Skin tends to droop as it ages.
The proteins - elastin and collagen produced for firming and toning up of the
skin stops over the years. In this process, it is the lower half of the body
that bears the brunt of the effects of gravity. Infact many find that weight
loss occurs in areas such as buttocks, hips and thighs. Severe weight loss
produces excess skin that can cause chafing and discomfort.
Lower body lift is part of the general area in cosmetic surgery and
is called body contouring. Excess amounts of fat and skin tissues are removed
and buttocks, thighs and hips successfully tightened leaving smoother younger
Records reveal that the first ever body lifting operations began in Brazil and France in the
1960s and 1970s. In the US while in 2001 around 4000 lower body lift procedures were performed, in 2004
this has grown about 43 times more.
Body lift surgery
As such, body lift surgeries are quite effective for patients with significantly excess amount of skin resulting
from heavy weight loss. Patients undergo lower, mid and upper body lifts
depending upon the location of the excess fat and skin.
Types of body lift surgery
The type of body lift depends upon the location of the excess fat and skin in the body. Aesthetic goals are
also considered by the plastic surgeon. Either a specific part of the body that
commonly accumulates fat and surplus skin such as arms, breast, buttocks,
abdomen, thighs or hips or a larger area is chosen for the operational
procedure. This part is recontoured and smooth, trim and younger appearance is
Complete or total body lifts can
help create a new hour glass figure. However, recovery from a total body lift
involves much more than small scale body lift techniques. It would take
extended recovery period to rejuvenate after massive weight loss, even up to a
period of six weeks or more. Many patients feel satisfied after the swelling
comes down and the scars begins to fade after a period of time.
Most common body lift procedures
Branchioplasty or arm lift which involves incision along the armpit
and inside surface of the arm. Excess fat is removed and excess skin trimmed
away through liposuction procedure.
Medial thighplasty or inner thigh lift is a procedure to remove
excess fat and skin hanging from upper, inner thigh through strategic incision
at the junction of the thigh with the groin. For individuals with severe thigh
contour problems, further incisions are made extending from groin area to the
inside of the thigh up to the knee. After suturing, dressings are applied to
the incision area and compression garment which may be required for several
weeks after surgery placed.
A total body lift surgery could
typically cost anywhere between $10000 and $ 17000 and can go up to even $
50000 depending upon the extent of treatment undertaken.
Lower body lift surgery
A lower body lift can be construed as a specialized type of 'tummy tuck'. It is a medical procedure
whereby an incision is made in the lower torso allowing re-suspension of the
lateral and anterior thighs with the traditional tummy tuck improvements.
Excess fat and skin are removed from the lower parts of the body by surgical procedure. The surgeon typically
makes strategically placed incisions around the belt line of the waist across
the lower abdomen and down the inner thighs. After removing the excess fat and
skin, the body is sculpted by lifting, tightening and shaping the skin. The
incisions are closed and bandaged. Normally the lower body lift surgery is
accompanied by abdominoplasty or a mid body lift.
This surgery is quite extensive.
While the traditional lower body lift targeted the upper thighs and the
buttocks and abdomen, it is ideal to remove the redundant skin the one can feel
hanging around the lower torso, especially after severe weight loss.
The surgery typically takes about
five to eight hours and the procedure requires time off work. It is mandatory
to have close post operative supervision.
Lower body lift methods
Belt lift, as the very name suggests is a plastic surgery procedure
for sculpting the area where a belt would rest.
Belt lipectomy involves circumferential incision around the waist
and back. The results are dramatic and long lasting with a healthy post
operative lift style.
Thong lift is removal of excess skin and fat from buttocks and
surrounding areas. The area is subsequently reshaped and designed to appear
Lateral tension lift is performed in the waist and nearby areas of
the body. Unwanted tissues are removed and the body is transformed into a more
Torsoplasty is an extended version of tummy tuck and is frequently
combined with other plastic surgery procedures including liposuction.
Circumferential Torsoplasty involves a circular incision around the body used
to access unwanted excess fat tissue and skin.
Circumferential panniculectomy is used to surgically remove excess
fat and skin from the lower abdomen of obese patients. This procedure is
undertaken after he/she has lost massive amount of weight and wishes to remove
the extra skin that has lost its elasticity.
Circumferential lipectomy removes excess fat and skin from the
patient's body which is reshaped to a more desirable form.
