A body lift involves the removal of extra skin on target areas of the body. The skin removed during a body lift has lost its elasticity and is not tightening against the contour of the body following extreme weight loss, childbearing, or aging. There are a variety of different body lift procedures that can address a single area of the body such as the upper arm or the outer thighs, as well as body lift procedures that manipulate larger areas on the body all in one procedure. For example, a lower body lift can remove excess skin from the hips, buttocks, thighs, and abdomen. An upper body lift can address issues with skin folds in the mid-back, sagging breasts, gynecomastia, and excess skin on the upper arms.
A body lift is not a weight loss procedure. Rather, it is often the final step following profound weight loss for patients who have undergone bariatric surgery. The surgery aims to remove the extra skin that can actually get in the way of a healthy lifestyle. Following profound weight loss, many patients with large rolls of skin experience chafing that is uncomfortable, and they may have difficulty finding clothing that fits properly. After losing a lot of weight, patients want to look good and fit into their clothing comfortably. Having a lot of excess skin can get in the way of a patient’s ability to partake in regular exercise and it can generally make it more difficult to enjoy the lost weight. A body lift can help patients complete the transformation to a healthier, slimmer self.
Though body lift procedures are very popular among individuals who have experienced profound weight loss, women who have gone through pregnancy may have excess skin that refuses to snap back into place, as well. Indeed, aging alone can cause the skin to get loose and begin to sag. Though a body lift is not necessarily appropriate for everyone, the procedure was developed to help patients get rid of extra skin folds that have lost elasticity, whether due to weight loss, childbearing, aging, or for other reasons.
All body lift procedures involve the removal of excess skin and the tightening of underlying muscles to provide additional support. Some patients also decide to have other procedures like liposuction, performed at the same time to obtain an even more sculpted and toned appearance. Patients can see some of the results of a body lift almost immediately after surgery. However, it can take up to a year or more for patients to be able to see the final outcome of the body lift, as the skin and underlying tissues become positioned, and better supported on the body.
What is a Body Lift?
A body lift is a cosmetic procedure in which excess skin and fat are removed from an area of the body and support of underlying tissues is improved. The procedure is commonly performed on patients who have recently lost a lot of weight very quickly and have a lot of loose excess skin leftover as a result. The procedure is appropriate for anyone who has folds of skin that have accumulated due to weight loss, aging, or even childbearing.
Different areas of the body can be “lifted”. For example, arm lifts are commonly performed to remove excess skin and fat and create a firmer appearance to the upper arm. Breast lifts, thigh lifts, and buttock lifts are also procedures that can produce dramatic effects very quickly. It is common for excess skin to accumulate in the hips, abdomen, pubic area, and the back as well following significant weight loss. A body lift can be performed on any of these areas or sometimes a combination of areas. For example, a lower body lift sculpts the abs, thighs, and buttocks in an all-in-one procedure that includes a tummy tuck, thigh lift, and buttock lift. An upper body lift, in contrast, addresses flabbiness in the breasts, upper arms mid-back, and neck. Total body lifts are procedures that involve multiple areas of the upper and lower body.
Though a body lift procedure can provide dramatic results, it is not a weight-loss procedure. Rather, a body lift is appropriate for the removal of excess skin that sometimes remains following significant weight loss.
All body lift procedures include the same basic technique to restore a desirable appearance and functionality to the body. It doesn’t matter whether you’re having a hip lift, or a breast lift, the procedure will still involve two basic components: incisions will be made to remove excess skin and fat from the target area and the underlying musculature will be tightened to provide additional support to the overlying tissues.
In some instances, liposuction may be performed on the target area to remove excess fat tissue that is not responding to diet and exercise. One specific target area can be addressed surgically, or you and your doctor may decide to treat several areas of the body during your procedure.
Before your body lift surgery, your doctor may perform some medical tests to make certain the procedure is appropriate for you. You may be prescribed medications and the medications that you’re currently on may be adjusted in preparation for the surgery. Your doctor may advise you to stop smoking for a few weeks before and after surgery, as smoking can slow the healing process.
