Body Lift Surgery
Significant weight loss and the long-term effects of gravity can cause your body to sag and droop. Excess hanging skin can make you look older, heavier, or less toned than you really are. One way to counter these unwanted effects is to undergo a body lift.
This surgical procedure involves the removal of excess skin and tissue from several areas of the body, including the thigh, hip, and buttocks, while lifting the remaining skin and underlying tissue. A body lift or belt lipectomy can be performed in conjunction with abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), lipoplasty, or butt augmentations, resulting in the overall reshaping of a large portion of the body.
Are you a candidate?
Good candidates are those who have a significant amount of soft tissue looseness in several areas of the body. The ideal candidate would be someone who is in generally good health, who is a non-smoker, and who has realistic goals and expectations for the procedure.
Patients who have undergone bariatric weight loss surgery or lost a significant amount of weight through other methods may find this procedure to be extremely helpful to reduce the amount of excess skin on their body.
Ideal candidates are near their goal weight; most surgeons advise candidates who are still planning to lose a significant amount of weight to complete their weight loss before considering surgery. Body lift surgery is a way to eliminate the residual sagging fat and skin after successful weight loss.
How it’s done
Depending upon the extent of the procedure, it can take anywhere between three to six hours to complete. The more areas that are being treated, the longer the procedure will take. During the procedure, excess skin and fat are removed from the entire midsection of the body, resulting in a smoother and tighter appearance.
- The procedure requires general anesthesia.
- Once the anesthesia has been administered, your surgeon will create incisions in the targeted areas. These are located in a natural skin crease, such as the groin, whenever possible. Another common incision runs horizontally across the abdomen, low enough that it will usually be covered by underwear.
- Next, the surgeon lifts and tightens the targeted tissues. This can include tightening loose abdominal muscles, using liposuction to remove pockets of excess fat, and trimming away hanging skin. The remaining tissues are then sculpted to leave behind natural-looking contours.
- Finally, the skin is placed back over the body and secured with sutures.
Risks and complications
Body lift surgery is considered one of the most extensive forms of plastic surgery. As such, it carries a greater risk of complications. Some possible risks or complications include:
- Anesthesia reactions
- Blood clots
- Fluid collection under the skin (a condition known as seroma)
- Decrease in skin sensation, including temporary or permanent numbness
- Unsatisfactory healing, such as significant scarring along the incisions
The recovery time can take several months. Most body lift recovery patients take at least two to three weeks away from work and other obligations.
During this time, you are likely to experience some discomfort or pain. You will experience swelling, redness, and bruising in your thighs, buttocks, and abdomen, which should subside over the course of several weeks.
Generally around 75 percent of the swelling will have subsided within the first six weeks of recovery, and 95 percent of the swelling will have subsided at the completion of three months.
During recovery, wear a compression garment as instructed by your surgeon. Avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting for several weeks.
For the first few weeks, your surgeon may advise you to avoid walking up and down stairs. You’ll want to have someone stay with you during the initial recovery period to help with necessary tasks.
When will I see final results?
Most body lift patients will be able to go out in public 4 to 5 days following surgery but rigorous physical activity should be limited for 4-5 weeks following surgery.
Following surgery, scarring may be thick and red, but usually tends to fade over time with the final appearance being in approximately 12 to 18 months.
Body lift cost
Body lifts are the most extensive form of body sculpting procedures, and therefore the most expensive. When it comes to the cost, the surgeon’s fee for this procedure is usually between $8,000 and $15,000.
Other costs, such as those for anesthesia and the operating room, add another $2,000 to $4,000 to this amount. When deciding to have a body lift, its important to consider all these fees.
Ready to take the next step?
Contact a local plastic surgeon to see if you are a good candidate for body lift surgery.
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Who is a good candidate for body lift surgery? Retrieved from: https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/body-lift/candidates
- University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences (UPMC). Lower body lift. Retrieved from: https://www.upmc.com/services/plastic-surgery/services/aesthetic/our-services/body-contouring-and-reshaping/body-lift
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons. What are the risks of body lift surgery? Retrieved from: https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/body-lift/safety