Body Lift Surgery: Types and Ideal Candidates
Body lift surgery is a procedure performed to eliminate excess skin and fat from different parts of the body such as the abdomen, hips, outer thighs and even the back. The procedure can help raise, firm, and tighten the skin in the areas targeted and it can be beneficial for you if you have loose or hanging skin caused by factors such as massive weight loss, pregnancy, age, or sun damage. Patients undergo body lift surgery to get a smoother and more toned appearance. In the past, body lift surgery was primarily used to treat patients who had lost a significant amount of weight, often through bariatric surgery. Today, the procedure is also used to address the effects of ageing and one or multiple pregnancies.
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Excess Skin Reduction
When is a Body Lift Not Indicated
While body lift surgery can be an effective option for individuals who have lost a significant amount of weight or have excess skin and fat in multiple areas of the body, there are certain situations where it may not be indicated. For example, individuals who are significantly overweight or have a BMI greater than 30 may not be good candidates for body lift surgery, as the risks of complications and poor outcomes can be higher. More than this, if you have certain medical conditions, such as uncontrolled diabetes, heart disease, or bleeding disorders, you may not be a good candidate for the procedure.
It’s also important to note that body lift surgery cannot effectively address significant fat deposits. To be considered a good candidate for this procedure, you should have already reached and stabilised at or near your ideal weight. However, if you have smaller areas of localised fat but poor skin elasticity, your plastic surgeon may suggest a combination of liposuction and body lift surgery to achieve the desired results.
Body Lift Surgery – Types of Procedures
The purpose of body lift surgery is to remove excess skin and fat, which can be difficult or impossible to achieve through diet and exercise alone. If weight loss is possible with the right diet and exercise regimen, getting rid of excess skin is not possible without surgery, especially if you are over a certain age. What most people notice after completing their weight loss journey is that the skin didn’t retract on the new contours of the body. This often translates into excess skin folds in different areas of the body such as midline, back, thighs, to mention just a few.
The body lift procedure can help to improve the body’s contour and proportions. More than this, body lift surgery can improve the comfort and mobility if you are struggling with excess skin and sagging.
There are several different types of body lift surgeries, depending on the areas of the body that need to be addressed:
- Lower Body Lift: This type of body lift surgery focuses on the lower part of the body, including the abdomen, hips, buttocks, and thighs. It involves removing excess skin and fat from these areas. When broken down into its individual components, the Lower Body Lift procedure consists of three main surgeries: Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck), Thigh Lift, and Buttock Lift
- Upper Body Lift: An upper body lift is a type of body lift surgery that focuses on the upper body, including the breasts, chest, back, and arms. Upper body lifts can be customised to meet each patient’s individual needs, but they involve procedures such as arm and back lifts, as well as breast lifts or augmentations in the case of women. In some cases, these procedures may be combined with liposuction as part of a Post Pregnancy Surgery. Patients may also choose to combine upper body lifts with lower body lifts for a more comprehensive transformation
- Full Body Lift: This type of body lift surgery is a combination of lower and upper body lifts. It involves removing excess skin and fat from the entire body, resulting in a more comprehensive and complete transformation
Your plastic surgeon will recommend the type of body lift that is best suited for your individual needs. In general, the lower body lift is suitable for individuals who have excess skin and fat in the lower part of the body, while the upper body lift is suitable for those who have excess skin and fat in the upper part of the body. The full body lift is suitable for those who have excess skin and fat throughout the body.
