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Home >> Getting Informed >> Body Lifts
Body Lifts

Body lifts are Plastic surgery procedures intended to shape and tone the abdomen, buttocks, thighs and breasts. A lower body lift (belt lipectomy) involves the tummy, the thighs, buttocks and back, while an upper body lift focuses primarily on the breasts, chest and middle back areas. If lower and upper body lifts are combined, the procedure is known as a total body lift.
Body lifts can be used to treat excess skin, cellulite and sagging fatty tissue, meaning the procedure may be performed on people who have sustained massive weight loss after bariatric surgery such as gastric bypass or Lap Band. In addition, these surgeries can help mothers get their pre-pregnancy bodies back.

Is a Body Lift Right for Me?

The best candidate for a body lift has maintained a stable weight for a minimum of three months – preferably six months to a year – and should be participating in a healthy exercise and dietary program. Candidates who have had gastric bypass, Lap-Band or other gastric restrictive procedures should wait at least one year after weight loss surgery so that the common health problems associated with obesity have had time to improve.
Women who plan to have children may be advised to postpone treatment until after childbearing. Normal-weight women in their 30s and 40s may opt for body lift surgery to remove remaining skin and tissue after reducing excessive post-pregnancy weight.

The Body Lift Procedure

The operation is typically performed in a hospital. However, some procedures may be performed in a fully accredited outpatient surgical center. This might depend on your body mass index (BMI) at the time of the procedure. Time in surgery ranges from four to seven hours and is usually performed under general anesthesia, while you are asleep.
A lower body lift starts with a belt-like excision above the outer thighs and buttocks. Your surgeon may further separate the thigh skin to help with the procedure. He or she will then suture this area and start the tummy tuck (abdominoplasty).
The next step involves a horizontal incision made along the pubic area, which is followed by the removal of the tissues that span from the underlying muscles to the belly button. The skin in between the belly button and central rib cage will then be separated.  Next, your surgeon may suction out any remaining fat in this area with liposuction.
Your surgeon will tighten the stomach muscle after the extra skin is detached. The skin that remains is then repositioned and sutured at the pubic area; after which the belly button is returned to its original location.
An upper body lift starts with a broad bra-line skin removal. After your surgeon closes this excision, they will eliminate the back fat rolls and narrow the waist. Any extra skin under the breasts or over the lower rib cage can now be removed. When closing, your surgeon will tighten the skin under the breasts, and the raised abdominal skin will be sutured to the lower rib cage.
As part of an upper body lift, men can undergo male breast reduction.
Total Body Lift and Follow-Up Procedures
As the name implies, the total body lift combines upper and lower body lifts along with supplemental procedures. This can be done as one surgery, or at separate intervals.
The surgeries may be broken up because risks tend to increase when multiple surgeries are performed at the same time. The sequencing intervals are not set in stone. Different surgeons have different methods for performing total body lifts. Some surgeons start with a lower body lift, and then perform a breast lift, which is followed by a complete inner thigh reconstruction. Next surgeons may tackle the face, neck and arms.
Two of the more commonly performed body lift follow-up procedures include:

Arm Lift (brachioplasty). An arm lift usually involves an incision along two areas: the armpit and the inside surface of the arm from the elbow to the armpit, in an inconspicuous location. Excess fat is removed through liposuction.The excess skin is trimmed away, pulled together and sutured in place. Dressings will be applied to the incision areas.A compression garment may be required for several weeks after surgery.
Inner Thigh Lift (medial thighplasty). In most cases during thigh lift surgery, excess fat and hanging skin is removed from the upper, inner thigh through an incision placed at the junction of the thigh with the groin. However, for individuals with more severe thigh contour problems, an incision may also be necessary which extends from the groin area along the inside of the thigh down to the knee. Excess fat is removed through liposuction. The excess skin is trimmed away, pulled together and sutured in place. Dressings will be applied to the incision areas. A compression garment may be required for several weeks after surgery.

After Body Lift Surgery
Body lift is a major surgical procedure and requires significant recovery time.Most patients remain in the hospital for one to three nights.
Pain and discomfort are first managed with intravenous or intramuscular medications, and later with oral pain medication. A specific dietary plan may be encouraged.The doctor will supply a complete instruction list that must be followed to reduce the risk of complications.
Drainage tubes are inserted, which will require personal home care for up to two weeks. These tubes can be safely removed when the output of drainage fluid is low.
The doctor may provide you with a medical compression garment to wear at all times except while bathing.This should be worn until your doctor lets you know it is no longer needed. Dressings are generally removed two days after surgery and showering is allowed at that time.
Your post-surgery activities will likely be restricted until you have adequately recovered. This could include no exercise and no lifting of five pounds or more. Walking is encouraged after surgery; however, further exercise is not recommended until sufficient healing has occurred.
Most people require four to six weeks' recovery before returning to normal activities, and generally from six to eight weeks before exercising. There cannot be any pressure placed on the treated area. Approximately 75 percent of the swelling dissipates at six weeks and 90 percent at three months.

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