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Do You Have Excess Skin from Weight Loss? Donate It

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It seems sort of a waste to not do something with that excess skin from your waist if you want to have surgery to remove it. In 2007, Dr. Beverly Shafer must have thought the same thing when she asked her patient Nina Esile if she would be willing to donate the excess skin from her tummy tuck to the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (MTF). The New Jersey tissue bank is the only living skin donor program in the U.S.

Traditionally, skin donation has come from donors who are deceased. The skin used is extremely thin, thinner than a piece of Kleenex, and is used to treat burn patients. However in recent years, doctors have begun performing more complex surgeries that require larger and thicker amounts of skin. Researchers have developed newer techniques to be able to use skin from live skin donors to fill this need. These larger pieces of skin can be used for breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, for abdominal wall covering after a hernia repair as well as filling any larger gaps that have created deformities elsewhere in the body.

According to Martha Anderson of the MTF as reported to Boston.com, "Recipients do not have to take antirejection drugs for living skin or deceased skin, because we have taken the cells out," Anderson said. "We don't have to do blood-type matching, either -- none of the matching you have to do with organs."

The technique for handling and treating donor skin has continued to be perfected so that unwanted fat and other cells are removed before the skin is stored and frozen for donation. There is no charge for donating live skin and the National Organ Transplant Act prohibits selling or buying any donor tissue.

According to Cindy Gordon of MTF, currently, there are only 70 surgeons who are working with MTF on the program but the need for live donor skin has grown tremendously over that last few years. As of 2007, there were over 300 live skin donations performed but the number has risen to over 1,600 in 2009.

If you or someone you know is interested in donating their unwanted excess skin, contact the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation at mtf.org/donor/living_skin.html.

Add a Comment25 Comments


Hello my name is catrina I had weight loss surgery 9 months ago I have lost about 200 lbs. I have alot of extra skin that I need removed but I do not have the money for a surgery to have it removed. I was wanting to donate my extra skin to burn victims. But I don't know who I would contact and if they would do it for free or hopefully really cheap. So I was hoping someone could help me and let me know a few places to contact. I am from greenville tx. If anyone can help it would be greatly appreciated. It's so hard to keep myself clean multiple showers per day and having to carry around baby wipes and powder to constantly clean the extra skin to prevent from rashes it's not easy and I could really use the help.

February 1, 2016 - 9:38pm
Michele Blacksberg RN HERWriter (reply to momatrina81)

Hi Katrina,  Good job on your weight loss.  If you read through the comments you will see that I suggest for other readers to contact doctors who are close to you one by one and ask them for help.  You can also try hospitals near you.  I would write a short letter and email any medical source you think may be worth contacting.  

You can also contact: Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation

125 May Street 
Edison, NJ 08837
Fax: 732-661-2298

To see if they have any suggestions.
Good luck,
February 2, 2016 - 5:51am
EmpowHER Guest

I live down in the panhandle area of Florida. Panama City Beach area. I had bypass surgery about 20 yrs ago, and lost 100 lbs and have heat it off. I have lots of loose skin on tummy, thighs, arms, etc... I actually have extra skin everywhere!!! I am disabled and can't afford to have it removed and I'm sure Medicare wouldn't pay for it, is there any place for me to donate the skin and are there any programs to help me pay the expenses of the surgery out there??

December 28, 2015 - 8:50pm
EmpowHER Guest

Successful gastric bypass surgery left me with a lot of loose, hanging skin. My surgeon recommended an upper body lift and an arm lift - and I didnt want to get surgery again! I want to be healthy and skinny. I started using the Somlauxe Firming Lotion and I am very pleased with the results. The Somaluxe Firming Lotion is definitely an alternative to more surgery. Just use it for 1-2 months and your arms will get firm like mine! I can now wear short sleeves with confidence!

December 15, 2015 - 7:44pm
Michele Blacksberg RN HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

I caution anyone who uses this skin product mentioned above that it may do nothing. Amazon sells it for $25 and I suspect the positive reviews are fake. Buyer beware.

December 16, 2015 - 5:51am
EmpowHER Guest

Hello I'm Kiki,
Over the last two year I have lost 147lbs and I have a ton of extra skin. I was told that ULCA removed the skin for free if you donate it, and I would love to donate my skin. It's just I live in Arizona and I'm not 100% sure how accurate that information is. I still very much want to donate my skin and I wanna do it while I'm still young, which I'm 25 now. Like others I'm low on funds, so could you please show me the direction on where I could find the solution to my problem.
Thank you.

October 5, 2015 - 1:32am
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Kiki

Well done on the weight loss! 


You need to call around Arizona hospitals and see what they have to offer - also call UCLA. 



October 5, 2015 - 6:15am
EmpowHER Guest

Hello my name is condoa. I was wondering if I can do this. Two years ago I had a surgery to lose weight. How ever the weight went away but I have so much access fat hanging off of me. To the point that it's embarrassing to go to water parks wearing a bath suit. I'm 28 years old and I'm from Brooklyn ny. Can you help me olease

August 31, 2015 - 10:27am
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Condoa

Well done on your weight loss.  Try here for more information:

Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation
125 May Street 
Edison, NJ 08837
Fax: 732-661-2298

August 31, 2015 - 4:04pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Susan Cody)

The Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation no longer has a "skin donation post weigh loss" program (the program ended over 3 years ago). We are not aware of any group that is currently accepting skin donations from significant weight loss, so we do not have any more information to relay. Thank you!

January 21, 2016 - 3:04pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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