How to Find Out If You Are a Good Candidate for Body Lift Surgery
You can perform a self-assessment to determine if you’re a viable candidate for body lift surgery. Here’s how:
- Stand in front of a mirror and examine the three targeted areas: abdomen, outer thighs, and posterior buttocks
- For the abdomen, hold one edge of skin on your lower abdomen with your thumb and palm, then grasp the lower skin with all four fingers. If you’re satisfied to see how your skin tightens and your pubic mound lifts, you may be a suitable candidate for abdominoplasty
- Hold the loose skin around your hips and observe how it lifts your hips and thighs, resulting in longer, slimmer legs. If you’re pleased with the results, an outer thigh lift may be right for you
- Turn around to face away from the mirror and reach back with your palm to lift your butt. This will give you an idea of the potential outcome of a posterior Butt lift
Pros and Cons to a Full Body Lift Surgery
Like it is the case with any surgery, there are pros and cons to consider before undergoing a full body lift procedure. Here are some of the pros and cons of a full body lift:
- Comprehensive results: A full body lift can produce comprehensive results, as it targets multiple areas of the body, including the upper and lower body, as well as the arms and legs. This can result in a more toned and contoured appearance throughout the body
- Long-lasting results: The results of a full body lift can last for many years, especially if you maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid significant weight gain
- Improved mobility: For some people, excess skin and fat can limit mobility and make it difficult to perform certain activities. A full body lift can remove this excess skin and fat, resulting in improved mobility and greater freedom of movement
- High cost: A full body lift can be an expensive procedure, this can be a barrier for some individuals who may not be able to afford the procedure
- Lengthy recovery period: The recovery period for a full body lift can be lengthy, with patients needing several weeks to several months to fully recover. During this time, you may experience swelling, bruising, and discomfort, and you will need to take time off work to allow your body to heal and recover
- Risk of complications: Like any surgery, a full body lift carries some risks and potential complications, such as infection, visible scars and others. However, these risks can be minimised by carefully choosing your plastic surgeon and following their advice for post-op care
- Requires commitment to healthy lifestyle: To maintain the results of a full body lift, patients need to commit to a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a balanced diet. This can be challenging for some individuals, especially if they have struggled with weight loss or healthy habits in the past
Prepare for a Body Lift Surgery
Preparing for a body lift surgery is an important step towards ensuring a smooth and successful procedure. Here are some general guidelines to follow when preparing for a body lift surgery:
- Stop smoking: Smoking can negatively impact healing and increase the risk of complications. It is important to stop smoking at least 6-8 weeks before the surgery and to avoid smoking during the recovery period
- Avoid certain medications and supplements: Some medications and supplements, such as aspirin and blood thinners, can increase the risk of bleeding and should be avoided for several weeks before the surgery. Be sure to discuss any medications or supplements you are taking with your plastic surgeon
- Maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine: Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help prepare your body for surgery and support healing during the recovery period. Have a stable weight for 2 months and your BMI Index less than 30
What to Expect After Body Lift Surgery
The recovery period following a body lift procedure is a crucial time that involves wearing a custom-fitted compression garment and limiting activities. You should plan to be off work for 3-4 weeks and avoid driving for 4 weeks. Some of your daily activities can be resumed as soon as the second week post-op, as long as they don’t involve intense physical effort.
FAQs about Body Lift Surgery
What is the recovery period like after body lift surgery?
- The recovery period can vary depending on the extent of the surgery, but generally, patients can expect to take a 3-4 weeks off work to allow the body to heal and recover. During this time, you may experience pain and discomfort, as well as swelling and bruising that normally occur after a surgical intervention. Pain medication may be prescribed to manage any discomfort.
Who is a good candidate for body lift surgery?
- Good candidates for body lift surgery are those who have lost a significant amount of weight or those who have excess skin and fat due to ageing, pregnancy, or other factors. Candidates should also be in good health and have realistic expectations for the outcome of the procedure.
What are the risks and complications associated with body lift surgery?
- Body lift surgery carries some risks and potential complications, such as bleeding, infection, scarring, and others. However, patients can minimise these risks by carefully following preoperative and postoperative instructions and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Will body lift surgery leave noticeable scars?
- Yes, body lift surgery will leave scars, but they can often be hidden by clothing or swimwear. The size and location of the scars will depend on the extent of the surgery and the specific techniques used by the surgeon. Most patients find that the benefits of the surgery outweigh any scarring.
Can body lift surgery be combined with other procedures?
- Yes, body lift surgery can be combined with other cosmetic procedures such as liposuction, breast augmentation, or tummy tuck – abdominoplasty. However, the decision to combine procedures will depend on the individual patient’s needs and goals, as well as their overall health and medical history. It is important to discuss any potential combination of procedures with a qualified plastic surgeon.
Further Reading about Body Contouring Procedures with Dr Hunt
- Read Dr Hunt’s Liposuction Surgery Page
- Read Dr Hunt’s Tummy Tuck – Abdominoplasty Surgery Page
- Read Dr Hunt’s Blog about Tips for the best Lower Body Lift Recovery
- Read Dr Hunt’s Blog about Tips and Timeline for the Recovery Process after a Post Pregnancy Surgery
Medical References about Body Contouring Procedures
- The Facts About Body-Contouring Surgery – WebMd
- Plastic Surgery After Weight Loss – WebMd
- Body contouring after bariatric surgery – Mayo Clinic
About Dr Jeremy Hunt – Specialist Plastic Surgeon
Dr Jeremy Hunt is a specialist plastic surgeon and a member of FRACS & ASPS. He has over 20 years of experience providing plastic surgery in Sydney.
Careful, considerate and honest, Dr Jeremy Hunt works with you to find a solution that is optimal for your body and your lifestyle. Every patient is unique and, through his guidance, can achieve good results.
The one-on-one service and attention to detail offered by Dr Hunt, has given thousands of women and men from the Sydney & Wollongong NSW area and across Australia the aesthetic results they desire.
Dr Hunt’s qualifications and education
Dr Jeremy A Hunt MBBS FRACS graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine degree from Sydney University in 1990 and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and member of ASPS – the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. He completed a Fellowship at the prestigious University of Texas in the United States, where he learnt from some of the world’s very best plastic surgeons.
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Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health professional.