The body lift procedure will be scheduled to take place in an outpatient clinic, hospital or surgical center. When you arrive for surgery, you will be given anesthesia and your body will be prepared for the surgery. The type of anesthesia for your procedure will be determined in advance, depending on your unique situation. Local anesthesia and sedation may be provided or general anesthesia, depending on the extent of the work to be performed and other factors.
After the anesthesia has been administered, the doctor will then make incisions on your body. For a complete lower body lift, for example, the doctor will make an incision that goes all the way around the body. Excess skin is then removed and the tissues are repositioned and tightened using deep support suturing. Liposuction may be performed to further improve the contour of the body. If a different part or parts of your body are being targeted, the incisions will be in a different location, of course.
After the excess skin and fat has been removed and deep support sutures are in place, the doctor will close up your incisions and you will be taken to a recovery area.
Some of the results of a body lift procedure are visible almost immediately, but the full impact of the procedure could take as long as one to two years to emerge.
Areas of a Body Lift
A body lift can be performed on a number of different areas of the body, depending on your situation. If you have loose, hanging, excess skin on a particular location of your body, this procedure may help you achieve a more contoured look.
Popular areas targeted by this procedure include the hips, upper arms, breasts, thighs, abdomen, pubic area, and back, but other areas of the body may also be targeted using a body lift procedure. In some instances, only one area of the body is targeted, but in others, multiple areas are targeted all in one procedure. For example, a lower body lift targets the hips, thighs, buttocks, and abdomen, while an upper lift targets the upper arms, mid-back, and breasts. A total lift can target multiple areas on the lower or upper part of the body.
Candidates for a Body Lift
A body lift is particularly well-suited for individuals who are in relatively good health. Women who are finished having children are better candidates for a body lift than women who may decide to become pregnant again in the future.
Individuals who have loose, flabby skin in one area of the body, or perhaps multiple areas are good candidates for body lift surgery. Patients should cultivate realistic expectations about what the surgery can do for them and be committed to a healthy lifestyle.
Types of Body Lift
There are different types of body lift procedures that can address the unique needs of different patients. Some patients have one specific area of the body that needs to be lifted, for example, the upper arms or the buttocks. Other patients may have multiple areas of the body that need to be targeted using body lift techniques.
Patients, who have undergone significant weight loss due to bariatric procedures, may have skin that is loose and flabby in their upper or lower body that needs to be addressed as a whole. When patients need to address the entire upper, middle, or lower part of the body, or all of these regions, surgeons refer to each procedure respectively as an Upper, Mid, Lower, or Total Body Lift.
Upper Body Lift
An upper body lift addresses excess sagging skin in the upper area of the body. This area includes the upper arms, chest and breasts, mid-back and sometimes the neck. In men, an upper lift often addresses gynecomastia. The procedure may be combined with liposuction to contour the body with more precision. Some women opt to get breast implants at the same time as an upper-body lift procedure.
A mid-body lift or torsoplasty addresses flabbiness around the abdomen and lower body and may include a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty as part of the procedure. A mid-body lift addresses issues in the abdominal region along with the thighs, hips, and buttocks. The procedure uses incisions similar to those used for a lower body lift to create a smooth, even contour from the abdomen to the thighs. Abdominal muscles may be sutured for more support and to create a tighter tummy before closing up the incision.
Lower Body Lift (Belt Lipectomy)
A lower lift involves the removal of extra skin in the hips, waist, thighs, and buttocks. Because many patients lose the majority of extra weight in these lower areas of the body, extreme weight loss can leave large folds of excess skin and fat that can actually cause problems like chafing and other discomforts. A lower lift addresses these issues, sculpting the body into a more flattering physique.
In a lower body lift or belt lipectomy, an incision is made around the circumference of the body and down the inner thighs. Excess skin is then removed from these areas.
Total Body Lift
For patients who have lost a lot of weight, excess skin can create chafing and much discomfort while also making it impossible to fit into smaller clothes. A total body lift combines the essential elements of an upper, mid, and lower body lift into one procedure to produce dramatic results all over the body. A total body lift is a more complicated procedure, requiring up to six weeks of recovery at home, but the outcomes are significant.
