Patients’ Experience of Surplus Skin After Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass
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Previous studies have described that many obese patients who undergo bariatric surgery develop surplus skin. However, there is a lack of knowledge about where on the body the problems are located and to what extent surplus skin affects the person. The aim of this study was to examine whether and where patients develop surplus skin after laparoscopic gastric bypass and if there is any relation between surplus skin and the patient’s sex, age, weight loss, or activity level.
Materials and Methods
A questionnaire was constructed which included questions about surplus skin. The questionnaire was sent to 148 patients who had been operated with laparoscopic gastric bypass. One hundred and twelve (76%) responded of whom 77 were women and 35 men.
At follow-up, 94 persons (84%) reported problems with surplus skin. The surplus skin was situated most commonly on the abdomen, the upper arms, and the inside of the thighs, but also on the back, the cheek and over the knees. Significantly, more women than men reported complications with surplus skin (p = 0.018), distributed over more body parts, specifically on the upper arms, medial thigh, and lateral back (p < 0.05). The surplus skin caused problems with fungal infections and itching, physical unpleasantness and complicated physical activity. There was no correlation between degree of problems with surplus skin and age, weight loss, or activity rate.
Weight loss after gastric bypass reduces the medical risks of obesity but the psychosocial problems remain in many patients due to problems with surplus skin.