A 38-year-old female asked:
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what happens to the organs when so much weight is lost? where do the go, do they shrink? looking at pictures for a class i noticed the stomachs were so sunk in and was wondering where to the organs go? do they shift or shrink?

4 doctor answers
Dr. Adam Hamawy
25 years experience Plastic Surgery
Some : Some organs with a large fatty content like the liver may shrink, however most stay about the same. The sunken appearance may be because of a reduction in the intra-abdominal fat which will reduce the overall intra-abdominal volume.
Answered on Apr 4, 2018
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Dr. Joseph Mele
32 years experience Plastic Surgery
Most : Most organs do not dramatically change in size with weight gain or loss. The exceptions are organs with a large fatty component like the omentum, organs that process fat like the liver and and the largest that has to cover the fat - the skin. The liver and omentum will decrease in size as weight is lost, but most the volume loss you are seeing after massive weight loss is loss of intraabdominal fat. Like the internal organs, the skin too will shrink; however, when over stretched the skin grows. If there is too much skin, it will not shrink-wrap back to its original contours. Tummy tucks, (witch hazel) breast lifts, arms lifts and other body lifts are done by plastic surgeons in order to remove the extra skin that remains after weight loss. More information on this is available via the link below.
Answered on Aug 15, 2018
Dr. Michael Bermant
43 years experience Plastic Surgery
This : This should not be construed as medical advice. I am a retired board certified plastic surgeon. The skin is the body's biggest organ. After weight loss, there can be a great deal of loose skin and hanging tissues. This is best visualized with pictures and videos, not with words. It can take 6 to 18 months for massive weight loss skin to adjust. Other organs fat component can shrink. The fat collected in the abdomen and omentum the structure of the intestine that stores the fat, leaves the muscle fascia layer loose and stretched out. This one page below connect to hundreds of pages, photographs, and movies demonstrating this question that trying to summarize the topic with a few words only offers so much. This is an issue bothering so many that i even built a forum for discussion of the emotions and issues of this topic. The non fat components of the remaining organs do not change much to my knowledge. I have yet to see comparison of kidneys, liver or spleen after weight loss. The main changes to the volume of the stomach come from the internal fat reserves i described. Hope this helps, michael bermant, M.D.
Answered on Aug 15, 2018
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Dr. Otto Placik
34 years experience Plastic Surgery
Organs : Organs may grow and shrink with weight gain and loss but this is not typically the case. There is a large fatty layer in the abdominal cavity and it grows and shrinks with weight gain and loss contributing to abdominal girth with obesity. Some organs can become relatively more fatty with weight gain. The liver is probably one of the most weight sensitive organs after the omentum ( not truly an organ but collection of fat inside the peritoneal cavity).
Answered on Jul 31, 2018

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