Before surgery, your doctor will put markings on your body designating the location where incisions will be made and the location of other landmarks to guide the surgical process. In these photos shown above, excess skin will be removed between the upper line and the lower line giving the buttocks, abdomen, waist, thighs, and hips a lift.
Body Lift vs. Tummy Tuck (What’s the difference?)
Although an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and body lift do have some things in common, they produce very different results. A tummy tuck targets only the abdomen, removing excess skin and tightening the abdominal muscles for a flatter, more contoured look on the front part of your body.
A body lift, in contrast, addresses issues in the front, sides, and back of the body all at once. If you have problems with saggy, loose skin in more than just the abdominal area, but also along the side of your body and your back, a body lift would more appropriately address those problems than a tummy tuck.
An extended tummy tuck along with some deep suture support in the six-pack muscles of the abdomen can sometimes be used to address flabby skin in the tummy as well as the sides. Some doctors recommend liposuction treatment of the area to sculpt and contour the area even more precisely. But, if you have excess skin that wraps around to your lower back, a body lift (sometimes referred to as a circumferential abdominoplasty) may be a better choice for you.
In a regular abdominoplasty or tummy tuck, incisions are made in a different location on the body than in a circumferential abdominoplasty or body lift. In a body lift, the incisions wrap around the whole body. In an abdominoplasty, depending on your situation, incisions could be placed in various places but they will be only on the front of the body.
Though a tummy tuck will primarily just address the problem of extra skin on the belly and perhaps the sides of the body, a body lift can help get rid of excess skin in the “spare tire” region of the body. A circumferential body lift gives patients lift and support in the outer thigh, “saddlebag” area, and the buttocks, as well as the hips, sides, back, and abdomen. Though a tummy tuck and a body lift can both create change in the thigh region by pulling on the skin in nearby areas, a lower body lift is more likely to produce dramatic improvement.
Cost of Body Lift
Factors Affecting Cost
The cost of a body lift varies from patient to patient because every situation is different. However, there are certain factors that you can anticipate in the cost of this procedure. The bulk of the cost of a body lift can be attributed to three things: surgeon’s fees, facility fees, and anesthesia/anesthesiologist fees. Other costs may be involved such as the cost of lab work, or prescription medications and patients should take into account the time they will have to take off from work for recovery as well when considering cost.
The cost will depend greatly on your surgeon’s experience and qualifications as well as the area of the country where you have your surgery performed.
Below is a summary of the factors involved in the cost of a body lift procedure.
- Plastic surgeon’s fees
- Hospital or facility fees
- Anesthesia and anesthesiologist fees
- Cost of lab work
- Cost of medications prescribed before and after surgery
- Post-surgical compression garments
- Cost of taking time off work
Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon about financing plans to help make the procedure more affordable for you.
Cost of an Upper Body Lift
An upper body lift targeting the upper arms or back, breasts, and neck area costs between $9000 and $20,000 depending on the amount of skin to be removed and the areas to be targeted.
Cost of a Mid-Body Lift
A mid-body lift usually costs between $6000 to $8,000 but may be higher depending on the amount of work to be done and the amount of excess skin to be removed.
Cost of a Lower Body Lift (Belt Lipectomy)
The cost of a lower body lift procedure varies quite a lot from patient to patient, but most end up costing between $6,000 and $25,000. The variation in cost has to do with each patient’s unique situation, the amount of skin to be removed, and other factors.
Cost of a Total Body Lift
A total body lift usually costs between $10,000 and $17,000, but some patients have paid as much as $50,000 for extensive treatments.
Body Lift Before and After Pictures
Take a look at the images shown on this page to see how a body lift procedure can positively transform your physical appearance. These photos portray the actual results of body lift procedures on real people. Peruse the gallery to learn more about body lift procedures and how this procedure might benefit you.
After looking through these before and after photos, you’ll probably have additional questions about the procedure. Write down these questions. If you’ve carefully studied the information on the other pages of this web site, you’re ready for an initial consultation with a plastic surgeon in your area. Take along the questions that you have about the photos on these pages and present them to your plastic surgeon to learn more about how a body lift could help you achieve an entirely new look.