Tipping the scale at 330 pounds, 47-year-old Cindy Schreiner decided to get gastric bypass surgery in 2002.
“I was downtown on 9-11,” Schreiner recounted. “And I couldn’t run … I had a colleague pulling me down the street saying come on, you can run, you can run and I just thought, I can’t move anymore and I was so huge.”
It was turning point for Schreiner, who has lost 185 pounds to date.
But working out daily and changing her eating habits has not helped Schreiner obtain the body she has always wanted.
“I would grab the skin and go I want this gone,” she told FOXNews.com. “Because I had worked so hard to lose the weight and I didn’t see all the benefits because the skin was hanging.”
Dr. Lyle Leipziger, chief of plastic surgery at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital, said weight loss surgery is only half the battle for patients like Schreiner.
The majority of patients have excess skin, which could weigh five to 10 additional pounds. As a result, psychological and physical issues often plague patients after weight loss surgery.
“We've had patients that have excess abdominal skin almost hanging down to their knees,” said Leipziger, adding that the skin sometimes makes it difficult for patients to walk or move. “Patients can come in and sometimes they can get infections in the area underneath that abdominal extra skin.”
Body lift surgery was the answer to Schreiner’s problems. Sort of like a tummy tuck for your whole body, Leipziger said, a body life is the only way for these patients to get rid of the extra, baggy skin.
“You feel self-conscious about it,” she said. “You feel like you have, you’re flattening it, pushing it down … to hide it.”
But even with surgery, results do not happen overnight.
“The patient should have most importantly realistic expectations, understand that we can do a lot, we can’t turn people into supermodels, but we can certainly improve their appearance and quality of life.”
Schreiner has undergone five body lift procedures to contour her tummy, breasts, outer thighs, buttock and back. With one more surgery left to go, Schreiner is excited to finally have her "dream body". “I feel like I’ve been given a new life,” admitted Schreiner. “I’ve always dreamt of looking like this. I really did. And it’s like, I’m here.”