Extreme weight loss patients discover need for skin surgery

Tuesday, February 6, 2018
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Those who have lost 100 pounds or more often have medical reasons for removing the excess skin left over from the extreme weight loss.

The battle to lose serious weight can be a struggle.

"It took me about two years to lose the bulk of my weight. I started out at 463 pounds," said Zach Vogler of Hemet.

"II was 420 pounds, I lost 154 pounds, said Linda Delatorre.

"I've lost 122 pounds," said Bakersfield's Kayla Calderwood.

"I lost 232 pounds. I'm a size eight now and I'm still losing," said Mary Ritch of Palmdale.

But through diet, exercise and procedures like the gastric sleeve, they've collectively lost 743 pounds. Some of the weight shed is from surgically removed excess skin.

"A lot of people feel incomplete after losing the weight and they really need that part two to get rid of the skin and fat. It sort of completes their weight loss journey. So I make this thing called a body lift from the front all the way up to the hips to the backside," said Dr. Timothy Katzen, board certified plastic surgeon.

Katzen said procedures like this can be costly. "Anywhere from $8,000 all the way up to maybe $20,000. A body lift maybe double that," said Katzen.

The patients lost anywhere from eight to 22 pounds in skin.

In some cases, it can be covered by insurance."Things like rashes underneath the skin, back pain, neck pain. Sometimes these procedures are covered by insurance but it's getting tougher and tougher," said Katzen.

"My stomach hung past my knees. It actually developed a hernia for me," said Delatorre.

For Vogler, excess skin actually made it hurt to work out. "The skin was constantly slamming down with gravity it was definitely uncomfortable," said Vogler.

Vogler became a personal trainer, Calderwood now walks easily to her college classes, Ritch no longer has to lay down to catch her breath after a shower and Delatorre loves going to the gym.

"Everything is easier," said Calderwood.