Types of Excess Skin Removal Surgeries

By Dr Jake Lim – Plastic Surgeon | Updated: May 17, 2024

A Guide to Excess Skin Removal Surgery Options

Substantial weight loss is an achievement, but it often leaves people with excess skin, a common aftermath. Excess skin removal surgery, also known as body contouring or post-bariatric surgery, is a plastic surgery procedure designed to eliminate the excess skin that remains after significant weight loss. This excess skin can occur in various areas of the body, including the abdomen, arms, thighs, and breasts.

In this blog, Sydney Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Jake Lim offers insights into the different types of procedures, the factors to consider, and how to choose the right surgery and surgeon for your specific needs.

Download Dr Lim’s Free 2024 Excess Skin Surgery Guide

Excess Skin Guide

Different Types of Excess Skin Removal Surgery

Excess skin removal surgery offers a range of options, each tailored to address specific areas of concern. Here are some of the most common procedures:

  1. Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
    • Abdominoplasty, commonly known as a tummy tuck, is a procedure that targets excess skin and fat in the abdominal area.
    • It involves removing the excess skin and tightening the abdominal muscles, resulting in a flatter, more toned midsection.
    • This procedure is often combined with liposuction for optimal results.
  2. Brachioplasty (Arm Lift)
    • A brachioplasty, or arm lift, is designed to address excess skin and fat in the upper arm area.
    • It involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the underarm region, resulting in a more toned appearance.
  3. Thigh Lift (Thighplasty)
    • A thigh lift targets excess skin and fat in the inner and outer thigh areas.
    • It involves the removal of excess skin and fat.
    • This procedure can be combined with liposuction for optimal results.
  4. Body Lift (Truncoplasty)
    • A body lift is a complex procedure that addresses excess skin and fat in multiple areas of the body, such as the abdomen, buttocks, thighs, and upper arms.
    • It involves a combination of techniques, including abdominoplasty, thigh lift, and arm lift.
  5. Breast Lift or Breast Reduction (Mastopexy or Reduction Mammoplasty)
    • For women who have experienced significant weight loss, a breast lift or breast reduction may be necessary to address sagging or excess skin in the breast area.
    • A breast lift aims to reposition and reshape the breasts, while a breast reduction involves the removal of excess breast tissue and skin.

These are a few examples of the various excess skin removal surgery options available. Dr Jake Lim will evaluate your specific needs and recommend the most appropriate procedure or combination of procedures to achieve optimal results.

Body Lift — Left Side View

Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Surgery Option

Before your excess skin removal surgery, it’s essential to carefully consider several factors that will guide your decision-making process. These factors include:

Amount and Distribution of Excess Skin

  • The amount and distribution of excess skin will play an important role in determining the most suitable procedure.
  • Dr Lim will assess the areas of concern and recommend the appropriate surgical approach.

Overall Health and Medical History

  • Your overall health and medical history will be evaluated to ensure that you are a suitable candidate for the procedure.
  • Factors such as underlying medical conditions, smoking habits, and medication use will be taken into account.

Lifestyle and Recovery Expectations

  • Each excess skin removal surgery procedure has its own recovery timeline and post-operative care requirements.
  • Consider your lifestyle and ability to take time off for recovery, as well as your support system during the healing process.

Desired Outcome and Expectations

  • It’s essential to have realistic expectations about the potential outcome of the procedure.
  • Discuss your desired results with Dr Lim to ensure that your expectations are aligned with what can be achieved.

Cost and Financial Considerations

  • Excess skin removal surgery can be a significant financial investment, and costs can vary depending on the procedure, geographic location, and the surgeon’s experience.
  • It’s important to factor in the overall cost, including potential additional procedures, hospital fees, and post-operative care.

Preparing for Excess Skin Removal Surgery

Once you’ve chosen the appropriate excess skin removal surgery procedure, it’s important to prepare both physically and mentally for the journey ahead. Here are some important steps to take:

Medical Evaluation and Clearance

  • Dr Lim will conduct a thorough medical evaluation to ensure that you are in good health and a suitable candidate for the procedure.
  • This may involve blood tests, physical examinations, and discussions about your medical history.

Lifestyle Adjustments

  • Dr Lim may recommend making certain lifestyle adjustments before the procedure, such as quitting smoking, maintaining a stable weight, or adjusting your diet and exercise routine.
  • Following these recommendations can help optimise your recovery and improve surgical outcomes.

Medication and Supplement Management

  • Discuss any medications or supplements you are currently taking with Dr Jake Lim, as some may need to be adjusted or discontinued temporarily before and after the procedure.

Arrange for Assistance and Support

  • Plan for assistance and support during your recovery period, as you may need help with daily activities and transportation.
  • Having a reliable support system in place can greatly aid in your recovery process.

Prepare Your Home for Recovery

  • Make necessary arrangements to ensure a comfortable and safe recovery environment at home.
  • This may include stocking up on supplies, arranging for help with household chores, and setting up a recovery area with essential items within reach.

Understand Post-Operative Instructions

  • Dr Lim will provide you with detailed post-operative instructions, including information on wound care, activity restrictions, and follow-up appointments.
  • Carefully review and understand these instructions to ensure a smooth recovery process.

By taking the time to properly prepare, both physically and mentally, you can increase your chances of a successful outcome and a more comfortable recovery experience.

