Sagging Skin

Sagging skin is a condition that usually develops as a result of massive weight loss. You will have much loose skin that has a negative impact on your physical appearance. Skin sags when the innate elasticity is overcome by the weight of tissues, usually fat or alternatively the elasticity itself is lost.

Some people retain excess weight for a longer period for instance in the case of obesity. This makes the skin to stretch resulting in damage to the collagen and elastin. Thus, the skin loses its elasticity. Losing a lot of weight in a very short timeframe results in the development of excess loose skin that hangs from your body. The amount of loose skin is proportional to the extent of weight loss. Most of the people who undergo massive weight loss do not form more new collagen.

Obesity is a problem which stretches the skin where it sags all over the body. Commonly we see the face, breasts arms, tummy, and thighs, but it could also affect the back, flanks, mons pubis and elsewhere. If possible, we like patients to lose weight before surgery, realistically we recognize this is not feasible. The weight does get to the point that the skin is overstretched and cannot recover after weight loss leaving unsightly and awkward problems of painful flapping tissue and fungal infection in crevices.

Surgery of all sorts is available to remove the surplus skin, but elasticity is permanently lost.

Skin loses elasticity with age, but the process is speeded along by sunshine and smoking. High female hormone levels at puberty and during pregnancy is an issue with some women particularly those who develop stretch marks (striae). There is also an inherited tendency for the skin to age. The white Caucasian skin does not do well.

What treatments do we have to counteract stretching and sagging?

Elasticity, at this moment, cannot be restored, but the laying down of collagen to thicken and strengthen the dermis at the deeper level is an effective substitute.

We must not forget to moisturize and use sunblock.

Non-surgical Peels and fractional external lasers will tighten it but is more useful for the face, where healing is rapid. Lasers, ultrasound and radiofrequency, which spare the outer layer (epidermis) acting on the dermis are becoming more useful. We recommend Indiba and Ultherapy.

 An effective laser applied to the underside of the skin is Cellulaze, a spin-off from Smart Lipo.

Surgically, we can divide sagging skin into that caused by pregnancy, where the skin is stretched, but also affected by high circulating hormones, and the sagging of older age.

The breasts are radically changed during and after pregnancy. Volume is lost and the skin stretched, leaving empty hanging breasts. Restoration is by restoring volume with an implant or transferred fat or tightening the skin with a breast lift (Mastopexy) or both. Some also suffer from stretched skin of the tummy. We remove fat and tighten the skin with an abdominoplasty (Abdominal Reduction, Tummy Tuck). Together we have the ‘Mummy Makeover’.

The older age group have the range of facial rejuvenation procedures, restoring volume with fat grafts and tightening the skin with facelift and eyelid reduction (Blepharoplasty). Non-surgical peels, lasers, neurotoxins and fillers all contribute to a natural appearance.

We offer effective solutions for sagging skin at the Cadogan Clinic, so book in with one of our surgeons for a consultation today in order to plan the best route for your case. 

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