What Is Known About the Correlates and Impact of Excess Skin After Bariatric Surgery: a Scoping Review

Obes Surg. 2017 Sep;27(9):2488-2498. doi: 10.1007/s11695-017-2814-3.


Although bariatric surgery (BS) improves health among adults with severe obesity, it results in excess skin in more than 70% of adults. The purpose of this study was to synthesize current knowledge on (1) the impact of excess skin experienced by adults after BS and (2) the correlates of excess skin quantity and inconveniences. PubMed, PsyArticles, and CINAHL databases were searched in May 2016 for relevant studies. Titles, abstracts, and full texts of studies retrieved were screened independently by two reviewers against inclusion criteria: (1) peer-reviewed primary research studies, (2) samples with adults who underwent BS, and (3) studies reporting the impact of excess skin and/or excess skin correlates. Thirteen quantitative and eleven qualitative studies met inclusion criteria. Negative physical, psychosocial, and daily life impacts of excess skin were reported in 67, 75, and 83% of studies, respectively. Women reported more excess skin and greater inconveniences of excess skin than did men. Based on the quantitative studies, pre-BS BMI, time since BS, and type of BS were not significantly associated with inconveniences of excess skin; findings were inconclusive for other correlates found (e.g. age, weight loss, BMI). Excess skin may adversely impact adults' physical and psychosocial functioning, as well as their activities of daily life after BS. However, evidence is lacking to determine which adults may be at heightened risk of developing or being negatively impacted by excess skin. More research on correlates of excess skill is needed to inform the development of tailored interventions in those more vulnerable to developing excess skin after BS to mitigate adverse consequences.

Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Impacts; Surplus skin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bariatric Surgery* / adverse effects
  • Bariatric Surgery* / psychology
  • Dermatologic Surgical Procedures
  • Humans
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Skin* / pathology
  • Skin* / physiopathology