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Do You Have Excess Skin from Weight Loss? Donate It

By HERWriter
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This article has been updated as of May 24, 2016.

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.

MTF used to have a program that accepted donated skin after weight loss surgery but that program was discontinued in 2011. MTF still accepts skin donations from deceased donors which is used for burn victims as well as breast and abdominal reconstruction. To find out more about this type of donation visit their site at www.mtf.org.

Unfortunately, finding a place to donate your skin after weight reduction is a lot more difficult than one would think and this is why.

According to University of Michigan, the problems with using live skin donation are numerous.  

The amount of usable skin from live donation is limited and requires having numerous health professionals participate in removing the skin, as well as time in an operating room.  

Cadaver donations provide much more skin from a single person and only trained tissue technicians are needed to remove it. 

The University states that cadaver skin can be used immediately after removal, while the FDA requires live donations to be quarantined for six months, then retested for HIV and hepatitis.  That means increased storage and testing costs.

A number of posters have asked EmpowHer about how to donate their excess skin after having had massive weight loss.  Many of these people are financially unable to pay for the surgery to have it removed, so they were hoping to donate their excess skin to help defray the cost.

Health insurance does not pay for excess skin removal unless there is a medical reason for its removal. 
Currently, your best options are below: 

1) Educate yourself about what having your skin removal will and won’t accomplish.  

You need realistic expectations. The surgery is optimally performed 12 to 18 months after gastric bypass surgery or gastric banding. Your weight loss level needs to be stable for three to six months after the weight loss, before having the skin reduction surgery.  

That means you can start researching how to accomplish the skin removal surgery as soon as you make the decision to reduce your weight.

Read this booklet by the United Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).

And read this Smart Beauty Guide from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic surgery:

2) Explore ways to pay for the surgery

- Loans: Discuss with a plastic surgeon about companies that provide loans for cosmetic procedures.  One such company suggested by Real Self is Care Credit.  They also mention CosmetiCredit, MedLoanFinance, and SurgeryLoans.com.

There are others listed in this link but make sure you fully understand what you are responsible for to pay them back. Be sure to check that the company is reputable. 

- Employer Health Savings Accounts: These are plans where you put in pre-tax dollars to provide medical needed funds so that your money goes farther for medical expenses. Discuss with your employer about starting one if they don’t already have one. 

- GoFundMe: This young man, Matt Diaz, managed to raise money to have his skin removal surgery through GoFundMe.

3) Find the right surgeon: Search for a board certified plastic surgeon who is skilled at performing skin reduction surgery. 

Contact their offices by phone to ask about costs, and whether the doctor would allow payment on time, or would reduce their cost for people without sufficient funds. 

4) Cadaver donation:  Though this will not solve your excess skin problem in life, you can help others once you have passed.  Cadaver skin is donated through a skin bank. Contact a burn center close to you to ask about where you can donate your skin upon death or the MTF. 

Let us know how things went for you, and share your experiences with others here on EmpowHer.


SKIN DONATION FAQ. University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center. Retrieved May 24, 2016.

UPMC Life After Weight Loss Program Patient Guide. UPMC. Retrieved May 24, 2016.

Smart Beauty Guide by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Retrieved May 24, 2016.

The RealSelf Guide to Plastic Surgery Financing — Your Top 6 Questions Answered. Real Self.com. Retrieved May 24, 2016.

Finding hope in donations of 'excess' skin. Boston.com. Retrieved originally in 2010.

Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s healthcare and quality of care issues. Other articles by Michele can be read at http://www.helium.com/users/487540/show_articles

Add a Comment30 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I need help I was once 425 pounds and have reduced a lot but now I have excess skin and fat still I need to get so removal even if I can donate cause I cant afford the surgery .

May 19, 2019 - 4:43am
EmpowHER Guest

I need to get skin tightening and removal and I am looking to donate excess skin after weight loss .

September 5, 2018 - 1:42pm
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hello Anon! 

We do not have a list of places or organizations for you but check with your local hospitals, burn centers or plastic surgery offices to see if they can help. 



September 5, 2018 - 3:21pm
EmpowHER Guest

Hello my name is Valerie. I had the bypass in 2005. The doctor never said that the insurance company would not pay. My problem is the job I was working went out of business. This left me with no income, so it was to buy food, medicine and excercise. Even though I have gain some weight back I still have a lot of hanging skin on my arms, legs, that hope can be removed. My question is can anything can be done. I asked the doctor that did my bypass for a revision he reply you need skin removal. I'm going to be sixty 06/06 and I feel hopeless.

June 3, 2017 - 3:11am
EmpowHER Guest

Hello my name is Lorraine I would love to donate my excess skin I have due to weight loss I think this is an amazing way to help heal burn victims. I live in south gate CA can someone please help me thank you......

April 26, 2016 - 6:17pm

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
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to momatrina81)

Did you ever find out where?

September 30, 2020 - 8:31am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to momatrina81)

Hi my name is Tammy I had gastric in 2008 my start wt was 380, my wt now is 198, I need a free tummy and arm and thigh.
what did they tell u? if you would let me know.

March 23, 2017 - 6:59am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Your weight loss is an amazing feat!! Congratulations! I think for health purposes it is great when women lose weight! Not just because of all the risks you take when you are overweight but it is a very difficult thing to do! I have thyroid disease and since I was 19 my weight has fluctuated, some ppl don’t understand that being overweight doesn’t (always) mean someone ATE TOO MUCH but could be a health condition!! So congrats to you! I would love to get a mommy makeover... and DONATE ALL MY EXCESS SKIN!!

December 9, 2017 - 5:46pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

My insurance refused to cover any of the surgery even though the excess thigh skin and heaviness is putting pressure on my "you cannot even see them now" knees. My stomach hangs so low that it rubs on my thighs and looks like wrinkled croc skin or an as the doctor said orange pill. My arms are not as bad but the hurt from the hanging skin. The insurance says that because I don't let my skin go - don't stop bathing and putting on creams and powders to keep from getting massive sores which weap and stink and get massive infections that the surgery would be purely cosmetic.

That is awful - what they would rather pay for knee /hip replacement after the excess weight of the skin pulling it down and pressure causes even more major problems.

April 8, 2017 - 9:45am
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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.