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Body Lift


After undergoing significant weight loss, it is not uncommon to have excessive skin that sags, making it difficult to achieve a desirable body shape even with consistent exercise. Along with age, skin loses elasticity, which can cause flabbiness in areas like the stomach, thighs, and arms. To obtain an authentic body shape, individuals may opt for a body lift procedure that eliminates excess skin. Targeted areas may include the stomach, arms, thighs, buttocks, waist, and groin, and in some cases, the surgery may involve combining liposuction by using a cannula device to remove excess fat. The decision to include liposuction depends on individual requirements and desired outcomes.

What is a Body lift?

A body lift can enhance the texture and contour of the supportive tissue beneath the skin and fat, ultimately improving the appearance of dimpled and uneven regions. Excess sagging skin and fat can be removed, with specific areas like the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs being targeted. Pain localized in the lower back or extending around the sides and to the thighs, both inner, outer, and posterior, or extending around the circumference, can be improved with body lift procedures. Skin elasticity can decrease due to factors like aging, sun exposure, pregnancy, hereditary factors, and severe weight fluctuations. It can cause sagging of the belly, buttocks, and thighs. While liposuction can remove unwanted fat deposits, body lifts, when combined with it, may be necessary for addressing weak skin elasticity. Body lifts prioritize texture, contour, and elasticity over simple fat removal.

Types of Body Lift Surgery

There are three main types of body lift surgery that target specific areas of the body. One option is the upper body lift, which involves surgical alterations to the upper portion of the body, such as the breast, upper arms, and back fat. The surgeon and patient can determine if a complete or partial upper body lift is appropriate. This surgery may be considered if the patient has back rolls, excess sagging skin after significant weight loss or pregnancy, or if they are self-conscious about the appearance of certain areas.

While exercise may help with excess fat, it cannot fully eliminate loose, sagging skin that remains after weight loss. Over time, the skin may return to its initial state if it is not tightened. This is where mid-body lift surgery can help. The procedure focuses on eliminating loose skin and excess fat in the lower back and abdomen by tightening the abdominal walls.

Mid-body lift surgery

While exercise can aid in reducing excess fat, it may not completely eliminate loose, saggy skin that often persists after weight loss. The skin may eventually revert to its original form, particularly if it is not tightened. To address this concern, mid-body lift surgery may be a viable option. This procedure involves tightening the abdominal walls to eliminate sagging skin and excess fat in the lower back and abdomen.

Lower body lift surgery 

The procedure known as circumferential body lift or lower body lift surgery primarily targets the hips, buttocks, and thighs by removing extra skin and fat while simultaneously lifting the buttocks. Individuals who have lost a significant amount of weight and have loose skin in select areas, those who are experiencing signs of aging like sagging skin and less desirable contours after 55 years of age, or those looking to eliminate excess skin post-pregnancy can opt for this approach.

Ideal Candidates for Body Lift 

People who are overweight or obese may choose to either change their lifestyle to achieve weight loss or undergo bariatric surgery. While these options may be successful, some individuals may still not be satisfied with their appearance due to excess or sagging skin in certain areas. In such cases, a body lift may be the best solution to achieve the desired body shape and appearance. In order to be a suitable candidate for this procedure, you should have lost between 35-50% of your overall body weight, have a stable weight, and wait at least two years after attaining weight loss goals to allow the skin to adjust. If you have drooping fat, skin, or tissues in the abdomen, a body lift may be recommended, although excess fat should be lost prior to the procedure. Candidates should also be in good health, not regular smokers or alcohol users, and willing to maintain a proper diet and exercise routine to promote safe recovery and long-term outcomes. It is essential to have realistic expectations regarding the results and stable psychological health, given that the recovery process for this procedure can be emotionally challenging.

What should I expect during a Body lift surgery consultation?

Prepare yourself to discuss the following topics during your consultation for a body lift surgery: your desired surgical objectives, any medical issues or risk factors, past medical treatments, drug allergies, current use of medication, vitamins, herbs, alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. It's also important to disclose any previous surgeries. Your plastic surgeon will assess your overall health, measure your physique, take photographs for medical records, discuss body lift alternatives, and provide a treatment plan. They will also go over possible outcomes and potential risks of the surgery. Honest communication during your consultation is crucial for the safety and effectiveness of the treatment. Your plastic surgeon will ask about your health, lifestyle, and goals, so don't hesitate to ask questions and clarify any doubts. To help you prepare, we have compiled a list of questions that you can bring to your appointment. Remember, it's normal to have some anxiety before the surgery and to share your feelings with your plastic surgeon. It's important to fully understand all aspects of the body lift procedure.

What to Expect?

When it comes to body lift surgery, you should expect the following; 

Before the Surgery

Prior to proceeding with the surgery, it is recommended that you engage in a thorough discussion with your surgeon to determine whether the body lift procedure is the right option for you. While the surgeon may not perform an evaluation of your overall body health, they will measure and capture images of your body to facilitate the planning process. Additionally, during the consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss the potential results of the body lift surgery, as well as any risks or complications that may arise. It is important to prepare a list of important questions to ask your surgeon during this time to alleviate any concerns you may have.

It is also crucial that you undergo laboratory tests to ensure that your health is optimal for the surgery. The surgeon may advise you to stop certain behaviors like smoking, drinking alcohol, or taking certain medications that may interfere with the surgery. Alternatively, they may prescribe specific medicines to enhance your preparedness for the procedure. It is suggested that you abstain from taking aspirin, herbal supplements, and anti-inflammatory drugs to avoid any complications.

