Body Lift – Post Bariatric Plastic Surgery
Body lift improves the shape and tone of the underlying tissue that supports fat and skin. Excess sagging fat and skin are removed to treat conditions caused in part by poor tissue elasticity. The procedure(s) can improve a dimpled, irregular skin surface, which is commonly known as cellulite. A body lift may include these areas:
- Abdominal area – locally or extending around the sides and into the lower back area
- Buttocks that may be low, flat or shaped unevenly
- Groin that may sag into inner thigh
- Thigh – the inner, outer, or posterior thigh, or the thigh’s circumference
Aging, sun damage, pregnancy, significant fluctuations in weight, and genetic factors may contribute to poor tissue elasticity that can result in sagging of the abdomen, buttocks and thighs.
What a body lift won’t do:
Body lifts are not intended strictly for the removal of excess fat. Liposuction alone can remove excess fat deposits where skin has good elasticity and is able to naturally conform to new body contours. In cases where skin elasticity is poor, a combination of liposuction and body lift techniques may be recommended.
Body lift Candidates
In general, body lift candidates include:
- Individuals with significant soft tissue looseness in one or multiple body areas
- Healthy individuals without medical conditions that impair healing or increase risk of surgery
- Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic goals for what body lift surgery can accomplish
- Individuals committed to leading a healthy lifestyle with proper nutrition and fitness
Before the operation
During your body lift surgery consultation, be prepared to discuss:
- Your surgical goals
- Medical conditions, drug allergies and previous medical treatments
- Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use
- Previous surgeries
Your body lift surgeon will also:
- Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
- Examine and measure your body, this may include detailed body measurements
- Take photographs
- Discuss your body lift options
- Recommend a course of treatment
- Discuss likely outcomes of body lift surgery and any risks or potential complications
Also, ensure that you have discussed with your plastic surgeon any concerns you may have. It’s very important to understand all aspects of your body lift procedure. It’s natural to feel some anxiety, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don’t be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.
Preparing for Body Lift Surgery
In preparing for body lift surgery, you may be asked to:
- Get a lab test or a medical evaluation
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
- Stop smoking
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
Hospital stay and type of anesthesia
Body lift is usually performed under general anesthesia. Hospital stay: The duration of hospital stay is usually 2 to 4 days.
Body lift procedures are surgical procedures and they require extensive incisions. Incision length and pattern depend on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed, as well as surgical judgment.
Advanced techniques usually allow incisions to be placed in strategic locations where they can be hidden by most types of clothing and swimsuits.
One common technique of complete lower body lift uses incisions similar to a bikini pattern to tighten the abdomen, groin, waist, thigh and buttock in one procedure. A circumferential incision around the body removes an apron of excess skin and fat and repositions and tightens tissues.
A combination of liposuction and surgical body lifts may be necessary to achieve an improved contour.
Closing the incisions
Deep support sutures within underlying tissues help to form the newly shaped contours. Sutures, skin adhesives, tapes, or clips close the skin incisions.
See the results
The results of a body lift are visible almost immediately. It may take as long as one to two years for the final results to fully develop.
After the operation
During your body lift surgery recovery, dressings or bandages will be applied to the incisions after the procedure is complete. Small, thin tubes may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood that may collect.
You will be given specific instructions that may include how to care for your surgical site(s) following surgery, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, how to care for your drains, and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.
Body lift surgery recovery at home
If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heart beats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment.
Be sure to ask your body lift surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period:
- Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
- What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
- Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery?
- When will they be removed?
- How should I bathe after surgery?
- Are stitches removed? When?
- When will the drains be removed?
- When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
- When do I return for follow-up care?
The results of body lift surgery are visible almost immediately. However, it may take two years or more for the final results of the body lift procedures to fully develop. You can view photos of the kinds of procedures performed during a body lift in our before and after photo gallery.
Some visible scars will remain, but the overall results are long lasting, provided that you maintain a stable weight and general fitness. As your body ages, it is natural to lose some firmness. However, most of your initial improvement should be relatively permanent.
Although good results are expected from your body lift surgery, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary.
Following your physician’s instructions is essential to the success of your surgery.
It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.
Body lift surgery, even if performed for aesthetic reasons, is a genuine surgical procedure, with the consequent risks related to all medical acts. There are surgical and aesthetic complications. Concerning anesthesia, the anesthesiologist will inform you about all the anesthetic risks. You must be aware that anesthesia can sometimes cause unpredictable body reactions that can be difficult to control. The presence of an experienced anesthesiologist, in a surgical environment, means that the risks are statistically practically negligible.
The decision to have plastic surgery is extremely personal. You will have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications of body lift surgery are acceptable.
Your plastic surgeon and/or staff will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks or potential complications.
Possible body lift surgery risks may include:
- Bleeding (hematoma)
- Poor wound healing
- Fluid accumulation (blood or serum)
- Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
- Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)
- Pain, which may persist
- Recurrent looseness of skin
- Persistent swelling in the legs
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Possible need for revisional surgery
- Skin loss
- Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation and require removal
- Unfavorable scarring
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.
My Way …. “Metron Ariston”
My long-term experience has highlighted that in Plastic Surgery it is outstanding education and training that is required, along with sound expertise, in order to be able to deliver optimal results.
The Plastic Surgeon should opt for minimally invasive surgical techniques, as well as for techniques that deliver safe and long-lasting results. Yet, most times these involve highly-skilled procedures, the successful application of which demands rigorous training and vast experience.
In Post-bariatric plastic surgery, I combine reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgery techniques to tighten, lift and contour sagging areas. The choice of techniques and procedures and the order in which they are performed are individualized to each patient’s needs, in order to get aesthetically balanced, safe and durable outcomes.
This webpage aims to provide some information about the subject. Individual patient circumstances may differ, which might alter both the advice and course of therapy given to you by your doctor.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons, British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons, French Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery