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Flabby skin is composed of three components -- fat, loose skin and loose muscle. Exercise may alleviate fat and loose muscle, but the skin is a more difficult problem to get rid of. To get rid of the skin, medical intervention is required. However, losing some fat and building up your muscles will help skin look a bit firmer.
Your body stores excess calories as fat. The more fat stored, the more fat cells your body may create. Depending on a person's gender and genetics, these pockets of fat are usually around the mid-section, hips and buttocks. After losing large amounts of weight, these pockets of fat may prove to be difficult to lose because they still contain a number of excess fat cells. Plastic surgery is always an option.
Fat Pocket Reduction
It is not uncommon for pockets of flab to persist even after significant weight loss. Liposuction is the minimally invasive surgical procedure that can help alleviate these pockets 3. Liposuction is conducted with an aspirator to suction out fat through a small incision near the pocket of fat. Liposuction procedures remove only small amounts of fat to prevent sagging skin.
As a person gains weight, her skin begins to stretch by adding skin cells. These skin cells do not disappear as you begin to lose weight. The excess skin will continue to be present even after the excess weight is lost. This skin turns into flabby folds of skin. If your skin has good elasticity, these folds are minimal, but if your skin's elasticity is bad, you will notice a considerable build-up of excess skin.
Prevention and Treatment
Excess skin can be prevented by losing weight at a stable rate. Any weight loss that averages more than two pounds a week is considered too fast by the experts at the Weight-Control Information Network. Losing more than 3 pounds a week for more than a couple weeks also increases your risk for gallstones, and the WCIN also reports that a diet of less than 800 calories per day may increase your risk of heart disease. A stable and steady weight loss allows your skin to slowly contract and retain most of its elasticity. If the loose skin is already present, surgery is required. An abdominoplasty will remove loose skin from your mid-section. A thigh lift is a procedure that will remove excess skin from around your thighs. These procedures are performed under general anesthesia. During this procedure, large incisions are made, after which excess skin is cut away. These procedures last two to four hours. Full recovery from these procedure takes three to six months.
- Physiology 5th Edition; Mathew N. Levy, Robert Bern, Bruce Koeppen and Bruce Stanton
- Dermatology and Venerology; S.T.Pavlolv, O.K.Shaposhnikov, V.I.Samcov, I.I.Ilyin and K.R. Babayan
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons: Liposuction Procedure
- University of Michigan Department of Surgery: Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images