Back Lipectomy – Back View

The Surgical Procedures Explained

Now that you have a better understanding of the different types of excess skin removal surgery and the factors to consider, here’s a closer look at what you can expect during and after each procedure:

Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

  • During an abdominoplasty, Dr Lim will make an incision across the lower abdomen, typically from hip to hip.
  • Excess skin and fat will be removed, and the abdominal muscles will be tightened and repositioned.
  • The remaining skin will be stretched down and sutured into place, creating a smoother abdominal contour.
  • Recovery involves wearing a compression garment and limiting strenuous activities for several weeks.

Brachioplasty (Arm Lift)

  • For a brachioplasty, Dr Lim will make incisions along the underside of the upper arm or in the armpit area.
  • Excess skin and fat will be removed, and the remaining skin will be repositioned and tightened.
  • This procedure can significantly improve the appearance of arms ptosis.
  • Recovery will involve wearing compression garments and avoiding strenuous activities for several weeks.

Thigh Lift (Thighplasty)

  • During a thigh lift, Dr Lim will make incisions along the inner or outer thigh area, depending on the areas of concern.
  • Excess skin and fat will be removed, and the remaining skin will be tightened and repositioned.
  • This procedure can improve the appearance of sagging or loose skin in the thigh area.
  • Recovery will involve wearing compression garments and limiting strenuous activities for several weeks.

Body Lift

  • A body lift is a more extensive procedure that combines multiple techniques to address excess skin and fat in various areas of the body.
  • It may involve a combination of abdominoplasty, brachioplasty, thigh lift, and other procedures as needed.
  • Recovery times can be longer, and you will need to wear compression garments for an extended period.

Breast Lift (Mastopexy) or Breast Reduction (Reduction Mammoplasty)

  • During a breast lift, Dr Lim will reposition and reshape the breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissue.
  • For a breast reduction, excess breast tissue and skin will be removed to achieve a more proportionate and lifted appearance.
  • Recovery will involve wearing a supportive bra and avoiding strenuous activities for several weeks.

It’s important to note that each procedure carries its own set of risks and potential complications, which Dr Jake Lim will discuss with you in detail. Following your surgeon’s post-operative instructions carefully is important for a successful recovery and optimal results.

How to Choose the Right Surgeon for Excess Skin Removal

Selecting the right surgeon is a critical step in ensuring a successful excess skin removal surgery experience. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a surgeon:

Board Certification and Experience

  • Look for a surgeon who is certified in plastic surgery, as this ensures they have met rigorous standards of education and training.
  • Consider their level of experience in performing excess skin removal surgeries, as well as their track record of successful outcomes.

Hospital Privileges and Accreditation

  • Choose a surgeon who has privileges to perform procedures at accredited hospitals or surgical centres.
  • Accredited facilities adhere to strict safety and quality standards, ensuring a higher level of care and minimising potential risks.

Communication and Rapport

  • Effective communication is essential throughout the entire process.
  • Look for a surgeon who takes the time to listen to your concerns, answers your questions thoroughly, and makes you feel comfortable and understood.

Before and After Photos

  • Ask to see before and after photos of the surgeon’s previous excess skin removal surgery patients.
  • This will give you a better understanding of their aesthetic style and the quality of their work.

Consultation and Rapport

  • Schedule a consultation with the surgeon to discuss your goals, concerns, and expectations.
  • Pay attention to how well the surgeon listens, explains the procedures, and addresses your questions and concerns.
  • Trust your instincts and choose a surgeon with whom you feel comfortable and confident.

FAQs about Choosing the Right Excess Skin Removal Procedure


What are the different types of excess skin removal procedures available?

  • There are different types of skin removal surgeries tailored to address excess skin in various parts of the body. Common procedures include abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), which removes skin from the abdominal area; brachioplasty (arm lift), which addresses skin on the upper arms; thigh lift, which tightens skin on the thighs; and body lifts, which may include lifting skin around the lower torso and upper legs. The choice of procedure depends on the area where excess skin is most prominent and the specific goals of the patient.

How do I know if I’m a good candidate for excess skin removal surgery?

  • Good candidates for skin removal surgery are those who have significant amounts of loose skin due to substantial weight loss, ageing, or pregnancy. It’s important that candidates have stable body weight that they have maintained for at least 6-12 months. Additionally, candidates should be in good general health, non-smokers, and have realistic expectations about the outcomes of the surgery. A consultation with Dr Jake Lim is essential to determine suitability for the procedure.

What are the risks associated with excess skin removal surgery?

  • Like all surgeries, skin removal procedures come with risks. These can include complications such as infection, bleeding, scarring, and reactions to anaesthesia. Other specific risks might include skin discoloration, asymmetry, and prolonged swelling. Discussing these risks with Dr Lim will help you understand the potential negative outcomes and how they are managed.

What can I expect during the recovery process from excess skin removal surgery?

  • Recovery varies depending on the extent of the surgery and the individual’s health. Generally, patients can expect some pain and discomfort, which can be managed with medications. Swelling and bruising are common, and wearing compression garments may be recommended to aid healing. Most people need to take a few weeks off work and avoid strenuous activities. It’s important to follow the surgeon’s instructions closely to ensure a smooth and safe recovery. Detailed follow-up appointments will help monitor your progress and address any concerns during recovery.

Further Reading about Excess Skin Removal Surgery with Dr Jake Lim

Medical References about Excess Skin Removal Surgery

About Dr Jake Lim

Highly qualified and experienced specialist plastic surgeon Dr Jake Lim focuses on facial plastic, cosmetic breast and body contouring after significant weight loss

Dr Lim creates the best possible plastic surgery results for his Australia-wide and international patients.

Dr Lim is passionate about making sure each and every patient has access to the right information about available treatments and procedures and is able to make well-informed decisions.

At My Klinik, patient safety, education and achieving optimal results are our top priorities.