A body lift is performed to remove excess skin, and sometimes also fat, from the torso and upper legs. It is a complicated procedure that can take three to seven hours under general anesthesia and involves a difficult recovery period of four to six weeks. However, despite the challenging surgery and recovery, the procedure offers a significant improvement in appearance for patients who have lost a sizeable amount of weight due to childbirth, diet, exercise or bariatric surgery. The procedure can also help patients who have loose, inelastic skin for other reasons. Many times a body lift is combined with other surgeries such as breast lifts, facelifts, and arm lifts to retain or regain a properly proportioned body.
Who is a good candidate for a body lift?
Candidates for body lifts typically have extra weight that they cannot lose with diet or exercise alone, or already suffer from loose, inelastic skin of the abdomen, waist, hips, buttocks and thighs as a result of age, pregnancy and childbirth, or extreme weight loss. Body lift candidates are in good physical health, do not smoke, and have realistic expectations of what results the procedure can produce. A body lift is not intended for the removal of excess fat alone. Liposuction may be a more appropriate surgery for patients who are seeking to reduce fat deposits but still have good elasticity in their skin.
What happens during surgery?
During the procedure, incisions are made in the skin at the location of the treated area. A complete body lift entails an incision that encircles the body to remove an apron of excess skin. Excess fat may also be removed with the assistance of liposuction. Underlying tissues and muscles are repositioned and tightened to create a more toned body contour. The skin is then sutured closed. It is often the case that the navel must be removed and replaced in a new position.
What should patients expect during recovery after a body lift?
Following a body lift, patients are given instructions on how to care for the surgical sites as well as any restrictions that may accompany the procedure. Drainage tubes may be placed to prevent excess blood and other fluids from building up, and these require special attention until they are removed around two to four weeks later. Dr. Steinbrech will prescribe medication to help control any associated discomfort. Walking after surgery is encouraged to reduce the risk of blood clots, but exercising and heavy lifting will need to be postponed for several weeks. The majority of patients may return to normal activity after four to six weeks.
What are the risks of a body lift?
Every medical procedure has its own risks. The most common complications associated with a body lift are accumulation of fluid under the skin and numbness in the treated area (temporary or permanent). Also possible, but less typical are infection, excessive bleeding, and blood clots.
After substantial weight loss, weight gain, or simply from the effects of genetics or aging, skin on the upper arms can become loose and flabby. Even lifting weights cannot help to trim the arms once the skin has become too inelastic. Many people are self-conscious of the “bat wings” that have developed and choose to hide them beneath longer sleeves. Arm lifts, also known as brachioplasty, remove excess skin and fat to achieve a smoother and more toned appearance. Patients who have significant amounts of fat may want to consider combining the procedure with liposuction for the best results. The arm lift procedure takes approximately one to three hours and can be performed either with local anesthesia and IV sedation or general anesthesia, depending on the needs of the patient.
Who is a good candidate for arm lift?
Arm lifts are designed for patients who have lax skin in their upper arms and would like to reduce the amount of sagging that has occurred in that area. The problem is often a concern for men and women who have lost a significant amount of weight. Candidates must be non-smokers who are in good physical health. They must also understand that an arm lift is not able to achieve perfection, though with good technique it can come close, and that fluctuations in weight later on will affect the results.
What happens during surgery?
Dr. Steinbrech will make an incision on the inside or back of the arm, which may extend from the underarm to above the elbow, or shorter. The size and pattern of the incision is dependent on the extent of correction that needs to be done. After the incision is made, the process of removing excess fat and skin can begin. Liposuction may accompany the procedure. The skin will be trimmed and tightened before being sutured.
What should patients expect during recovery after an arm lift?
During recovery, swelling, bruising and minor discomfort is to be expected. The results will be visible very early on. Pain medication may be prescribed to help control discomfort and swelling and bruising will begin to dissipate within two weeks. Keeping the arm elevated will help. After one week sutures may be removed.
What are the risks of an arm lift?
The risks and complications associated with brachioplasty include infection, hematoma, numbness at the surgical site, scarring, swelling of the hands, and fluid accumulation. There are also additional risks that accompany the use of anesthesia. Side effects are typically temporary, but some may be permanent in rare cases.
Another body plastic surgery procedure performed by Dr. Steinbrech is the tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty. Patients, particularly women who have stretched skin and muscles following pregnancy or those that have a sagging mid-section due to weight fluctuations or age are good candidates for a tummy tuck. The procedure removes excess fat deposits and skin and repositions and tightens the underlying muscles. The result is a flatter abdomen with a more pleasing shape. The effects of a tummy tuck are long lasting, as long as the body is cared for properly with good nutrition and regular exercise. More information about the two- to five-hour procedure can be found on our tummy tuck procedure page.
Liposuction is a very common type of body plastic surgery that is often performed in conjunction with other cosmetic procedures. The surgery is used to treat excess deposits of undesirable fat which have become resistant to more traditional methods of weight loss. Many areas of the body can be treated through liposuction, including the abdomen, waist, hips, thighs, upper arms, buttocks, knees, cheeks, chin, and neck. The results of the body slimming procedure are permanent. Interested persons may review our liposuction page for more information.