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Loose Skin? Find Out What Type of Body Lift Suits You Best

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Age, weight loss, pregnancy, sun damage, and certain genetic predispositions can all lead to unwanted areas of loose and drooping skin that are sometimes accompanied by stubborn subcutaneous fat. The solution? Body lift. A body lift removes excess tissue and tightens the underlying tissue to help people achieve their desired silhouette in the abdominal area, back, thighs, buttocks, upper arms, and breasts. 

Although body lifts are frequently requested by patients of all genders and are a relatively standard plastic surgery procedure, certain types of body lifts can be quite involved. Hence, it’s always recommended to work with a knowledgeable and experienced plastic surgeon who has been certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons.

What is a body lift?

Depending on the patient’s needs, a body lift can remove excess tissue from the torso, chest, back, buttocks, or upper and lower extremities. As part of the procedure, the underlying tissue is tightened as well. Body lifts are commonly sought out by people who have experienced:

  1. Weight loss, especially significant weight loss
  2. Pregnancy
  3. Sun damage to skin elasticity

Additionally, patients with a genetic tendency toward poor skin laxity may seek a body lift. Depending on the patient, several benefits can be achieved through a body lift, including:

  1. Eliminating discomfort or irritation from loose or drooping skin
  2. Eliminating the risk of infection between folds of skin
  3. Increasing range of motion

Types of body lifts

The best type of body lift depends on a number of factors, and you should consult with your plastic surgeon to determine which procedure best addresses your specific condition. But in general, the decisive factors in determining which type of body lift is most suitable include:

  1. Age
  2. Health
  3. Areas patients are concerned about
  4. Desired body contour

Upper body lift

An upper body lift, sometimes called a bra-line lift, removes fatty tissue, cellulite, and excess skin from the arms, upper back, sides of the chest, and the breasts. This procedure may also be combined with a tummy tuck — a cosmetic surgical procedure to improve the shape and appearance of the abdomen. However, this decision should be made on an individual basis and in consultation with your plastic surgeon.

Lower body lift

A lower body lift removes excess tissue to achieve the patient’s desired body contour for the lower extremities. This can include:

  1. A lift in the buttocks, hips, and thighs
  2. A tummy tuck
  3. Liposuction

This procedure is sometimes called a 360 tummy tuck or a belt-line lift because small incisions are made around the lower torso, like a belt.

Full body lift

A full body lift combines techniques from the upper body and lower body lifts. Also known as a total body lift, this procedure is one of the most involved plastic surgery procedures offered today.

Anyone interested in a full body lift should consult with their plastic surgeon to determine if they’re good candidates for this procedure. To safely deliver the desired results, the plastic surgeon may recommend dividing a full body lift into several smaller surgeries.

Am I a good candidate for a body lift?

Requesting a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon is the best way to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for a body lift. Generally, healthy non-smokers who experience unwanted lax or drooping skin tend to be the best candidates for a body lift. It’s also common for patients who have lost a significant amount of weight (30-50% of total body weight) through diet and exercise or bariatric weight loss surgery to seek out a body lift to remove lax or drooping skin.

The difference between a body lift and liposuction

Body lifts are not intended to remove fatty tissue. For those with good skin elasticity who only seek the removal of exercise and diet-resistant excess fat, liposuction can be a better option. However, if the skin elasticity has been compromised, liposuction should be combined with a body lift to eliminate the excess skin.

What to consider when choosing a plastic surgeon

It’s always recommended to work with a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) because the ABPS has the most thorough training and learning requirements for plastic surgeons. An experienced and properly trained plastic surgeon can help ensure that patients achieve their desired results.

What to expect for recovery

The results of a body lift procedure are instantly visible and continue to improve as healing progresses. Following the post-operative guidelines provided by your plastic surgeon can boost the long-term results and speed recovery. Since a body lift involves major muscles in the trunk and, in some cases, the upper legs and arms, you should give your body time to heal. As such, you should avoid exercise for the first four weeks after the procedure, including yoga and heavy lifting. Once a patient has been cleared by their plastic surgeon to exercise again, they should begin slowly. P.S: Easing back into a fitness routine helps reduce scarring.

Incisions and scars

As part of a body lift procedure, a series of incisions are made to access the underlying tissues. However, the incisions can be made in the natural folds or contours of the body and areas typically covered by clothing.

Rest assured. You can minimize scarring by adhering to post-operative care guidelines, including using medical-grade scar creams/tapes and/or lasering the plastic surgeon has prescribed.

Maintaining your results

A body lift is a permanent procedure, but the best results are seen when the patients maintain their weight range to ensure that the skin does not significantly stretch again and possibly lose elasticity. You may also wish to look for a plastic surgeon who offers post-operative visits as part of a personalized follow-up plan. An experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon can monitor your recovery and help you maintain your results.

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