Body Lift: Types, Risks, Recovery

Overview

Body lift is a collection of procedures that can improve the shape and tone of the body by removing excess sagging skin and fat in underlying tissues. A body lift can include procedures in body areas like arms, abdomen, buttocks and thighs.

Aging, sun damage, pregnancy, significant
fluctuations in weight and genetic factors may lead to poor tissue elasticity
that can result in sagging of the skin and fat. For individuals who have a significant
amount of loose skin, body lift can be a good choice.

Types

Body lift can be divided into upper body lift and lower body lift. A
lower body lift usually includes:

  • Butt lift
  • Thigh lift
  • Tummy tuck
  • Panniculectomy

Upper body lifts may vary depending on your
need, but often include an arm lift and removal of extra skin on your back and
chest, along with a breast lift for women.

Also, there is also a full body lift that combines upper and lower body lift surgeries.
But it is usually performed several months apart to let your wound heal in
between.

Cost

The cost for a body lift can vary greatly based on your location, your surgeon’s experience, and the number of procedures included in your treatment plan. According to 2018 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of lower body lift surgery is $8,157. And members at Realself report that a body lift costs about $15,000, on average.

Generally, body lift cost can involve:

  • Medical tests
  • Hospital or surgical facility costs
  • Surgeon’s fee
  • Anesthesia fees
  • Post-surgery garments
  • Prescriptions for medication

Risks

The risks for a body lift are similar to those of most surgeries, but they can be more common than with other operations, since you’re combining several procedures. Possible risks of the surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Unfavorable scarring
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Poor wound healing
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
  • Pain and swelling, which may persist
  • Looseness of skin
  • Skin discoloration and/or prolonged swelling
  • Asymmetries of body parts
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications

Preparation

Preparing for your body lift surgery
includes discussing questions about your health conditions, desires and
lifestyle with your plastic surgeon. Your surgeon may also ask you to:

  • Do a lab test or a medical evaluation
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements and other medications that may increase bleeding

If your body lift is performed on an
outpatient basis, remember to arrange for someone to drive you to and from
surgery. He or she should also stay with you for at least the first night after
the surgery.

Surgical steps

Body lift procedures are surgical
procedures that require extensive incisions. Incision length and pattern may
depend on the amount and location to be treated, as well as surgical judgment.
Generally, a body lift procedure includes these 4 steps:

  • Anesthesia, either intravenous sedation or general anesthesia based on your health condition and the doctor’s advice
  • Making the incision and then removing excess skin and fat to reposition and tighten tissues.
  • Closing the incisions with sutures, skin adhesives, tapes or clips
  • Waiting to see the results, which are visible almost immediately, but may take several months to fully develop depending on your individual needs

Recovery

Body lift surgery is a major surgical
procedure and requires significant recovery time. You surgeon will first
recommend intravenous or intramuscular medications to manage pain and
discomfort, and later oral pain medication.

Following your body lift surgery, dressings
or bandages will be applied to the incisions. Your surgeon will place a small,
thin tube under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect
after the surgery.

Your range of motion will be limited after the body lift surgery. You should avoid exercise, lifting and even driving. Most people require four to six weeks of recovery time before returning to normal activities. Generally, they should wait six to eight weeks before exercising.

Keyword: body lift.

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