Body lift and implants

Body lift, also known as a belt lipectomy, is like a facelift for the center body. The procedure is performed to remove the excess skin or fatty tissue that exists on the body as a result of age or extreme weight loss. More extensive surgery than the tummy tuck, the body lift is performed on the lower torso and upper legs and involves the belly, hips, back, buttocks and outer thighs.

Procedures That Fall Into The Body Lift Category
Circumferential Torsoplasty
Central Body Lift
Lower Body Lift
Circumferential Panniculectomy
Circumferential Lipectomy

Are You a Candidate For a Body Lift?

There are several groups of candidates for the extensive surgery involved in a body lift. The first group includes patients who have lost a great amount of weight, either through gastric bypass surgery, intestinal bypass surgery or change in nutrition and fitness habits. These people have lost between 60 and 350 pounds, but are left with excess skin on their faces, breasts, backs, trunks and thighs. Many people who have lost this much weight need plastic surgery to their entire bodies, including their arms and face, in order to attain normal body contours.

People who are not able to lose 30 or 40 pounds through diet or exercise also may opt for body lift surgeries. Instead of tummy tucks, which might create an imbalanced contour, people in this category choose to have their whole trunk altered. Normal weight women in their 30s and 40s, often many years past giving birth, also opt for body lift surgery to remove remaining post-baby weight and additional weight that came naturally with age. Some patients select body lift surgeries to correct overly aggressive liposuction surgeries.

Body Lift Procedure

Although the steps of the body lift procedure differ depending on the needs of the patient, doctors often perform surgery on the stomach first, removing excess skin from the belly button to the pubic area and then tightening the abdominal wall muscle. This is the area that is most often loosened by pregnancy or weight loss. The fat and skin from above the belly button is pulled down and sutured in place, and the belly button is pulled out to its normal position.

Lower body lift

People who are in relatively good shape but have loose lower body skin may be ideal candidates for lower body lift surgery. This procedure, very similar to that of a tummy tuck, lifts and tightens the skin of the thighs and buttocks. Lower body lifts remove excess tissue from the lateral hip and inner thigh, addressing sagging skin resulting from aging, pregnancy, or extreme weight fluctuations. A lower body lift does not replace liposuction, although the two procedures may be performed in combination. Lower body lifts have a rejuvenating effect by reversing the sagging associated with aging, whereas liposuction merely re-contours the body through the removal of fat.

A lower body lift is a hospital procedure, usually requiring a stay of at least two days following the surgery. In preparation for the lower body lift, the surgeon will make extensive markings on the patient's body, indicating where the incisions will be made. The surgery is performed under general anesthetic, with the patient fully unconscious for the duration of the lower body lift procedure. There are three specific stages in which the surgeon conducts a lower body lift. In the first two stages, the patient is lying on the side, and excess skin and fat tissues are removed from the buttock and hip/thigh areas. The final stage is similar to the normal tummy tuck and removes excess skin and fat in the abdominal area, tightening abdominal muscles. The incisions used in lower body lifts are designed to be hidden by the swimsuit or underwear, and usually run circumferentially around the upper thigh.

Following the completion of the lower body lift, drains are placed in the incisions to prevent fluid collection. Dressings are applied, and in some cases, a girdle-like pressure garment. Patients undergoing a lower body lift must often remain in the hospital for one night, and occasionally two, for careful monitoring. The risks associated with a lower body lift include seroma (fluid collection), dehiscence with delayed wound healing, skin loss, unfavorable scarring, numbness, and changes in skin sensation. Like other surgeries, lower body lifts may result in bleeding, infection, blood clots and pneumonia.

A lower body lift is a significant operation with the potential for significant improvements. Patients who have done the work to lose a large amount of weight often find that a lower body lift completes the process-allowing them to fully enjoy the results of their hard work to reshape their bodies. Lower body lifts, however, are not for everyone. To find out if you would be an appropriate candidate for a lower body lift, contact a board certified plastic surgeon.

The procedure continues with the rest of the body parts, and often involves liposuction on the outer thighs. In all, the body lift surgery can take anywhere between 3 and 7 hours.

Recovering from a body lift

Recovery from the body lift can be painful and extended. Patients have tubes and drains left in their skin for one to two weeks post surgery to drain any tissue fluid or blood. They are encouraged to walk right away, and progressively move more as days pass. Most patients resume normal activity in four to six weeks after body lift surgery.

Contact A Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Near You

For more information on the body lift procedure, please contact us to consult with a plastic surgeon near you.