Drs. Neil Tanna and Allison Barrett performed weight-loss surgery on Sacara Wilson and Niyoka Morgan (seated).

Weight-loss surgery changes lives

Sacara Wilson of Rosedale and Niyoka Morgan of Corona lost a combined 140 pounds after each underwent gastric sleeve surgery, the most popular form of weight-loss surgery, at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills.

“The surgery involves removing a portion of the stomach, which reduces how much food you eat at a time and your desire for food,” explained their surgeon, Allison Barrett, MD, director of bariatric surgery at the hospital.

Since opting for bariatric surgery in 2015, both patients have enjoyed countless health benefits, including lower blood pressure and reduced joint pain along with a spike in energy level. That’s especially important because both women have young children.

However, there was one significant effect: Rolls of excess skin that hung from their abdomens were a constant reminder of their former selves.

As a MAC Cosmetics make-up artist, Ms. Wilson knows a thing or two about making people look and feel their best. But after dropping more than 60 pounds following her surgery, she was at a loss on how to conceal her belly bulge.

An often overlooked (by patients) downside of weight-loss surgery, those remnant folds of sagging stomach skin can leave patients in physical (chafing, rashes) and psychological (embarrassment, lack of confidence) pain.

“Emotionally, as a woman, it was very draining,” said Ms. Morgan, a hairstylist who lost more than 80 pounds. “Every time I looked down, it was there, like a constant nightmare.”

In January, both women underwent a surgery commonly known as a tummy tuck to combat the overhang problem.

“Abdominoplasty is probably the most common body-contouring procedure following massive weight loss after weight-loss surgery,” said their surgeon, Neil Tanna, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon at LIJ Forest Hills.

The three-hour-plus surgery involved removing excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen, along with tightening of abdominal wall muscles, and liposuction to help trim and smooth out love handles. More than eight pounds of abdominal skin and fat was surgically removed from each woman.

Today, they are enjoying new and improved versions of themselves.

“In the past, I’d shop online. Now, I can put myself out there,” explained Ms. Wilson. “I look forward to actually going into stores and trying on clothes."

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Look North: Long Island Jewish Forest Hills 2017