At her heaviest, Maria weighed 700 pounds. She didn’t leave her house for six years, and her 5-year-old daughter had to help her bathe, change clothes and get in and out of the bed.
“She was a baby. I didn’t let her be who she needed to be,” Maria recalls.
Maria had gastric bypass surgery in March 2010. Afterward, she began eating healthier and exercising daily, and has lost 500 pounds. But the extreme weight loss has left Maria with excess skin that prevents her from being as mobile as she would like and affects her self-confidence.
“All the excessive skin reminds me on a daily basis of who I was. I hate my body,” Maria says. But, she adds, “I’ve gotten this far, and I’m not going to give up.”
Many people who have lost significant weight develop excess skin around the abdomen, under the arms, under the chest and around the inner thighs. When cells lose fat, the deep layer of skin called the dermis can be damaged, causing it to lose its elasticity and strength. The excess skin can cause friction and irritation, making it more difficult to exercise.
“It’s a shame that you could do such a wonderful thing for your life and for your health and yet still feel ashamed of your body," ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says. "That’s tough to hear, because I think we were all inspired just watching your story."
Plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Daniel Barrett examines Maria and reveals she is an ideal candidate for an arm lift and lower body lift to remove the excess skin. Dr. Barrett offers to perform the surgery, along with fellow plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Zarrabi.
“My adventure has not finished,” Maria says.
See Maria's new body after having nine feet of excess skin removed! Plus, Dr. Barrett and Dr. Zarrabi discuss the challenges of performing the extensive procedure.