Many people lose tremendous amount of weight only to realize that some fat deposits still exist. These stubborn fat chunks refuse to disintegrate even after copious amount of exercises and strict dieting. This leads to sagging skin in various areas of the body, contributed majorly due to the poor skin elasticity. Generally, the skin loses its elasticity as one age or due to sun damage, pregnancy and hereditary factors.
A body lift surgery improves the shape of the body by getting rid of such fat deposits and excess skin and tissues. It also tightens the body tissues and skin hence giving a definite and even shape to the body.
During the initial consultation with the surgeon, be sure to mention the reasons and results for which you are opting for a body lift. Please keep in mind that body lift surgery cannot remove the excess fat from the body. Liposuction is best suited to remove the excess fat and when the skin elasticity is good, the skin can adjust itself to the new contours of the body, which is not the case with the patients of body lift.
Based on your expectations and after physically examining your body, the surgeon will recommend a course of treatment to get the best results. He will also ask for your previous medical records, your current medications and any allergies. By considering these factors, he will give you the necessary instructions to prepare for the surgery.
• It would be best if you tried to stay out of the sun for about a week before the surgery.
• Do not go for any extensive skin treatments or waxing for a minimum of two weeks before the scheduled date of the surgery.
• If you are a smoker, it is essential to stop smoking for about six to eight weeks before the surgery until the complete recovery after the body lift.
• Avoid taking aspirin or any anti-inflammatory drugs.
• You should not have plans of losing any more weight for the next few years at least.
• If you have severe weight fluctuations in the last few months, then it is better to wait till you have hit a stable weight before going for a body lift.
• It is best not to plan for pregnancy after a body lift. Alternatively, if you are planning to get pregnant, then it is ideal to go for body lift surgery after your pregnancy to ensure long-lasting effects.
• If your weight loss is due to bariatric surgery, then inform the plastic surgeon about it. The surgeon can only go ahead with the body lift after discussing it with your previous specialist.
Make sure to prepare someone to drive you home after the body lift, as you should take complete rest for the next few days.
The day before the surgeon schedules the body lift procedure, make sure to get a good night’s rest. Stay hydrated and clean your skin properly before coming for the surgery. Sometime, the surgeon will make the marks on your body before the surgery to show the locations of creating incisions.
At the start of the surgery, the surgeon will administer general anesthesia, which will make you lose your consciousness completely. Next, he will perform the body lift. Depending on the accumulation of fat deposits, you can go for any of the three types of body lift procedures.
1. Lower Body Lift
One of the popular procedures, it removes excess skin from the , thighs, hips and buttocks. This procedure not only eliminates the excess skin but also smoothens body contours and lift the buttock to give a nice shape to the body.
Location of Incisions
For this procedure, the surgeon makes an incision across the lower abdomen horizontally and down to either side of the thighs. He pulls out the excess fat, cuts the excess skin, pulls the skin taut and closes the incisions.
2. Mid Body Lift
In addition to the lower body lift, mid-body lift surgery removes the excess skin from the regions of the abdomen. This surgery is best suited for those who have an uneven waistline.
Location of Incisions: The incisions made are similar to that of a lower body lift procedure. The surgeon uses the incision on the lower abdomen to access the fat from the abdomen and pull the skin tight to get a smooth contour from the waist down.
3. Complete Body Lift
This procedure addresses the excess skin present all over the body, including breasts, arms, hips, thighs, buttocks and abdomen. This procedure evens out the body contours throughout and revamps your body appearance.
Location of Incisions: The surgeon performs the same procedure as the mid body lift with the incisions in the same places. After completing the mid body lift, he starts with the upper portion. For arm lift, the surgeon makes an incision near the underarms and tightens the sagging skin on the upper arms.
For women, the surgeon performs breast lift procedure where he/she makes an incision around the areola and another one across the breast creases. For men, the surgeon typically removes the excess skin from the breasts. If you require removal of fat, then the surgeon may combine Gynecomastia surgery along with this.
After trimming the excess skin and removing the fat deposits from the body, the surgeon stitches back the incisions and covers it with bandages and compression garments. Some surgeons may also place drain tubes in some locations to drain out the excess bodily fluids.
Depending on the type of body lift procedure, the surgery can take anywhere between two to eight hours.
If you have opted for complete body lift surgery, then you probably will stay in the hospital for two or three days on the advice of the surgeon. During this period, the surgeon and the nurses will monitor your condition, clean your incisions and make sure that you are off to a healthy recovery. For mid body lift and lower body lift surgeries, it is up to the surgeon to make you stay for a day under observation or discharge you a few hours after the surgery.
The surgeon will advise you to spend the next few days under complete bed rest. Based on his instructions, you should clean your incisions and drain the tubes regularly.
The surgeon will prescribe some pain medications to alleviate the pain and manage the discomfort. You will have significant swelling, bruising and redness on the location of incisions for the coming four to eight weeks after which it will start to reduce. The surgeon will remove the dressings on the operated areas in the next three days after the surgery. You cannot take shower for at least three to five days after the body lift. In the meantime, the surgeon will give you instructions to just wipe your body with a wet cloth.
Wearing the Compression Garment
The surgeon will discharge you with compression garments and bandages placed on your wounds. You should wear the compression garment continuously till the swelling has completely subsided. Even after that, you should keep wearing it for a few hours every day as this will help to sculpt the body contours.
• You cannot lift or bend down for a minimum of four to six weeks after the surgery.
• You can sit on your buttock only after the first three to five weeks by supporting your buttock with a pillow.
• Even if you are travelling in a car, you must have a pillow under your buttock for the next few months.
• It is best not to go out in the sun for the first six to eight weeks. If you are planning to go out in the sun, get a good prescribed sunscreen lotion to protect your skin.
• You can start doing mild exercises after two months but cannot engage in any heavy lifting or strenuous activity for the next three months.
• You shouldn’t go swimming or any deep tissue cleaning for at least four months.
Getting Back to Normal Life
The recovery period of a lower body lift is the lowest where you can return in around six weeks to work. The recovery period for mid-body lift is a bit higher since the skin on the abdomen is removed. Further, the complete body lift has a much higher recovery period, which takes a minimum of two months to start doing your basic work around the home.
The swelling in a complete body lift will reduce significantly only after ten to twelve weeks.
Before you engage in any rigorous activity or take a step to do some work around the house, make sure to get it cleared with the surgeon.
At any point after the body lift surgery, if you experience any swelling, bleeding or discomfort on the operated regions, consult the nearest plastic surgeon immediately.
Body lift surgery is not a permanent one. It is up to you to maintain the effects of this surgery as long as you can. This surgery generally lasts for about five years and with some efforts on your side, you can increase the effects of the surgery for about ten years or more.
It is essential to follow a strict, healthy diet and do regular exercises to maintain your body in good shape.
The information is being provided by PlasticSurgery.in and have no intention to replace the medical advice of your doctor. Please consult your doctor directly for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed by Dr. Tejinder Bhatti, Plastic Surgeon on: 20-JUN-2020
“Dr. Tejinder Bhatti is a cosmetic plastic surgeon by training but now completely dedicated to the art and science of minimally invasive hair restoration surgery. He also runs a hospital, the Five Rivers Hospital in Mohali, Chandigarh where junior plastic surgeons perform esthetic plastic surgery under the overall supervision of Dr. Kulwant S Bhangoo who is the Chairman of the Program. Dr. Bhangoo is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons. He is an internationally renowned top cosmetic surgeon and chief of Plastic Surgery in Buffalo NY, USA.”