Background: Obesity is a stigmatizing disease that can cause dermatological aberrations, such as sagging after rapid weight loss.
Objective: This study is to evaluate the effects of obesity and massive weight loss following bariatric surgery on collagen and elastic fibers of the extracellular matrix of the skin.
Methods: Thirty-three skin biopsies were collected from patients prior to bariatric surgery and one year after surgery. Histological analyses were performed using hematoxylin-eosin and Weigert’s resorcin-fuchsin staining for collagen and elastic and elaunin fibers, respectively. Differences between means were submitted to the Student’s t-test or Mann-Whitney U test, with p < 0.05 significant.
Results: The study demonstrated an architectural alteration of the skin 1 year after bariatric surgery. In the histological analysis of the skin samples, a significant difference in the thickness of the epidermis was found 1 year after surgery in all age groups as well as in the 38-to-68-kg weight loss group (p < 0.0001). In addition to laxity, disorganization of collagen was found, with an apparent decrease in quantity and an increase in elastic fibers, although fragmented (p < 0.0001).
Conclusion: Obesity and massive weight loss following bariatric surgery cause the disorganization of collagen fibers and the fragmentation of elastic fibers of the extracellular matrix of the skin.
Keywords: Obesity. Bariatric surgery. Collagen. Elastin. Weight loss.
PMID: 36627534 DOI: 10.1007/s11695-023-06453-1