A super slimmer who suffered crippling pain from a half of stone of excess skin had surgery to remove her ‘hanging flab.’
After managing to lose a staggering 21st 9lb (303lb), Lexi Reed, 27, from Terre Haute, Indiana, USA, started struggling with the agonising soreness in her jaw, neck and back this year.
Terre, who weighed 35 stone, had symptoms that left her helplessly crying in front of the mirror and baffled doctors who believed it to be sinus or root canal problems.
It was only two months ago that husband Danny, 30, suggested her loose skin could be to blame.
He held up the skin on her stomach and she felt relief from her pain for the first time in months.
After consulting Dr. Joseph Michaels, it was recognised that the weight of the flab was pulling her body out of its natural posture.
She went under the knife for nine hours, having skin removed from her stomach, thighs and butt, and some of the excess fat taken out through liposuction was transferred to her buttocks.
Now in recovery she will soon be free of pain, and while she was content with her loose skin previously, she’s now relishing having a flat stomach for the first time in her life.
Lexi said: "I suffered months of pain, taking four or five antibiotics and was told it may even be a sinus infection.
"But I knew my body and the way I felt wasn’t normal, the bizarre symptoms weren’t adding up.
"A few times I wondered if I would wake up the next day as no one knew what was wrong with me.
"It wasn’t until standing in front of the mirror that we figured it out, some days I would stand there crying to Danny not knowing what was wrong with me.
"Danny asked if the skin may be causing the problem because of how heavy it was on my new body.
"He stood up behind me and lifted my stomach from the front to see what it would look like without the skin and for the first time my neck didn’t hurt.
"When he massaged my neck I instantly felt better, it was then that we came to the realisation that it was my skin that was causing me pain.
"When I reached out to Dr. Joseph Michaels, he told me that the excess skin can affect and throw-off your posture.
"My skin was pulling down my posture it may have caused me to become a hunchback but since surgery the pain hasn’t been anywhere near as bad.
"While I’m still in pain from the surgery right now I don’t have my stomach holding me back and the pain being gone from my neck will be a new life and make it worth it."
Lexi started her weight loss journey three years ago, along with husband Danny who weighed 20st (280lb) at the time, to help their chances of falling pregnant.
At their heaviest they consumed up to 8,000 calories in a day and Lexi, the heavier of the two, had a BMI of 78.3 – a shockingly high figure compared the healthy range which is between 18.5 – 25.
Between them they lost over 28 stone (400lb) and to celebrate their weight loss they embarked on a bucket list of challenges from theme park rides to travelling, kayaking, hiking and more.
Their journey, which was spurred on by regular chants of ‘Baby Reed’, left Lexi lean at 12st 13 (182lb) and Danny weighing 13st 2 (185lb).
Despite Lexi’s surgery to remove her loose skin, she insists vanity played no part in her decision and she was in fact proud of her ‘battle wounds’.
Lexi said: "I weighed 485lb at my heaviest so I knew going into this I would have loose skin.
"I was determined it was not going to hold me back from doing things like rollercoasters, climbing stairs and being fatigued.
"I saw my skin as a battle wound, I knew my body didn’t deserve to carry around the weight of all the excess skin.
"I would have preferred to have ten times extra skin than be 485lb and on my death bed, there’s so much more I can do now.
"I could fit in a airplane seat, go for walks and so many things, my skin never held me back before.
"People shouldn’t be afraid of having loose skin, but instead worry about not living their best life."
Lexi still has been left with other loose skin on her legs and arms, but doesn’t see them as a problem.
Despite this, looking at her new stomach was a moving moment having the $17,000 of skin removal surgeries to reduce and hopefully eradicate her pain.
Lexi said: "Seeing my stomach was emotional, I have never had a flat tummy in my entire life.
"I always had rolls, stretch marks and never had a perfect body, so while this decision wasn’t for vanity reasons it’s amazing to see the hard work over the past three years."
Dr. Joseph Michaels who performed the surgeries over nine hours, says it was a ‘privilege’ to help Lexi and he hopes this will start a ‘new chapter in her life.’
He said: "Excess skin can constantly pull on her skeleton and can cause pain in the back, neck and other areas.
"It’s not just the sheer strain but the way it pulls the body and the problems that can cause.
"The skin can be an issue in terms of their hygiene and daily activities, fortunately Lexi is very mobile, but was being caused chronic pain.
"The surgery will not only help her contour but aids to relieve her body of a lot of excess skin.
"We removed seven pounds of excess skin, the length of it was over 3ft wide and 1.5ft tall, we would have taken more away but need it for her buttocks.
"We don’t want patients to look like a pancake on their buttock, we want good shape and good curves.
"I’m very pleased with how the surgery came out and happy that she is reporting improvements with her muscular skeletal pain."
The board-certified plastic surgeon who has a speciality in post-weight loss surgeries aided Lexi by removed skin from her stomach, thighs and buttocks.
He also performed liposuction, transferring the fat into her butt cheeks.
Dr Michaels said: "It’s really important for patients to know you can’t exercise your skin and for a lot of patients the skin is not only a physical burden but a psychological one too.
"It can really prevent patients from realising the true extent of their weight loss accomplishments but once the skin is removed the physical and emotional improvement is very dramatic.
"It’s a privilege for me to help patients on this last part of their journeys."
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