What is a Body Lift?
A body lift is a cosmetic procedure in which excess skin and fat is removed from an area of the body and support of underlying tissues is improved. The procedure is commonly performed on patients who have recently lost a lot of weight very quickly and have a lot of loose excess skin leftover as a result. The procedure is appropriate for anyone who has folds of skin that have accumulated due to weight loss, aging, or even childbearing.
Different areas of the body can be “lifted”. For example, arm lifts are commonly performed to remove excess skin and fat and create a firmer appearance to the upper arm. Breast lifts, thigh lifts, and buttock lifts, are also procedures that can produce dramatic effects very quickly. It is common for excess skin to accumulate in the hips, abdomen, pubic area, and the back as well following significant weight loss. A body lift can be performed on any of these areas or sometimes a combination of areas. For example, a lower body lift sculpts the abs, thighs, and buttocks in an all-in-one procedure that includes a tummy tuck, thigh lift, and buttock lift. An upper body lift, in contrast, addresses flabbiness in the breasts, upper arms mid-back, and neck. Total body lifts are procedures that involve multiple areas of the upper and lower body.
Though a body lift procedure can provide dramatic results, it is not a weight loss procedure. Rather, a body lift is appropriate for the removal of excess skin that sometimes remains following significant weight loss.
All body lift procedures include the same basic technique to restore a desirable appearance and functionality to the body. It doesn’t matter whether you’re having a hip lift, or a breast lift, the procedure will still involve two basic components: incisions will be made to remove excess skin and fat from the target area and the underlying musculature will be tightened to provide additional support to the overlying tissues.
In some instances, liposuction may be performed on the target area to remove excess fat tissue that is not responding to diet and exercise. One specific target area can be addressed surgically, or you and your doctor may decide to treat several areas of the body during your procedure.
Before your body lift surgery, your doctor may perform some medical tests to make certain the procedure is appropriate for you. You may be prescribed medications and the medications that you’re currently on may be adjusted in preparation for the surgery. Your doctor may advise you to stop smoking for a few weeks before and after surgery, as smoking can slow the healing process.
The body lift procedure will be scheduled to take place in an outpatient clinic, hospital or surgical center. When you arrive for surgery, you will be given anesthesia and your body will be prepared for the surgery. The type of anesthesia for your procedure will be determined in advance, depending on your unique situation. Local anesthesia and sedation may be provided or general anesthesia, depending on the extent of the work to be performed and other factors.
After the anesthesia has been administered, the doctor will then make incisions on your body. For a complete lower body lift, for example, the doctor will make an incision that goes all the way around the body. Excess skin is then removed and the tissues are repositioned and tightened using deep support suturing. Liposuction may be performed to further improve the contour of the body. If a different part or parts of your body are being targeted, the incisions will be in a different location, of course.
After the excess skin and fat has been removed and deep support sutures are in place, the doctor will close up your incisions and you will be taken to a recovery area.
Some of the results of a body lift procedure are visible almost immediately, but the full impact of the procedure could take as long as one to two years to emerge.
Areas of a Body Lift
A body lift can be performed on a number of different areas of the body, depending on your situation. If you have loose, hanging, excess skin on a particular location of your body, this procedure may help you achieve a more contoured look.
Popular areas targeted by a this procedure include the hips, upper arms, breasts, thighs, abdomen, pubic area, and back, but other areas of the body may also be targeted using a body lift procedure. In some instances, only one area of the body is targeted, but in others, multiple areas are targeted all in one procedure. For example, a lower body lift targets the hips, thighs, buttocks, and abdomen, while an upper lift targets the upper arms, mid-back, and breasts. A total lift can target multiple areas on the lower or upper part of the body.
Candidates for a Body Lift
A body lift is particularly well-suited for individuals who are in relatively good health. Women who are finished having children are better candidates for a body lift than women who may decide to become pregnant again in the future.
Individuals who have loose, flabby skin in one area of the body, or perhaps multiple areas are good candidates for body lift surgery. Patients should cultivate realistic expectations about what the surgery can do for them and be committed to a healthy lifestyle.