who have had this covered by insurance through careful documentation with their doctors. Sores caused by skin rubbing together, etc.

Jane Cartelli said...

I am blessed to currently have excellent BC/BS coverage and if I had rashes and sores I believe I could get surgery covered. The amazing thing is this: I had them when I was fat and when I was losing weight but they all went away completely away - when I lost the weight and gave up sugar and wheat. So, no part will be covered and I really do not want to complain. I have to accept that even w/o the surgery I am in a good place today.