Body Contouring Surgery

Quick Summary
Body Contouring Surgery
Procedure Length
1-3 hours (depending upon extent of procedure)
General or local with IV sedation
Types of Procedures
Breast surgery (implants, lift, reduction), liposuction, tummy tuck, butt enhancement, thigh lift, etc.
Recovery Time
Back to work 2-3 weeks. Strenuous activities 6-8 weeks (depending on extent of procedure)
Pain, bleeding, infection, fluid collection, wound healing, blood clots, etc
Final Appearance
6-12 months depending on extent of procedure
Duration of Results
Long-lasting results with healthy diet and exercise
Average Cost
$3,000-$30,000 (depends on extent of procedure)

What is body contouring surgery?

Body contouring surgery involves a range of surgical procedures aimed at improving the body’s shape and overall appearance. This is typically achieved by removing excess fat and skin or by tightening and lifting sagging skin and tissues. Usually, people who have experienced significant weight loss, whether through diet and exercise or bariatric surgery, consider these procedures when they have loose skin or stubborn fat that doesn’t readily respond to conventional weight loss methods.

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Is it right for you?

Body Contouring SurgeryA person who is often an excellent candidate for body contouring procedures is someone who has experienced significant weight loss, either through diet and exercise or bariatric surgery. They typically have lingering issues like loose, excess skin or stubborn fat deposits in certain areas that just won’t budge with traditional weight loss methods.

Candidates often possess the following characteristics:

  • Stable Weight: Achieved a relatively stable weight after their weight loss, and their weight loss has plateaued.
  • Good Overall Health: Good overall health and do not have uncontrolled medical conditions that might pose risks during surgery.
  • Realistic Expectations: Realistic expectations about the outcomes of the procedure and understand that body contouring can enhance their appearance but not completely transform it.
  • Non-Smoker: Non-smokers or willing to quit smoking before the surgery, as smoking can interfere with the healing process.
  • Positive Mindset: A positive mindset and are committed to maintaining a healthy lifestyle after the surgery to ensure long-lasting results.

For patients with massive weight loss after bariatric surgery, it is important to understand that body contouring surgery by itself is not associated with long-term weight loss. According to a study published by the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal, body contouring procedures do not lead to improved weight loss or weight maintenance after bariatric surgery, rather the benefits appear to be in improving quality of life.

Types of procedure options

There is a wide variety of body contouring procedures to choose from, each catering to specific aesthetic needs. Some of the most commonly performed body contouring procedures include:


  • Bicep and tricep implants offer a non-exercise solution for achieving well-toned arms. Silicone muscle implants can be customized to match individual considerations and body shape for natural results. The surgery typically takes 60 to 90 minutes and is performed on an outpatient basis. Incisions are often made in the armpits to minimize scarring.
  • Butt implants enhance the shape of the buttocks, also known as buttock augmentation, with a small incision made along the midline of the buttocks to minimize scarring.
  • Calf implants are a common plastic surgery treatment for individuals with skinny legs who struggle to develop toned, muscular calves. Made of silicone, calf implants are similar in composition to those used in silicone breast implantation.
  • Breast implants are the most recognized and commonly used type of body implants. They can be made of saline or silicone and can be inserted in various ways to minimize scarring and maximize aesthetic value.


  • Body lift includes various lift procedures performed to enhance the entire body rather than targeting a specific area. It can be divided into lower body lift and upper body lift, addressing different areas of the body.
  • Arm lift eliminates excess skin and fat from the upper arms, creating a toned appearance.
  • Bra-line back lift targets sagging back fat and can hide incision scars under bras and swimwear.
  • Butt lift, also known as Brazilian Butt Lift, sculpts and lifts the buttocks by transferring fat from other areas of the body.
  • Breast lifts improve the appearance of sagging breast tissue and are often part of mommy makeover treatments.
  • Thigh lift addresses sagging skin on the inner and outer thighs for smoother and more contoured legs.


  • Liposuction removes excess fat from specific areas of the body, such as the abdomen, thighs, hips, arms, and neck, to achieve a more defined and proportionate contour.
  • Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) targets the abdominal area by removing excess skin and fat while tightening the underlying muscles for a flatter and more toned abdomen.
  • Abdominal etching is a plastic surgery treatment that targets the abdominal area with liposuction surgery, typically for men aiming for a “six-pack” appearance with a body fat percentage under 20%.

Non-Invasive: In addition to surgical options, there are minimally-invasive body contouring options like Coolsculpting, Thermage, and Zerona. These procedures use temperature, radio waves, and laser energy to rejuvenate specific body areas. Non-surgical procedures have gained popularity as they offer natural rejuvenation with no scarring. For instance, Zeltiq Coolsculpting is akin to liposuction without fat removal.

Cost of body contouring surgery

The average costs for various body contouring procedures are as follows:




Non-Invasive: Non-surgical medical procedures can cost as little as $500 or up to $6,000 per treatment, on average.

Are you ready to take the next step? Find an experienced plastic surgeon near you.

To learn more about body contouring surgery, visit the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) website. relies on sources such as professional medical organizations, government agencies, academic institutions, and peer-reviewed scientific journals to write it’s articles. Learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate, in-depth, and unbiased by reading our editorial guidelines.

*Medical Disclaimer: This website does not provide medical advice. Read more