Finally, it is imperative to plan ahead and make necessary arrangements for traveling to and from the hospital. It is advisable to arrange for someone to accompany and supervise you for at least 24 hours after the surgery.

During the Procedure

On the day of the body lift surgery, the surgeon may take additional photos and mark the body parts that require adjustment. Next, the anesthesia method is decided based on the surgeon's recommendation. General anesthesia is commonly administered but intravenous sedation with local anesthesia can be an alternative, depending on the case.

Once the anesthesia is in effect, incisions are made on the areas where excess skin or fat needs to be eliminated. The incision patterns may differ based on the extent and location of the skin sagging or extra fat. The surgeon determines the most suitable incision method to use beforehand based on your goals and preferences. The incision encircles the body, similar to that of a low sling belt.

After creating the incisions, the surgeon removes the excess skin and fat, and then repositions the remaining skin by pulling it into a new position. In some cases, the abdominal walls are tightened, and the placement of the belly button may be changed.

To conclude the surgery, the surgeon closes the incisions with sutures and may use skin adhesive, surgical tape, or tissue glue to provide additional support to the surgical site. Bandages or dressing may be used to cover the incisions. In some cases, a temporary small tube is placed beneath the skin to help drain any accumulated fluids or blood after the surgery.

After the Surgery (Recovery)

Body lift surgery is generally an outpatient procedure, but in some cases, you may need to stay in the hospital overnight. After the surgery, you will be transferred to the recovery room, where you will be monitored by the surgical staff. The length of recovery time can vary depending on the individual and the specifics of the surgery, but it typically takes about six to eight days before you can resume normal daily activities, such as exercising. To prepare for the recovery process, it's important to discuss the expected duration with your surgeon. During your recovery, it's important to avoid any unnecessary abrasion, force or motion around the incision area, as this could interfere with the healing process and cause bleeding. Following your body lift surgery, your incisions will be covered with dressings or bandages, and small tubes may be inserted under the skin temporarily to remove excess blood.

You will receive detailed instructions regarding your post-surgery care, which may cover the following aspects: how to care for your surgical site(s) after the procedure; medication options that can help with healing, administer topically or orally; potential problems to look out for at the surgical site and in your overall health; guidance on maintaining drains, and when you should schedule your follow-up visit with your plastic surgeon. To better understand your recovery period, be sure to discuss specific questions with your body lift surgeon, such as where you will be taken once the procedure is finished, what medications will be administered to you post-surgery, whether you will wear bandages or dressings, when they will be removed, when and how soon you may bathe, when stitches will be removed, when the drains will be removed, when you can resume normal activities, driving, and exercise, and when you should return for follow-up care.

What results should I expect after body lift surgery?

Body lift surgery can provide immediate noticeable benefits, but it may take two years or more for the complete effects of the treatment to fully develop. While some visible scars may persist, maintaining a healthy weight and overall fitness can help ensure the lasting effects of the surgery. Although a natural loss of firmness may occur due to aging, the majority of the initial progress should remain intact. While successful outcomes are expected, there is no guarantee. In some cases, additional surgeries may be necessary to achieve optimal results. It is crucial to follow your doctor's instructions during the healing process and avoid exposing surgical incisions to excessive stress, motion, swelling, or abrasion. Your doctor will provide specific self-care advice tailored to your needs.

Risks and Complications of Body Lift 

The decision to undergo plastic surgery is a deeply personal one. It is crucial to carefully evaluate whether the benefits of a body lift procedure align with your goals, and whether you are comfortable with the risks and potential complications. Your plastic surgeon and their team will provide a thorough discussion of the potential risks associated with the procedure. You will be required to sign consent forms to confirm your understanding of the procedure, and the potential risks or issues that may arise. As with any surgical procedure, body lift surgery does entail certain risks and complications, such as hematoma or the accumulation of blood outside of blood vessels, excessive bleeding during or after surgery, unsightly scarring, skin discoloration, fat or skin necrosis, formation of blood clots, negative reactions to anesthesia, pulmonary or cardiac complications, deep vein thrombosis risks, severe and prolonged pain, persistent edema or swelling, permanent or temporary loss of skin sensation, unsatisfactory results that may demand additional surgeries, and potential reversal of the results.

What is the Cost of a Body Lift?

As indicated by the latest data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost for body lift surgery only covers a portion of the total expenses as additional charges like anesthesia, operating room facilities, and other related fees are not included. To determine your accurate cost estimate, it is suggested to reach out to your cosmetic surgeon's office for detailed information. The cost of a surgeon depends on factors such as the surgeon's experience, the type of procedure(s) utilized, and the geographic location of the practice. Please note that most health insurance policies do not typically cover body lift surgery or related consequences. However, various board-certified plastic surgeons offer patient financing programs which can be inquired about. The overall price for body lift surgery may include expenses like anesthesia costs, costs for the surgical facility or hospital, medical examinations, post-surgery clothing, medication prescriptions, and the surgeon's fee. While selecting a board-certified plastic surgeon for a body lift procedure in your region, it is essential to take into consideration the surgeon's experience and your comfort level with him or her, as well as the overall cost of the procedure.

Bottom Line

The purpose of body lift surgery is to enhance the body's contour and firmness by eliminating surplus sagging skin and underlying fat. This is frequently caused by decreased tissue elasticity in the body. To regain an improved overall appearance, body lift surgery is typically required, which includes lower, mid, and upper body lifts. CloudHospital's healthcare platform provides excellent surgical treatment options, which includes a team of experienced medical professionals and surgeons who are dedicated to providing comprehensive care, a successful recovery, and satisfactory outcomes.

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