Types of Body Lift
There are different types of body lift procedures that can address the unique needs of different patients. Some patients have one specific area of the body that needs to be lifted, for example, the upper arms or the buttocks. Other patients may have multiple areas of the body that need to be targeted using body lift techniques.
Patients, who have undergone significant weight loss due to bariatric procedures, may have skin that is loose and flabby in their upper or lower body that needs to be addressed as a whole. When patients need to address the entire upper, middle, or lower part of the body, or all of these regions, surgeons refer to each procedure respectively as an Upper, Mid, Lower, or Total Body Lift.
Upper Body Lift
An upper body lift addresses excess sagging skin in the upper area of the body. This area includes the upper arms, chest and breasts, mid- back and sometimes the neck. In men, an upper lift often addresses gynecomastia. The procedure may be combined with liposuction to contour the body with more precision. Some women opt to get breast implants at the same time as an upper body lift procedure.
A mid-body lift or torsoplasty addresses flabbiness around the abdomen and lower body and may include a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty as part of the procedure. A mid-body lift addresses issues in the abdominal region along with the thighs, hips, and buttocks. The procedure uses incisions similar to those used for a lower body lift to create a smooth, even contour from the abdomen to the thighs. Abdominal muscles may be sutured for more support and to create a tighter tummy before closing up the incision.
Lower Body Lift (Belt Lipectomy)
A lower lift involves the removal of extra skin in the hips, waist, thighs, and buttocks. Because many patients lose the majority of extra weight in these lower areas of the body, extreme weight loss can leave large folds of excess skin and fat that can actually cause problems like chafing and other discomforts. A lower lift addresses these issues, sculpting the body into a more flattering physique.
In a lower body lift or belt lipectomy, an incision is made around the circumference of the body and down the inner thighs. Excess skin is then removed from these areas.
Total Body Lift
For patients who have lost a lot of weight, excess skin can create chafing and much discomfort while also making it impossible to fit into smaller clothes. A total body lift combines the essential elements of an upper, mid, and lower body lift into one procedure to produce dramatic results all over the body. A total body lift is a more complicated procedure, requiring up to six weeks of recovery at home, but the outcomes are significant.
Before surgery, your doctor will put markings on your body designating the location where incisions will be made and the location of other landmarks to guide the surgical process. In these photos shown above, excess skin will be removed between the upper line and the lower line giving the buttocks, abdomen, waist, thighs, and hips a lift.
Body Lift vs. Tummy Tuck (What’s the difference?)
Although an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and body lift do have some things in common, they produce very different results. A tummy tuck targets only the abdomen, removing excess skin and tightening the abdominal muscles for a flatter, more contoured look on the front part of your body.
A body lift, in contrast, addresses issues in the front, sides, and back of the body all at once. If you have problems with saggy, loose skin in more than just the abdominal area, but also along the side of your body and your back, a body lift would more appropriately address those problems than a tummy tuck.
An extended tummy tuck along with some deep suture support in the six pack muscles of the abdomen can sometimes be used to address flabby skin in the tummy as well as the sides. Some doctors recommend liposuction treatment of the area to sculpt and contour the area even more precisely. But, if you have excess skin that wraps around to your lower back, a body lift (sometimes referred to as a circumferential abdominoplasty) may be a better choice for you.
In a regular abdominoplasty or tummy tuck, incisions are made in a different location on the body than in a circumferential abdominoplasty or body lift. In a body lift, the incisions wrap around the whole body. In an abdominoplasty, depending on your situation, incisions could be placed in various places but they will be only on the front of the body.
Though a tummy tuck will primarily just address the problem of extra skin on the belly and perhaps the sides of the body, a body lift can help get rid of excess skin in the “spare tire” region of the body. A circumferential body lift gives patients lift and support in the outer thigh, “saddle bag” area, and the buttocks, as well as the hips, sides, back, and abdomen. Though a tummy tuck and a body lift can both create change in the thigh region by pulling on skin in nearby areas, a lower body lift is more likely to produce dramatic improvement.