Body Lift

A body lift, also known as a belt lipectomy, addresses excess skin or fatty tissue on the body that results from age or extreme weight loss. More extensive than a tummy tuck, the body lift is performed on the lower torso and upper legs, resulpting the abdomen, hips, back, buttocks and outer thighs.

While exercise and a healthy diet can help with weight management, they don’t address loose, sagging skin and uneven contours. Aging, sun damage, cellulite, genetics, pregnancy, and significant fluctuations in weight may contribute to poor tissue elasticity and can result in sagging of the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs. A body lift can provide a firmer, more youthful-looking body.

People who have lost a large amount of weight, either through gastric bypass surgery, intestinal bypass surgery, or change in nutrition and fitness habits, may have excess skin on their bodies, making them excellent candidates for a body lift. Other good candidates are those who have been unable to shed those last 30 or 40 pounds through diet or exercise. A body lift is also an option for normal-weight women who have given birth and want to remove remaining skin and tissue after losing post-pregnancy weight.

The steps of the body lift procedure differ depending on the needs of the patient. In most cases, the stomach area is addressed first. This is the area most often affected by pregnancy or excessive weight loss. Once incisions are made, excess skin is removed from the belly button to the pubic area, and the abdominal wall muscles are tightened. The fat and skin from above the belly button is pulled down and sutured in place, and the belly button is pulled out to its normal position.

 

The procedure continues with the buttocks and thigh areas, with incisions being made as inconspicuous as possible. These areas are addressed in the same manner as in the thigh and buttock lifts. In cases that require the removal of fat, liposuction is often involved. The entire body lift procedure takes 5 to 6 hours to complete and is performed under general anesthetic.

A body lift is a major surgical procedure and requires significant recovery time. Most patients can expect to remain in the hospital for 1 to 2 nights after the operation and are typically off of work for 4 to 6 weeks. Patients are encouraged to walk after the surgery, but are instructed to avoid other activities like as exercise and more strenuous activities until sufficient healing is complete. This usually takes 6 to 8 weeks. Approximately 75 percent of the swelling goes down after six weeks and 90 percent after about three months.

As with every surgical procedure, a body lift has risks and potential complications. Prior to surgery, Dr. Chaudhari carefully discusses all risks, as well as detailed instructions for recovery, with each patient. Possible risks or complications with body lift surgery include:

  • Fluid accumulating under the skin (seroma)
  • Small skin separations
  • Reduced sensation in the treated area
  • Infection
  • Bleeding (hematoma)
  • Blood clots
  • Unfavorable scarring
  • Skin discoloration
  • Recurrent looseness of skin
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
Body Lift Procedure