Achieving a perfectly toned figure is easier said than done. Of course, you can follow a super-effective weight loss program featuring a strict diet and a rigorous workout plan. You can also opt for bariatric surgery to get rid of those excess pounds. But the chances are high that you would be left with sagging skin and stubborn fat pockets in different parts of your body from where massive amounts of weight would be lost. This not only ruins the shape of your body and makes your clothes misfit but also takes a toll on your self-esteem. Fortunately, a reliable surgical procedure called body lift can help you get back into shape and tone up your figure in a more beautiful way. Here is everything you must know about body lift surgery.
What Is Body Lift?
Body lift or body plastic surgery is a widely popular surgical procedure that helps ton up the body and enhances its shape after substantial weight loss. It works by trimming away excess sagging or drooping skin, hard-to-budge fat deposits, and weakened underlying muscle tissues. In short, a body lift can improve your appearance greatly by creating a slimmer body and firmer, smoother skin. The highly customizable surgery can be performed on a large scale or smaller scale depending on individual patients’ unique needs and goals. In addition, it can be carried out as a standalone procedure or in combination with other procedures like bariatric surgery or liposuction for outstanding body contouring effects.
Body Lift Vs. Liposuction
You may have been wondering why you would choose body lift when you can go for liposuction. Well, here are the reasons:
- Liposuction is mostly performed for eliminating lingering fat deposits in several parts of the body. But it is not suitable for treating large folds of surplus skin, fat, and tissue, which cumulatively weighs many pounds and adds to your overall body weight. Conversely, body lift addresses the folds and sagginess caused by excess skin and tissue rather than focusing merely on removing extra fat.
- While disposing of the fat cells, liposuction can only tighten the skin subtly. Hence, it is not a good choice for severely overweight people whose skin cannot naturally conform to new body contours. However, a body lift is suitable even for people with poor skin elasticity.
- Liposuction is also unable to treat cellulite, which causes dimpled, irregular skin surface. But body lift can help you get rid of this too.
Areas Of Treatment
Being a comprehensive procedure, a body lift can treat several body areas with poor tissue elasticity. These include breasts, arms, midsection (abdominal area), lower back, hips, buttocks, groin, and thighs (interior or posterior or circumference).
Types Of Body Lift Surgery
Based on the location of treatment, amount of excess skin, and the overall aesthetic goals of the patient, the body lift surgery can also be categorized into the following four types (1):
1. Upper Body Lift
When it comes to firming up the sagging upper part of the body, this procedure is a good fit as it addresses the areas like breasts, arms, etc.
2. Mid Body Lift
This procedure (also known as torsoplasty) mainly addresses the abdominal region and the body’s lower back to create a smooth, continuous contour.
3. Lower Body Lift
In this procedure (also known as lipectomy), the lower part of the body is contoured in the most flattering way by lifting the buttocks and hips and toning the thighs.
4. Total Body Lift
It is a ‘full-scale’ version of the body lift surgery that is perfect for people who have lost skin elasticity all over their body. This inclusive approach to surgery helps treat a larger area, thereby rejuvenating the entire body all at once.
A non-smoker with good overall health and realistic expectations can be a good candidate for body lift surgery. You must have lost 30%-50% of your peak weight, and there are significant amounts of loose soft tissue in one or multiple areas of your body. It is also important to have stable body weight for at least 3 months with no interfering medical conditions. Make sure that you do not plan for pregnancy ever in the future.
Crucial Questions to Ask before Body Lift
Before undergoing body lift surgery, it is crucial to ask a few important questions to your surgeon. Here is a checklist to help you out –
Surgeon’s Experience –
1. Does your surgeon have approval from the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
2. Does your surgeon specially trained to perform plastic surgery?
3. How many years of experience has he had as a Plastic Surgeon?
4. Is there any patient feedback available? Can the surgeon provide you with a few before and after photos of body lift surgeries of his patients?
Facility and Infrastructure –
5. Where will the surgery be performed?
6. Does the hospital/office-based surgical facility where the surgery will be performed have accreditation from a recognized accrediting agency?
Procedure Related –
7. Why is the procedure needed?
8. Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
9. What type of anesthesia will be administered?
10. What are the benefits, and how long will they last?
11. What are the risk factors associated with the procedure?
12. How long is the recovery period?
13. What are the costs involved?
14. How are complications handled?
15. Who pays in the event of a complication?
16. What are the options when the result of the procedure is not as per expected lines?
Insurance Related –
17. Does my insurance cover the cost of the procedures?
18. Are complications from surgery covered by insurance?
Each body lift procedure is different based on the type of surgery and the extent of treatment required. Here is an overview of a general body lift surgery (2):
- Your surgeon marks your skin to show exactly where the cuts are to be made. Then, according to the surgical judgment, these are often placed strategically to keep the scars hidden.
