Time and gravity can really wreak havoc on the body, causing skin and fat to sag and droop in various locations throughout the body. These changes happen gradually, but then one day, you start noticing the trouble spots all at once: the arms, the lower body, and the breasts. With so many areas to be corrected, you might not be sure where to start. Thankfully, there are specific procedures designed to address the effects of gravity on these specific body areas, any of which can be combined into one surgery. Learn more about the various lift procedures to improve body contour and your overall look.
Give Your Arms a Lift
The arm lift procedure is performed to resolve sagging skin that has become inelastic. This condition, sometimes referred to as “bat wings,” can be the result of the aging process, substantial weight loss or weight gain, or simple genetics. The skin has been stretched and the elastin has broken down, so not even cardio exercise or weight lifting can firm up this area. Excess skin is usually the root of the problem, which means the only solution is an arm lift, or brachioplasty.
For arm lift surgery, patients usually receive local anesthesia and IV sedation or general anesthesia, depending on their individual needs. The procedure lasts about one to three hours and focuses on the underside of each arm, with the aim of trimming away the excess and improving tone. An incision is made on the inside or back of the arm, sometimes extending from the underarm to the elbow or somewhere in between. The surgeon then removes the excess lax skin and fat cells, using liposuction as needed if large fat deposits are present. The skin is then tightened and the incisions are sutured closed.
Following an arm lift, most patients experience some swelling, bruising, and minor discomfort. Pain medication will often be prescribed to help manage these symptoms, most of which should dissipate within two weeks. The results of the surgery will appear very early on and sutures will typically be removed after one week.
Boost Your Body With a Lift
When your major problem area centers on the torso and upper legs, a body lift procedure is the likely solution for you. This procedure is performed in order to remove excess skin and sometimes fat from these areas. A body lift is a significant procedure that can last three to seven hours and involves a lengthy recovery period of four to six weeks. Yet, the incredible results that a body lift can deliver are well worth it for many patients. Those seeking this procedure are often men or women who have lost a significant amount of weight because of diet and exercise, bariatric surgery, and even following childbirth. Patients tend to have loose, inelastic skin around the torso, hips, buttocks, and thighs that they want to remove. Fat can also be removed, but a body lift concentrates on improving the skin tone and will not be performed for fat removal alone.
The body lift procedure begins with incisions placed near the treatment area. If you are having a complete body lift, this requires a large incision that encircles the body in an apron pattern over the torso. This skin is trimmed down and excess fat is then removed with liposuction. The underlying tissues and muscles are repositioned and tightened as needed to improve body tone and contour. Finally, the navel will be removed and replaced to a more natural-looking position and the sutures are closed. Following the procedure, patients are given detailed care instructions to help their bodies heal. Drainage tubes may be used to alleviate fluid buildup in the treatment area, which will be removed after two to four weeks. Pain medication is used to control the side effects of a body lift, which include pain and discomfort, swelling, and bruising. Many activities are restricted for body lift patients for at least four weeks, but often more. Your plastic surgeon will give you specific instructions to manage your recovery time.
Lift Your Breasts, Too
The breast lift procedure can make a big difference for the woman frustrated by her sagging breasts. Age, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and fluctuations in weight can affect the breasts just as much as the rest of the body. A breast lift, or mastopexy, is a procedure that will return your breasts’ youthful shape and contour. While breasts of any size can be lifted, the procedure yields the best and longest lasting results for small- to medium-sized breasts. A breast lift should only be performed once the patient is no longer planning to have additional pregnancies or breastfeed, as these life changes can undo the results of a breast lift.
The mastopexy surgery takes about one-and-a-half to three-and-a-half hours and is typically performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia. The surgery begins with an anchor-shaped incision made from the location of the new nipple down to and around the crease beneath the breast. At this point, the surgeon will remove excess skin, relocate the nipple and areola, and reshape the breast tissue before closing the incision. Some variations to this surgery can be made depending on the size of the patient’s breasts, which will be discussed in your consultation if necessary.
After surgery, the breasts are wrapped in gauze with an elastic bandage or surgical bra placed on top. A few days later, this wrapping is replaced with a soft support bra to be worn 24 hours a day for about one month. It is common for your breasts to be swollen, bruised, and uncomfortable for a few days following surgery. Numbness is also a normal side effect, but should subside as the swelling goes away. Your stitches are removed after one to two weeks, at which point many patients are able to return to work.
Get the Lift You Need
With so many possibilities to give yourself the lift you might need, it’s time to find the right plastic surgeon to help you achieve the body contour of your dreams. Contact the office of Dr. Douglas S. Steinbrech, a fully trained plastic surgeon Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons, to book your consultation today. He will be happy to walk you through what you should expect from a body lift procedure or any other surgery that might address your areas of concern. A specialist in Minimally Invasive Aesthetics, he incorporates this philosophy into all of his surgical and nonsurgical procedures, while aiming to get you the best results possible. Dr. Steinbrech has been selected by the Consumers’ Research Council of America as one of America’s Top Plastic Surgeons. Contact his office, located at 60 East 56th Street, Suite 3A, in New York City, by calling (212) 750-0070.