Who can undergo body lift surgery?
Patients who desire to undergo body lift surgery should be in relatively good health. He/she should have loose
lower body skin and fat that will not be alleviated through exercise and
dieting normally produced due to pregnancy and aging. The patient should also
fully understand the benefits that plastic surgery can provide and its inherent
Women who plan to bear children
are advised to postpone such treatments until after childbearing. Normal weight
women in their thirties and forties can opt for such body lift surgery to
remove excess skin and fat tissues and post pregnancy weight.
Buttock lift or butt lift surgery is more often done to improve the tautness and tone of the skin on the buttocks
to make it 'perkier'. This is relatively a new procedure and is performed as a
solo procedure or as part of total body lift.
Two methods are followed for butt
lift operation. One is to remove the excess skin and tighten the skin above the
upper part of the buttock. If the buttocks are too large, the patient may
benefit from liposuction to reduce the size of the buttock. The other is to
lift the buttock through fat injections and implants. This is done to enlarge
the size of the buttock. This procedure is referred to as 'Brazilian butt lift'.
If the buttocks are sagging and the patient does not want an augmentation, the excess tissue is removed, the butt
is lifted and the skin tightened. In case the sag is minimal, a 'butt wedge'
excision is indicated.
Patients are advised not to sit
atleast for one week and stress the operated area. Bruises and swelling subside
within a month and patient can resume strenuous activity by three months. The
total cost for a butt lift ranges from $ 5000 to $ 13000 depending upon the
type of lift opted.
It is common for women to undergo thigh lift surgery or thighplasty as fat tends to accumulate on their bodies.
Thighs harbor loose, saggy and excess skin and the dreaded cellulite. For some
women the inner thighs tend to rub against each other when they walk and cause
irritation and discomfort. Although diet and exercise could help lose fat, the
inner thighs are difficult area of the body to lose weight.
There are different types of thigh lifts employed that target specific areas for best results.
The inner thigh lift targets the inner thigh as its very name
indicates. This is for those who are unable to eradicate excess fat through
diet and exercise. Skin elasticity which could be caused by aging process gets
reduced. An incision is made at the junction of the thigh and public area. Fat
and skin are removed and the leg contour is enhanced with skin elasticity.
Bilateral thigh lift: This procedure is designed to tighten the
skin on the outside of the leg. The surgeon makes the incision at the top of
the leg on the lower edge of say a bikini bottom. After removing the skin
hanging the remaining skin is pulled up and tightened along both the right and
left side of the leg. This surgery is performed on those who suffer excess skin
after extreme weight loss.
A medial thigh lift reduces the excess skin and fat on the upper
portion of the inner thigh. An incision is made in the groin that goes to the
back of the crease of the buttock. Patients who desire a perfect shapely pair
of legs undergo this surgery.
A thigh lift could cost anywhere
from $ 2000 to $ 8000 depending upon the amount of fat and excess skin to be
Post Body lift surgery
Body lift, lower body lift, butt lift or thigh lift surgeries are major procedures and their recovery time is
significant. In most patients, pain and discomfort are managed by intravenous
and intramuscular medications and later by oral pain medications.
Specific dietary plan is chalked
out for the patients to reduce risk of complications. Certain drainage tubes
which may be inserted during the procedure require personal home care for up to
two weeks and they have to be safely removed when the output of drainage fluid
Medical compression garment is
provided to the patients by the doctor and they need to be worn all times
except while bathing. The doctor informs the duration for wearing these
garments. Dressings are removed a couple of days after surgery.
Patients are recommended to
restrict post surgery activities till adequate recovery. Strenuous activities
including exercise and weight lifting should be avoided until sufficient
healing has occurred. Walking is however encouraged after surgery.
Complications and risks involved in body lift surgeries
It should be well understood that as such all forms of surgeries have a level of uncertainty and are prone to
risk. Lower body lift operations and plastic surgeries for body lift are no
Probably the most common body
lift complications include seromas or fluid accumulation under the skin. The
surgeon should help resolve this issue. Some patients may experience a reduced
sensation in the treated area which can become permanent. Infection, bleeding
and blood clots can also occur.
The abdominal scar will appear to worsen during the
first couple of weeks and it can take up to eighteen months before they flatten
and the color lightens. Although scars may not completely disappear, they could
be hidden by clothing.