- Then, your skin in the area of treatment is cleansed thoroughly with a medicated solution or cleanser.
- Next, you are administered general or local anesthesia with intravenous sedation to ensure comfort and relaxation throughout the procedure.
- Now, your surgeon makes incisions along the marks made beforehand. He might also perform liposuction on you before this, if necessary.
- Once done with the incisions, he removes additional fat deposits, repositions the underlying tissues, and trims extra skin to create a firmer and smoother look.
- After that, he uses deep sutures within the tissues to keep the new contour lay smooth in place and closes the incisions with dissolvable sutures or skin adhesives.
- Finally, dressings or bandages are applied to the incisions, and small, thin drainage tubes are placed under the skin as needed.
The entire body lift procedure can take anywhere between 2 hours and 7 hours, depending on the complexity of the treatment.
If you have adequate caretaking and nursing, you can return home on the same day. Otherwise, you may need to stay in the hospital for 2-3 days following the surgery. Some discomfort, swelling, and bruising at surgical sites are common postoperative symptoms, which will take 1-2 weeks to go away. However, prescription painkillers will help you deal with these. Keep your wounds clean by washing them gently. But do not take a shower within 3 days of the surgery. You must take plenty of rest for the first few weeks to ensure that your surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, motion, swelling, or abrasion. While sleeping, make a specific arrangement of pillows to keep yourself in a correct and comfortable position. Your physician may recommend wearing compression garments for weeks and following special dietary instructions for months. Keep taking short walks once every day for faster healing.
Recovery And Downtime
The complexity of a body lift procedure can lengthen its recovery timeline considerably. Though you can resume your normal activities within 2-3 weeks, it may take 2 weeks to 2 months for you to recover fully and get back to your work. However, stay away from strenuous activities and vigorous exercises for at least 4-6 weeks to promote healing.
Risks And Complications
A body lift is a major and intensive surgical procedure. So, it also comes with possible risks and complications. These include inflammation, bruising, prolonged swelling, persisting pain, allergic reactions, numbness, infections, hematoma, poor wound healing, fluid accumulation, skin discoloration, skin loss, skin necrosis, fat necrosis, deep vein thrombosis, seroma, phlebitis, rectus diastasis, asymmetry, unfavorable scarring, improper suture healing, etc.
Duration Of Effects
The initial results of the surgery are visible almost instantly, and they may take around 2 years to develop fully. The procedure offers permanent results as long as you maintain healthy body weight and general fitness. A few other factors like sun damage, the natural process of aging, etc., can also affect your skin’s elasticity over time.
The cost of a body lift surgery can range from $6,000 to $50,000, depending on the type of the procedure and the extent of the treatment.
Body lift is a widely popular surgical procedure that helps in toning up the body and enhancing its shape after a substantial weight loss. The procedure removes additional fat deposits from various pockets of the body and tightens loose skin. Possible risks and complications include inflammation, bruising and prolonged swelling. Body lift is an intensive surgical procedure and it may take anything between 2 weeks to 2 months to resume normal activities. The result of body lift surgery is permanent as long as a healthy weight and general fitness are maintained.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How painful is a body lift?
It is performed after administering general anesthesia; hence one may not feel any acute pain during the procedure. However, body lift surgery comes with risks and complications. Some of the common risks include inflammation, bruising and prolonged swelling.
Will smoking affect my recovery?
Smoking can negatively affect the healing process. Therefore, it’s recommended to stay away from smoking before and after your procedure.
What are the risks associated with a body lift?
Common risks include inflammation, bruising, prolonged swelling, persisting pain, allergic reactions, numbness, etc.
Is a body lift covered by insurance?
Most insurance providers do not cover body lift surgery. Check with your insurance provider for details.
How long does a body lift last?
The result of a body lift surgery is permanent as long as you maintain a healthy weight and general fitness.
What is the difference between a body lift and a tummy tuck?
A body lift procedure is performed to tighten loose skin after substantial weight loss. On the other hand, a tummy tuck is aimed at removing excess fat from your abdominal area.
- “Body Lift,” DocShop.com
- “Body Lift – What Are The Steps of A Body Lift Procedure?’, PlasticSurgery.org