A body lift improves the shape and tone of the underlying tissue that supports fat and skin. Excess sagging fat and skin are removed to treat conditions caused in part by poor tissue elasticity. If you desire a firmer, more youthful-looking body contour, then a surgical body lift may help achieve your goals. It improves the shape and tone of the underlying tissue that supports fat and skin.
A well-toned body with smooth contours often is a sign of fitness achieved by healthy diet and exercise. But exercise cannot always achieve desired results for people who have loose, sagging skin and uneven contours. Aging, sun damage, pregnancy and significant fluctuations in weight as well as genetic factors may contribute to poor tissue elasticity and can result in sagging of the abdomen, buttocks, thighs and upper arms.
Excess sagging fat and skin are removed to treat conditions caused in part by poor tissue elasticity. In addition, the procedure(s) can improve a dimpled, irregular skin surface, commonly known as cellulite.
A body lift may include these areas:
- Abdominal area, locally or extending around the sides and into the lower back area
- Buttocks, that may be low, flat or shaped unevenly
- Groin that may sag into the inner thigh
- Thigh, including the inner, outer, or posterior thigh, or circumferential
There are generally three types of body lift surgeries: the lower body lift, or beltlipectomy; upper body lift or torsoplasty; and full/total body lift, a combination of the two.
What is a Lower Body Lift?
A lower body lift, or belt lipectomy, is a procedure performed to contour the thighs, hips, buttocks. The procedure can also help to treat cellulite. Many patients choose to combine lower body lift surgery with an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) or a mid body lift.
What is an Upper Body Lift?
An upper body lift, or torsoplasty procedure is performed to remove fat and surplus skin from the arms, breasts and abdomen. In an upper body lift, the arms are treated with an arm lift and the breasts are contoured with a breast lift. These two surgeries can be performed separately or during a mid or lower body lift.
Body lift procedures can be performed to:
- Reduce excess sagging skin that droops downward
- Tighten and smooth the underlying supportive tissue that defines the shape of the upper arm
- Reduce localized pockets of fat in the upper arm region
Surgery Length: —
Anesthesia: Intravenous Sedation or General Anesthesia
Hospital Stay: 2-3 nights
Stay in Thailand: —
Recovery: 4-6 weeks
Procedure Cost: —
What a Body Lift Can Do
The body lift procedure is used to remove excess or sagging skin, and recontour more youthful looking curves.
Lower-body lifts can be used to reshape:
- Buttocks, that may be low, flat or shaped unevenly
- Groin that may sag into the inner thigh
- Thigh, including the inner, outer, or posterior thigh, or circumferentially
Upper body lifts can be used to reshape:
- Upper/under arms with excess skin
- Breast that have sagged after childbirth or weight loss
- Abdomin with excess or saggy skin
Best Candidates for a Body Lift
The best candidate for a body lift should a non-smoking adult who had maintained a stable weight for a minimum of three months â€“ preferably six months to a year. They should be participating in a healthy exercise and dietary program.
Candidates who have had previous gastric bypass or lap-band procedures should wait at least one year after weight loss surgery so that the common health problems associated with obesity have had time to improve.
Ideal candidates for body lift surgery include:
- Individuals with significant soft tissue looseness in one or 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 accomplish
- Individuals committed to leading a healthy lifestyle including proper nutrition and fitness
Is a Body Lift Right for Me?
If you desire a firmer, more youthful-looking body contour, then a surgical body lift may help achieve your goals. It improves the shape and tone of the underlying tissue that supports fat and skin.
Before you decide to undergo body lift surgery, your weight must be relatively stable. Women considering future pregnancies should postpone an abdominal body lift since pregnancy may diminish the results.
Preparing for a Body Lift
Prior to surgery, you may be asked to:
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
- Stop smoking well in advance of surgery
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
Special instructions you receive will cover:
- What to do on the day of surgery
- The use of anesthesia during your body contouring surgery
- Post-operative care and follow-up
Your plastic surgeon will also discuss where your procedure will be performed. Body lift surgery may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical center, outpatient or ambulatory surgical center, or a hospital.
Body Lift Surgery Overview
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedures. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
Body Lift Incision
Incision length and pattern depend on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed, as well as personal preference and surgical judgment.
A complete lower body lift treats the buttocks, abdomen, 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 tissues. An upper body lift will treat the upper arms, breast and possibly the abdominal areas.
A combination of liposuction and surgical body lifts may be necessary to achieve an improved contour. Deep support sutures within underlying tissues help to form the newly shaped contours.
Closing the Incisions
Sutures, skin adhesives or tapes close the skin incisions. If necessary, a small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.
Body Lift Results
The results of a body lift are visible almost immediately. It may take as long as one to two years for the final results to fully develop.
Body Lift Recovery
Body lift is a major surgical procedure and requires significant recovery time. Most patients remain in the hospital for one to three nights.
Pain and discomfort are first managed with intravenous or intramuscular medications, and later with oral pain medication. A specific dietary plan may be encouraged.
Your post-surgery activities will likely be restricted until you have adequately recovered. This could include no exercise and no lifting of five pounds or more. Walking is encouraged after surgery; however, further exercise is not recommended until sufficient healing has occurred.
Most people require four to six weeks’ recovery before returning to normal activities, and generally from six to eight weeks before exercising. There cannot be any pressure placed on the treated area.
You will be given specific instructions that may include: How to care for your surgical site(s) following surgery, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.
Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period:
- Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
- What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
- Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery?
- When will they be removed?
- Are stitches removed? When?
- When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
- When do I return for follow-up care?
When You Return Home
If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heart beats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment.
The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary. Be careful
Following your physician’s instructions is key to the success of your surgery. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.
Possible Risks of Body Lift Surgery
The decision to have a body lift is extremely personal and you’ll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable.
Your plastic surgeon and/or staff will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks or potential complications.
Possible risks of body lift surgery include:
- Unfavorable scarring
- Bleeding (hematoma)
- Fluid accumulation
- Poor wound healing
- Skin loss
- Blood clots
- Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
- Anesthesia risks
- Skin discoloration and/or prolonged swelling
- Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)
- Major wound separation
- Recurrent looseness of skin
- Pain, which may persist
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Persistent swelling in the legs
- Possibility of revisional surgery
- Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation that require removal
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.
Body Lift Procedure Terms and Definitions
- Abdominoplasty: A surgical procedure to correct the apron of excess skin hanging over your abdomen.
- Belt Lipectomy: Collective medical term for a lower-body lift.
- Circumferential incision: A surgical incision around the body to remove the “belt” of excess skin and fat and additional incisions that may resemble a bikini bottom pattern.
- Circumferential thigh lift: A surgical procedure to correct sagging of the outer and mid-thigh.
- General anesthesia: Drugs and/or gases used during an operation to relieve pain and alter consciousness.
- Hematoma: Blood pooling beneath the skin.Intravenous sedation: Sedatives administered by injection into a vein to help you relax.
- Liposuction: Also called lipoplasty or suction lipectomy, this procedure vacuums out fat from beneath the skin’s surface to reduce fullness.
- Local anesthesia: A drug injected directly to the site of an incision during an operation to relieve pain.
- Lower body lift: Surgical procedure to correct sagging of the abdomen, buttocks, groin and outer thighs.
- Macerated skin: Excess skin that hangs and becomes wet or infected underneath.
- Medial thigh lift: A surgical procedure to correct sagging of the inner thigh.
- Sutures: Stitches used by surgeons to hold skin and tissue together.
- Tummy tuck: A surgical procedure to correct the apron of excess skin hanging over your abdomen.