Elephant Skin

Updated on December 17, 2012
K.W. asks from Sand Springs, OK
14 answers

I have recently lost a lot of weight (almost 70 pounds) and have about 10 more to go before I hit my goal. I've done it the correct way, through eating right and exercising, and I am proud of myself, BUT...now I have all of this skin that I call "elephant skin" because that's what it looks like to me, just hanging and wrinkly. I'm muscular underneath the excess skin but it just looks so bad that I hate it. I know I could have plastic surgery to take care of it but I really can't afford to do that. Does anyone know of a way to get rid of excess skin without surgery? It sucks that I've lost all this weight and still look better in pants and long sleeves than in shorts and summery shirts...ugh! Help, please!!!

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answers from New Orleans on

This is just a rumor. Burn centers won't take our skin. I forget the logistics of it; but our skin is not good for this.

ETA link on info about why this won't work http://www.traumaburn.org/who/skinbank/faq.shtml
I recently lost a great deal of weight and I have a lots of excess skin. Can I donate my excess skin to a skin bank to help burn patients? Will a tissue bank pay for my skin reduction surgery if I agree to donate my tissue?
These questions are asked quite often by individuals who have lost large amounts of weight and have excess skin folds. We appreciate your desire to donate, however, this kind of donation is unworkable. Allow me to explain why:

Our center does not obtain skin from these patients for several reasons. First, this method of obtaining skin is cost prohibitive. The amount of transplantable tissue obtained from tissue reduction surgery is minimal when compared to the amount of tissue obtained from a cadaveric (deceased) tissue donor. The procurement costs would be much greater as it would require the services of doctors, nurses, anesthetists, and other health care professionals as well as the use of an operating room and other hospital services. Cadaveric donation requires only trained tissue recovery technicians, and they can procure tissue after the body has been sent to the morgue (rather than in an operating room), thus keeping expenses to a minimum.

Additionally, cadaveric donated tissue can be used for transplant soon after recovery (as soon as quality assurance testing is complete), however, the FDA requires that tissues recovered from living donors must be placed into quarantine for six months. At the end of six months, all serologic testing (HIV and Hepatitis) of the donor must be repeated before that tissue can be used.

It is extremely difficult to obtain a skin graft from tissue than has been removed during tissue reduction surgery. The usual procedure for tissue reduction surgery involves the removal of skin and underlying attached tissues, often several centimeters. Skin grafts used for transplant (burn patients) are only 15/1000 (0.015) of an inch thick and do not include these underlying tissues. Skin grafts for transplant are obtained by the use of a surgical device called a dermatome, which peels off a very thin (0.015 inch) uniform layer of skin.

I do not know of any tissue bank that would pay for a donor's tissue reduction surgical expenses for the purpose of obtaining skin for transplantation. If you are interested in donating your tissues upon your death I would encourage you to share this information with your family. Your gift can save lives and greatly reduce suffering.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fayetteville on

Oh, as a new mother I feel your pain. I've got it right here under my shirt, as well. You know, it might be $8,000 or so, and you might do a payment plan. Or you might just save up and look forward to doing it in a year or two or three. Give up the cable, or go vegetarian (beans and rice make delicious cheap eatin'!) or do something else that saves you a particular sum of money every week, and put that extra amount that you save towards it.

You could also just pick the areas that bother you the most and just have those worked on.

I don't know that there is any other option. Sorry.




answers from Longview on

congrats on the wieght loss!! I am fighting the same problem along with many other women. I am a 24 year old mother of 2 and after haveing my last son (9lbs 20z) he left me with some major battle scars. I also have had two c-sections which makes it worse. i went down from 220lbs to 159lbs and am more insecure than when i was bigger. I have tried wraps creams oils lotions and finally the only soution is surgery. I cant of course afford that either but one day i will get it. my nutritionist and trainer says it is impossible to get it back the way it was because of elasticity and once you lose that its gone and the older you are the less you have. but i was prone and have the genes to get it. my mother is the same.
so if you have done all the toning you can and its still there, there is no other way. Its just not fair huh.



