DIET&FITNESS Published June13, 2015 By Bernadette Strong

Removal of Excess Skin Was Successful, But Paul Mason Still Had Hurdles

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Paul Mason is still recovering from surgery to remove excess skin. He has had milestones and setbacks.
(Photo : Christopher Furlong, Getty Images )

Here is an update on Paul Mason, once a contender for "World's Fattest Man." After losing about 650 pounds from his highest weight of 980 pounds, Mason underwent extensive surgery at the end of April in to remove excess skin. About 80 pounds of skin was removed by Dr. Jennifer Capla, M.D., at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan.

Mason celebrated some milestones. He was able to buy clothes off the rack and sit in a movie theater seat for the first time in decades. However, he also suffered some setbacks. He has been fighting several infections in his legs. He also suffering from a circulatory condition called lymphedema, which is severe fluid retention and tissue swelling.

Paul Mason once weighed 980 pounds. He came very close to eating himself to death before he turned his life around. Five years ago, he had gastric bypass surgery and since then he has lost about 650 pounds. To give you an idea of how much weight Mason has lost, 650 pounds is the equivalent of what about three men of his height (6 foot 4 inches) should weigh.

The excess skin that Mason was been left hung around him. Drapes of skin hung from each of his upper arms and the loose skin hung around his waist down over his thighs. The loose skin became chafed and often becomes infected. It was so cumbersome that Mason often used a wheelchair to get around.

Surgeons in his native England were unwilling to remove the excess skin because they felt that such an extensive operation was too risky. Such a surgery will involve the removal of a lot of tissue using very long incisions.

But two years ago, an article in the New York Times set up a series of improbable events. A woman saw the article and called her daughter, Dr. Jennifer Capla, who specializes in removing excess skin on people who have had weight-loss surgery. Capla had never performed a skin removal surgery as extensive as what Mason requires and was assisted by several other surgeons. 

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