Losing such a significant amount of weight is an incredible achievement for your health and your self-confidence, but often the skin cannot contract sufficiently after the weight loss so your skin simply doesn’t fit anymore and has to be altered. Sagging skin can drape under the arms, around the abdomen, thighs, and neck, impacting your figure and body shape. This can be a frustrating development after coming so far to achieve your body weight goals. A body lift improves the tone and shape of the core tissue responsible for supporting fat and skin. During this procedure excess skin is removed circumferentially from the upper, mid and/or lower body.
A body lift may be combined with breast or arm skin excision in one procedure, to effectively reshape your body and show the underlying new shape after weight loss. This procedure should not be considered as an alternative to weight loss or healthy living. In fact, only those who are already working towards a healthy lifestyle are considered as ideal candidates for a body lift.
Many PSS Weight Loss Program patients who have completed their journey to a healthier life with the help of our fitness coach, nutrition and workout support, also undergo a body lift.
- 1 Before & After Photos
- 2 What is a Body Lift?
- 3 Skin Elasticity
- 4 Body Lift Techniques
- 5 Best Candidates
- 6 Preparing for the Procedure
- 7 The Procedure
- 8 Recovery
- 9 Schedule Your Consultation
- 10 FAQ
Before & After Photos
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What is a Body Lift?
The term body lift is used to describe a variety of procedures that lift and tighten the abdomen, inner and outer thigh, and in some cases, medial thigh and buttock concurrently. In other words, the body lift addresses all areas from the bottom of the breast to the mid-thigh with a combination of skin tightening and fat removal or repositioning. This procedure falls under the umbrella term of body contouring. San Francisco Bay Area residents who choose Plastic Surgery Specialists in Marin County often modify the procedure to include an arm lift or breast reduction. Liposuction may be included as part of the surgery to further the results of the body lift. Liposuction can also be used for fat transfer to the buttock or face to balance out areas that have sagged due to fat loss.
Skin elasticity describes your skin’s ability to bounce back to its original shape after being pulled or tugged. Loss of elasticity comes with aging, reduction of collagen, and the change in your body’s shape due to significant shifts in weight. Each person’s skin’s elasticity will vary depending on their genetics, age and lifestyle factors, such as environmental hazards, smoking, eating and sleep habits, and stress. Studies have shown that those who are overexposed to the sun experience greater weathering and degradation to the elasticity of their skin.
When you experience relatively sudden and significant changes in body weight, the skin often can’t keep up, which results in sagging skin. A body lift is typically the most effective method for dealing with the increase in sagging skin due to rapid weight loss.
Body Lift Techniques
A body lift is a combination of surgeries that can be performed as a comprehensive procedure to treat skin laxity on either the upper or lower body. A body lift can include three or more surgical procedures depending on your particular case. Combined surgeries performed within the body lift offer specific results. The variety of individual procedures that may be included as part of a full body lift are outlined below.
Upper Body Procedures
Also known as the brachioplasty, this procedure removes sagging underarm skin, sometimes referred to as bat wings. Brachioplasty typically involves removing the excess skin under the arms with an incision under the backside of the arms near the armpits.
Breast lift is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and reshapes the breast mound to restore a more anatomically youthful position. There are many techniques used for a breast lift depending on the amount of sagging and the shape of an individual’s breasts. Usually, excess skin is removed from the lower half, and the nipple-areola complex is adjusted for a proportionate, lifted appearance.
A back lift corrects excess skin on the upper portion of the back, also known as bra rolls. This concern can prevent clothes from fitting correctly or can hinder your overall body contour. The excess skin is removed and joined to provide a slimmer, more contoured back.
Lower Body Procedures
Also known as abdominoplasty, a tummy tuck removes excess skin around the waist and abdomen. Incisions are made along the lower abdomen, from hip to hip. Then the skin is lifted away from the abdominal muscles, which are then tightened. Finally, excess skin is removed, and the remaining skin is joined to provide a flat, sculpted midsection.
A thigh lift removes excess skin from around the inner and outer thighs. Incisions can be made along the inner or outer thighs. The skin is lifted upwards and tightened for a more contoured, toned appearance. Any scars that remain will continue to fade and can be hidden under a majority of clothing.
