Development of excess skin and request for body-contouring surgery in postbariatric adolescents

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2014 Oct;134(4):627-636. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000000515.


Background: Little is known about the development of excess skin and requests for body-contouring surgery after bariatric surgery in adolescents.

Methods: Forty-seven of 86 adolescents that had undergone gastric bypass surgery answered two questionnaires regarding excess skin and requests for and performed body-contouring surgery. An objective assessment of the amount of excess skin was also performed. The results were compared to earlier results from postbariatric adults.

Results: The most common overall problem in adolescents was the feeling of having an unattractive body (91 percent). The most common locations for developing excess skin were the upper arms and thighs according to the measurements. Five of 47 adolescents had undergone body-contouring surgery, and 88 percent of the others desired one or more body-contouring operations. Correlations were found between the objectively measured excess skin and the subjectively experienced amount of excess skin. Correlations were also found between the measured excess skin and the experienced discomfort of excess skin for the abdomen, breast/chest, upper arms, and chin.

Conclusions: The authors' results indicate that bariatric surgery in adolescents often leads to severe problems associated with excess skin in both sexes. Thus, the commonly held belief that young people do not develop excess skin to the same extent as adults is strongly questioned. Health care professionals must address the current imbalance between requests for and the performance of body-contouring surgery in adolescents.

Clinical question/level of evidence: Therapeutic, IV.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cosmetic Techniques*
  • Dermatologic Surgical Procedures*
  • Female
  • Gastric Bypass*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / methods
  • Skin / pathology
  • Young Adult