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Do I qualify for excess skin removal surgery? When can I have it?

Excess skin is a very common side effect of surgery. Everyone reacts differently to having excess skin, but it’s important to be prepared for it and learn strategies to adjust, cope, or (possibly) remove it. Learn more on the Complications and Side Effects page.

Even if you follow all the recommendations, it’s realistic to expect that you will still have some excess skin after surgery. For some people, this is totally fine, but it may really bother others. If you do not have abnormal excess skin but wish to explore options that will reshape normal skin or remove fat to improve your appearance, cosmetic surgery (often called body contouring surgery) may be an option for you.

Excess skin removal surgery is not cosmetic surgery. The primary aim of reconstructive excess skin removal surgery is to remove abnormal skin. Cosmetic surgery goes a step further, enhancing normal appearance according to the patient’s preferences.

If you are eligible for excess skin removal surgery but also wish to further enhance your appearance, surgeons can perform cosmetic enhancements for an additional cost.

Check with your health plan to see what’s covered for you.

Important things to know:

  • Wait until your weight stabilizes. For the best results, you should wait until your weight stabilizes at your new size for several months (usually about 18 months after surgery). Otherwise, as you continue to lose weight, you are likely to develop more excess skin. Your weight should be stable for at least 6 months before you consider body contouring surgery.
  • Recovery can be painful. Many people who have had body contouring surgery say that the recovery is worse than from metabolic and bariatric surgery. In some cases, you may have to be off work for a month or more to recover fully.
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