answers from Tuscaloosa on

I also have this problem and have spoken with the Dr about it. The only "cure" is surgery. I have not consulted with a plastic surgeon yet because I'd like to lose a bit more weight before I have surgery. I am planning on saving up as much as can because I know it will be at least another year before I get the rest of the weight off. Some surgeons have a payment plan you can follow, you make a down payment and then monthly payments on the surgery until it is paid off. It is doable, but also keep in mind since you work it will mean time off for recovery, as well.
Also if you plan on having anymore children definitely wait until after before having surgery.



answers from Oklahoma City on

K.! First let me say CONGRATS on the weight loss! I too suffered from being overweight after some intestinal problems last year. I now have lost 55 lbs and have no loose skin. This is because I take Herbalife's line of products. I used these products for my weight loss and they made me have so much energy, feel better than I have ever felt in my life and NO EXCERCISE! HA! All of these products are all natural and they work on a cellular level, repairing all of our damaged cells in our body. The product that would help you with your particular problem (the loose skin) is the cell activator and the cell-u-loss; these products actuall put elasticity back in your skin; getting rid of that loose skin. The only reason I sell the products is because what they did for me! my email is [email protected]____.com and my cell phone is ###-###-####; home ###-###-####. Good luck and I look forward to hearing from you!

S. Woodall
Independent Herbalife Distributor



answers from Oklahoma City on

congrats! i have lost 175 lbs!!! and i have all the excess skin too.... i am going to check out the burn center here in okc and see if they would be willing to foot the bill for the donation of all the excess skin and I have a LOT of it.... so check out the burn center where you live and perhaps they will be able to help since they can use our extra skin!!!



answers from Oklahoma City on

I'm so happy for you, congrats! While I'm not sure about treating the excess skin non-surgically (the only thing I could come up with is regular massaging - it increases bloodflow and improves elasticity, Akins(.com) would have a good idea if there's anything over the counter to help you). I do know that some surgeons are now doing "skin donor" programs. The excess skin is actually donated just like any other organ for burn victims, cancer reconstruction, etc. and I think your surgery might even be covered. If you're in the OKC area, Dr. Sawan at OU Physicians is a participant, and his reception staff would be able to give you more info about the procedure. Good luck and enjoy your new body and health :}



answers from Biloxi on

ok my dad lives in texas and his girl friend had the by pass surgery, well she wound up with the estra skin too, well i don't know if they do this every where but the burn center there is going to do her surgery for free because they can use that skin. i don't know if it like that at all burn centers but i'd deffinatly check it out =)

and congrats on loosing all that weight =) you go girl !!!



answers from Baton Rouge on

K. I sure hope the burn center will help you.

I wish to congratulate you for not only what you did
but also for what you are doing.

I hope you graduate from school with flying colors, if not remember those who make it big in this world in majority of the cases did not pass from the top of the clss.

God Bless



answers from Rochester on

I have no answer just the same exact question!



answers from Oklahoma City on

Have you ever seen the before and after pictures of people who use Arbonne's anti-aging body care products? I would be so happy to send you some free samples to try!

L. ###-###-####



answers from Oklahoma City on

i don't know how recently you lost all the weight (congrats!) but don't completely give up on your skin shrinking. It probably won't go all the way back to where you would like, but you should continue to see improvements for a year or two. Skin is slow to adjust.



answers from Oklahoma City on


I am a Mary K. consultant and we have 2products that may help you firm your skin faster. One is called Visibly Fit and is helps improve the skins clarity, firmness, elasticity and texture.
We also have Cellu-Shape which helps strengthen the sking's support system.



answers from Houma on

DEar K.,
I understand how you feel, I had gastric bypass surgery and lost 128 pounds. I too hate the way the excess skin hangs. I also cannot afford any plastic surgery and have looked for additional ideas to help. The only thing I have found and continue to hear is EXERCISE, EXERCISE, AND AGAIN. Walking will help take off excess pounds and does help a little but the one thing that I believe helps is drink lots and lots of water. It helps to bring the elasticity of the skin back. Good luck!
S. B

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