A body lift improves the shape and tone by removing excess skin and the underlying fat. Excess sagging fat and skin are caused in part by poor tissue elasticity. A complete lower body lift treats the buttocks, abdomen, waist, hips and thighs in one procedure.
Body lifts can be used to treat excess skin, cellulite and sagging fatty tissue. Many people who have achieved significant weight loss (100 pounds or more) due to bariatric surgery (such as gastric bypass or LapBand) or through diet and exercise are often left with large amounts of heavy, loose folds of skin around the abdomen, arms, thighs, breasts, buttocks and face.
Skin can sag and lose elasticity as a result of being stretched for a long period of time, and often fails to shrink back to its former size and shape. In addition, excess skin can limit mobility and result in rashes and other sores that may lead to infection.
Am I a candidate for a body lift?
Good candidates for body lift surgery include:
- Individuals with significant soft tissue looseness in multiple body areas
- Healthy individuals who do not have medical conditions that can impair healing or increase risk of surgery
- Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic goals for what body lift surgery can achieve
- Individuals committed to leading a healthy lifestyle, including proper nutrition and exercise.
Before deciding to undergo body lift surgery, your weight must be relatively stable for at least a year. Women considering future pregnancies should postpone an abdominal body lift since pregnancy may reduce the procedure’s overall results.
How is a body lift performed?
A body lift is a circumferential procedure and it aims at removing the excess skin and fat all around the lower abdomen, waist and back. Body lift surgery involves making an incision slightly below the waist to remove the excess skin and close the skin under slight tension to achieve the taut and firm look. The incision length and pattern depends on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed. A complete lower body lift treats the buttocks, tummy, waist, hips and thighs in one procedure. A circumferential incision around the body removes an apron of excess skin and fat and repositions and tightens tissue.
Your plastic surgeon may recommend a combination of liposuction and body lift procedures to achieve an improved overall contour. Support sutures deep within the skin help form your newly shaped contours. Overall skin reduction may be done in stages, over a period of years, as often only one or two areas of the body are addressed at one time. Your plastic surgeon will make recommendations about the best strategy to address all of your needs in the safest and most efficient manner.
Body lift procedures are performed under general anesthesia with a one to two night hospital stay. The amount of time it takes to complete the surgery varies widely depending on your individual needs.
What results can I expect?
The results of a body lift procedure are visible almost immediately, but final results may take several months to fully develop depending on your individual needs. While scars will remain, the overall results are long lasting through maintaining a stable weight and exercise.
What is involved in recovery?
Body lift is a major surgical procedure and requires significant recovery time. Pain and discomfort are first managed with intravenous or intramuscular medications, and later with oral pain medication. A specific diet may be encouraged and your plastic surgeon will guide you on how to reduce the risk of complications.
Your plastic surgeon may also provide you with a medical compression garment to wear at all times except while bathing. Surgical dressings are generally removed two days after surgery with showering allowed at that time.
Your Post surgery activities will be restricted until you have had plenty of time to recover. Restrictions may include avoiding exercise and lifting of heavy weight. Walking is encouraged after surgery; however, further exercise is not recommended until sufficient healing has occurred.
Most people require four to six weeks of recovery time before returning to normal activities, and generally, they should wait from six to eight weeks before exercising. There cannot be any pressure placed on the treated area. Approximately 75 percent of the swelling subsides at six weeks and 90 percent at three months.
Is a body lift safe?
All surgical procedures carry some risk. Because of the significant amount of skin removed during body lift surgery, there are greater associated risks than with standard cosmetic surgery.
- Separation of incision
- Skin laxity (looseness)
- Skin necrosis (tissue death)
- Abnormal scar formation
- Formation of a seroma (a mass or lump caused by fluid buildup in a tissue or organ)
- Asymmetry (unbalanced appearance)
- Unsatisfactory results.
Rare risks include:
- Deep vein thrombosis (blockage caused by restriction in a vein, possibly leading to the formation of a clot)
- Pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung)
- Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
Side effects include:
The patients seeking a body lift are usually quite motivated by themselves to undergo the procedure because they have been battling with poor body image after a bariatric surgery or massive weight loss or fat depletion due to ageing. For them it is a major confidence booster.