A body lift improves the shape and tone of the underlying tissue that supports fat and skin. Excess sagging (loose) fat and skin are removed to treat conditions caused in part by poor tissue elasticity (Stretch).

Excess sagging fat and skin are removed and the procedure(s) can improve a dimpled, irregular skin surface, which is commonly known as cellulite.

Upper Body Lift

Upper-body-lift surgery may consist of one or several procedures, including an upper arm lift, breast lift (or gynecomastia) or surgery to remove fat rolls along the back. Loose, sagging skin resulting from dramatic weight loss or after liposuction is removed to create a tighter and smoother contour, improving your profile and leading to renewed self-confidence.

A Upper body lift may include these areas:

  • Loose skin around your arms, chest or waist.
  • “Back rolls” or rolls of fat around the edges of back.

Many people who consider an upper body lift also consider an upper arm lift, a tummy tuck, a breast lift and plastic surgery after dramatic weight loss.

Lower Body Lift (belt lipectomy)

Dramatic weight loss, weight fluctuation or natural aging frequently results in sagging skin in areas below the waistline. Lower-body-lift surgery tightens and sculpts the buttocks, back of the thighs, outer thighs, inner thighs, hips and abdomen. Loose skin that looks aesthetically displeasing or causes mobility restrictions is removed. A lower body lift is appropriate if you are near your ideal weight and may precede or follow an upper body lift procedure. Every year, thousands of people undergo successful lower-body-lift surgery and are pleased with the results.

A Lower 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 inner thigh
  • Thigh – the inner, outer, or posterior thigh, or the thigh’s circumference

Aging, sun damage, pregnancy, significant fluctuations in weight, and genetic factors may contribute to poor tissue elasticity that can result in sagging of the abdomen, buttocks and thighs.

NOTE: Body Lift won’t do

Body lifts are not intended strictly for the removal of excess fat. Liposuction alone can remove excess fat deposits where skin has good elasticity and is able to naturally conform to new body contours.

In cases where skin elasticity is poor, a combination of liposuction and body lift techniques may be recommended.

The cost of body lift surgery can vary widely

A surgeon’s cost will be based on experience, the type of procedure(s) used.

Most health insurance does not cover body lift surgery or its complications.

Body lift surgery cost may include:

  • Anesthesia fees
  • Hospital or surgical facility costs
  • Medical tests
  • Post-surgery garments
  • Prescriptions for medication
  • Surgeon’s fee
  • other related expenses

When choosing a certified plastic surgeon in your area for a body lift, remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery.

In general, body lift candidates include:

  • Persons with significant soft tissue looseness in one or multiple body areas
  • Healthy persons without medical conditions that impair healing or increase risk of surgery
  • persons with a positive outlook and realistic goals for what body lift surgery can accomplish
  • Non-smokers
  • persons committed to leading a healthy lifestyle with proper nutrition and fitness

During your body lift surgery recovery, dressings or bandages will be applied to the incisions after the procedure is complete. Small, thin tubes may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood that may collect.

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, how to care for your drains, and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.

Be sure to ask your body lift 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?
  • How should I bathe after surgery?
  • Are stitches removed? When?
  • When will the drains be removed?
  • When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
  • When do I return for follow-up care?

Body lift surgery recovery at 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 results of body lift surgery are visible almost immediately. However, it may take two years or more for the final results of the body lift procedures to fully develop.

You can view photos of the kinds of procedures performed during a body lift in our before and after photo gallery.

Some visible scars will remain, but the overall results are long lasting, provided that you maintain a stable weight and general fitness. As your body ages, it is natural to lose some firmness.

However, most of your initial improvement should be relatively permanent.

Although good results are expected from your body lift surgery, 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.

Following your physician’s instructions is essential to the success of your surgery.

It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself

Body lift procedures are surgical procedures and they require extensive incisions. Incision length and pattern depend on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed, as well as surgical judgment.

Advanced techniques usually allow incisions to be placed in strategic locations where they can be hidden by most types of clothing and swimsuits.

Step 1 – Anesthesia

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2 – The incision

One common technique of complete lower body lift uses incisions similar to a bikini pattern to tighten the abdomen, groin, waist, thigh and buttock in one procedure.

A circumferential incision around the body removes an apron of excess skin and fat and repositions and tightens tissues.

A combination of liposuction and surgical body lifts may be necessary to achieve an improved contour.

Step 3 – Closing the incisions

Deep support sutures within underlying tissues help to form the newly shaped contours. Sutures, skin adhesives, tapes, or clips close the skin incisions.

Step 4 – See the 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. Get more information on body lift results.

The decision to have plastic surgery is extremely personal. You will have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications of body lift surgery 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 body lift surgery risks include:
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Bleeding (hematoma)
  • Infection
  • Poor wound healing
  • Fluid accumulation (blood or serum)
  • Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
  • Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)
  • Pain, which may persist
  • Recurrent looseness of skin
  • Persistent swelling in the legs
  • Asymmetries
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Possible need for revisional surgery
  • Skin loss
  • Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation and require removal
  • Unfavorable scarring

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.

During your body lift surgery consultation be prepared to discuss:

  • Your surgical goals
  • Medical conditions, drug allergies and previous medical treatments
  • Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use
  • Previous surgeries

Your body lift surgeon will also:

  • Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
  • Examine and measure your body, this may include detailed body measurements
  • Take photographs
  • Discuss your body lift options
  • Recommend a course of treatment
  • Discuss likely outcomes of body lift surgery and any risks or potential complications

Be sure to ask questions. To help, we have prepared a checklist of questions to ask your body lift surgeon that you can take with you to your consultation.

It’s very important to understand all aspects of your body lift procedure. It’s natural to feel some anxiety, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don’t be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.

In preparing for body lift surgery, you may be asked to:

  • Get a lab test or a medical evaluation
  • Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding

Body lift surgery may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical facility, ambulatory surgical center, or a hospital.

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