During a butt lift excess skin from the buttocks is surgically removed to provide a more youthful behind. An incision is made at the top of the buttocks to near the hip area. Excess skin is then removed and the remaining skin is lifted upwards, securing the buttocks into a more lifted position.
Each of these individual body lift procedures is further customizable according to each individual’s body type and goals. There are three common steps to each procedure. Patients are placed under general anesthesia to ensure their safety and comfort. Incisions are made near the areas to be treated. The size, shape, and location of the incisions depend on the type of lift being performed. Excess skin is removed, and sutures are used to close the incisions and secure the skin in its new more youthful placement.
Candidates for Body Lift surgery should have completed their weight loss program and attained a stable weight.
Men and women who have recently lost a significant amount of weight and are ready to reduce excess skin around the midsection and elsewhere, are generally good candidates for a body lift procedure. In our Greenbrae surgical center, our board-certified plastic surgeons can sculpt and shape the most common problem areas on the body, creating a toned and fit physique.
Body lift patients should be in good health and feel committed to maintaining a healthy lifestyle post-surgery. To determine if you are a candidate, please contact our office and schedule a private consultation with one of our experienced aesthetic plastic surgeons, Dr. Hvistendahl, Dr. Douglas or Dr. Poulos.
Preparing for the Procedure
To ensure the best results, you will be asked to follow some steps in the weeks leading up to the procedure. Our team of highly trained staff will guide you and make recommendations specific to your needs. Generally speaking, if you are a smoker, you will be asked to stop three weeks before the procedure. If you are taking any anti-inflammatory medication, you should stop at least two weeks before. All preoperative steps will be discussed during your consultation.
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Because a body lift surgery can address several different areas, the necessary steps for the procedure will vary widely from one individual to another. Surgery usually begins with an incision to the treatment area, followed by the removal of excess skin on each region. Finally, the incisions are closed using thin sutures. After the procedure is complete, each area is wrapped in a compression garment, and the patient is taken to our recovery area where our caring nursing staff monitors the patient for several hours before they are able to return home.
Body lift surgery can take four to seven hours and is performed under general anesthesia. Our unique team approach can significantly reduce the number of hours under anesthesia because we have multiple surgeons in the operating room working together. The results from a body lift are visible almost immediately, though it may take well over a year for the full outcome to become evident. At PSS we include a complementary ultrasound and radio-frequency skin tightening treatment post-surgery to speed recovery and help tighten skin.
Body lift patients may also be interested in liposuction or tummy tuck. If you are considering body contouring surgery and live in Mill Valley, San Rafael, or another area of Marin County, please schedule a consultation with Plastic Surgery Specialists today by calling (415) 886-0777.
Schedule Your Consultation
One of the most critical aspects of any plastic surgery procedure is your consultation. Choosing an aesthetic plastic surgeon with experience and expertise, as well as someone you feel comfortable with, can ensure you have the best experience and are satisfied with the results. Together Dr. Hvistendahl, Dr. Douglas and Dr. Poulos have more than 75 years of experience with more than fifty thousand successful procedures under their belts.
- Over 50,000 procedures performed
- Over 75 years of combined experience
Our experienced team of board-certified plastic surgeons combines a unique aesthetic perspective, the ability to listen closely to your needs, and the skills to achieve those desires. This combination sets PSS apart as a world-class plastic surgery clinic, located in Marin County, CA.
A body lift is a procedure that circumferentially removes excess skin from the mid-torso (extended tummy tuck) that typically presents after significant weight loss. It often includes additional areas affected by weight loss, like the thighs, back and arms.
Patients who have had significant changes in body size, such as massive weight loss from bariatric surgery are excellent candidates. Typically these patients have an envelope of skin that no longer fits their body size. Therefore, it is necessary to tailor the skin to a size that matches the new body appearance. By extending the scar from the tummy tuck around to the crease just above the buttock, the entire waistline, buttock, and lateral thigh can be lifted in one procedure. In some cases, an additional incision is made in the inguinal crease, and the medial thigh is lifted, as well.
As would be expected, the more surgery required, the longer the recovery. However, the increased recovery period is primarily limited to the first week as it is difficult to be comfortable with incisions on both the front and back of the body. It is very important to have assistance at home for the first several days following the surgery.
In many cases, surgery in all areas is required to achieve an optimal balance in body contour. During your consultation your surgeon can determine the best way to safely stage the operation in order to achieve the best result.