The Body Lift
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The Body Lift is a plastic surgery procedure to remove excess skin and fat between the torso and upper thigh area. A body lift can improve skin tone, skin elasticity and the appearance of cellulite by treating underlying fatty tissues. This procedure can treat individuals who have experienced major weight loss due to diet and exercise, or patients who have undergone bariatric surgery resulting in extreme weight loss. The surgery is also effective in treating individuals with poor skin elasticity due to genetics or other medical conditions. Often times, the body lift is combined with popular plastic surgeries, for example an arm lift or breast lift, to achieve an overall attractive and well-proportioned body.
Common Body Lift Treatment Areas
- Middle to lower back area
- Inner and outer thigh area
Ideal Body Lift Candidates
- Individuals who have lost a significant amount of weight, i.e. 100 pounds or more, due to diet, exercise or gastric bypass surgery
- Individuals suffering from heavy, loose skin folds around the mid to lower body with no improvement from diet or exercise
- Individuals who have maintained a steady weight for at least three months to preferably one year
- Women suffering from skin inelasticity in the abdomen, waist and buttocks as a result of pregnancy (and who do not plan on any more pregnancies)
- Non-smoking individuals in good physical and emotional health, including realistic goals through surgical achievement
The Body Lift Procedure
The body lift surgery is performed in a hospital or accredited outpatient surgical center under general anesthesia. The operation can take anywhere from three to eight hours depending on the extent of work desired. In lower body lifts that target the thigh and buttocks area, the surgeon will make a belt-like incision to remove excess fat and skin. If excess tissue removal is desired in the abdomen, a horizontal incision above the pubic area is made. In some instances, the surgeon will utilize liposuction techniques to assist in fat removal of the abdomen. In a full body lift, incisions encircling the breast line or rib cage are made to effectively remove the necessary layers of fat. Underlying muscle tissue is then repositioned and sutured tightly to raise abdominal skin and create a more contoured shape.
The Body Lift Recovery
A body lift is a major surgery requiring a one- to three-night hospital stay and a four- to six-week total recovery time. Intravenous pain medications are typically administered to relieve post operation discomfort. Surgical bandages and compression garments are applied to control swelling. Following the operation, drainage tubes are places at the surgical site to prevent post surgery fluid accumulation. Upon discharge, patients are given prescription medications to control discomfort, as well as at-home care instructions for drainage tubes, incision sites and compression garment wear. It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions very carefully in order to maximize recovery time and prevent healing complications. If patients go home with drainage tubes, they will be removed two to four weeks later. Most patients can resume light daily activity about four to six weeks following surgery, but heavy lifting and exercising must be postponed for at least eight weeks. Swelling should gradually subside over the first eight weeks with approximately 90 percent of swelling gone in three months. Abdominal incision scars can take up to eighteen months to fade and flatten. Although these scars will never likely disappear, they can be easily masked by clothing.
Body Lift Complications and Risks
The most commonly reported body lift complications are seromas or fluid accumulations beneath the skin and temporary, or sometimes permanent, numbness in the treated body area. Other possible yet less frequent complications are excessive bleeding, infection and blood clots.
Body Lift Procedural Costs
If a body lift is elected for cosmetic purposes, insurance will not cover the costs. In rare circumstances, a body lift procedure may be deemed medically necessary. Like most plastic surgeries, the total cost includes the hospital or facility fee, the anesthesiologist fee and the surgeon fee. While these fees will vary greatly based on the extent of each procedure, average fees for a typical body lift range from $12,000 to $50,000. Most surgeons offer payment plans and/or financing options to make the body lift procedure affordable for patients.
Choosing Your Body Lift Surgeon
It is vital to choose a highly skilled, board-certified plastic surgeon to perform your body lift procedure. Reviewing the surgeon’s training, credentials, experience, patient satisfaction reviews, including before and after photos, is the best way to maximize your body lift cosmetic results.
Board-certified Manhattan plastic surgeon Dr. Douglas S. Steinbrech, M.D., F.A.C.S. specializes in body plastic surgery with training at the prestigious NYU Institute of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Selected as one of America’s Top Plastic Surgeons by the Consumers’ Research Council of America, Dr. Steinbrech is dedicated to patient awareness, education and satisfaction. Appointments can be scheduled at multiple New York City clinical office locations, including New York University Downtown Hospital, Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital and Lenox Hill Hospital. To learn more about the body lift procedure, call Dr. Steinbrech’s New York plastic surgery practice at (212) 750-0070 to schedule your private body lift consultation today.