Why a Body Lift Can Help You After a Massive Weight Loss

If you desire a firmer, more youthful-looking body contour, then a surgical body lift may help achieve your goals. It improves the shape and tone of the underlying tissue that supports fat and skin. In addition, the procedure(s) can improve a dimpled, irregular skin surface, commonly known as cellulite.

Body lift surgery essentially sculpts the body by excision of excess skin and fat and reconstruction of what remains into some reactive contours. Body lifts can be performed in two different ways, to treat either the upper or the lower body:

  • Lower body lift: The lower body lift is the most common type of body lift in my practice. It typically includes a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), thigh lift, and buttocks lift performed at the same time. The incision is concealed around the hipline so that it’s not visible when wearing underwear or a bikini.
  • Upper body lift: For patients with severe skin laxity of the upper torso, an upper body lift may be the appropriate treatment. This typically includes a bra line back lift and upper abdominoplasty. The procedure is individualised for the particular patient.

Candidates for body lifts typically have lost large amounts of weight. They should be healthy and well-nourished without vitamin or mineral deficiencies. They should not smoke, as smoking increases the risk of complications.

Body lift is performed under general anaesthesia, with the patient positioned on their stomach, and the surgeon removes a large, belt-like segment of skin above the buttocks, up to the lower back. When the wound is closed, the thighs and buttocks are lifted. The patient is turned over and the surgeon continues to work on the front of the thighs and abdomen. Indeed, when a surgeon performs a circumferential removal of skin and fat of the lower abdomen, and when combined with undermining of the thighs, it will lead to a lift of the buttocks and thighs. A body lift can be done in two stages, with a three-month gap between procedures, or as a single stage surgery.

Patients usually take at least two weeks off from work following a body lift. I encourage patients to ambulate shortly after surgery. They may resume full exercise approximately 6 weeks following surgery. The results of a body lift are visible almost immediately. However, it may take as much as one to two years, or more, for the final results of the body lift procedures to fully develop. Since weight loss patients have poor skin elasticity, the closure must be as tight as possible. However, over-resection of the skin followed by overly tight closure of the tissues can lead to wound rupture or to broadly depressed scars resulting from suture pull through, breakage or premature dissolution. At the same time, insufficient removal of skin and low-tension closure leaves sagging tissues, skin rolls and/or wrinkles. A body lift should be seen as a critical step in overcoming obesity, with the potential of ceasing or reducing medications used for diabetes and high blood pressure. Patients need to take steps following surgery to maintain a healthy lifestyle, ensuring that their new shape will be long term.

Question: Do you feel that a body lift can improve self-esteem following massive weight loss? You can leave a comment below.

 

Tummy Tuck for Excess Skin & Muscle Separation. DrTim demonstrates a tummy tuck (aka abdominoplasty) for loose, excess skin on a background of significant muscle separation (rectus diastasis). The procedure involves 4 stages:

  1. Liposuction
  2. Mobilisation tissues
  3. Removal excess skin & fat
  4. Reconstruction of the umbilicus & closure of wound

The B & A photos at 3 months show a trim, taught and well contoured abdomen, as well as, a rejuvenated mons pubis region.

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Cosmetic Surgery Tip #18: You can move fat from elsewhere on your body to your boobs or butt

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It’s a new process called autologous fat transfer. The purpose of fat grafting is to augment or fill in volume-deficient areas. Of course, you must have donor sites from which fat can be taken. It is important that you do not have any circulation problems, either from a medical condition or smoking. Few people are candidates for this procedure to the breasts. If you desire a modest increase in breast size, you are a good candidate for fat grafting to the breast, but your breasts should already have a nice shape and good skin tone. If you have poor skin, sagging breasts, or want a significant increase in breast size, breast augmentation with fat transfer is not for you. The problem with only using fat for breast enhancement lies in getting large volumes of fat to predictably “take.” Many people who desire a fuller, more rounded buttock will opt for a “Brazilian butt lift,” which uses fat transfer to provide a more curvaceous buttock without the use of an implant. Liposuction is commonly used to both sculpt the surrounding area and collect the autologous fat to be injected.

Photo Credit: Saul Steinberg “Masquerade”

Brachioplasty (aka Arm Lift) for “Bingo Arms”

Brachioplasty (or Arm Lift) removes loose skin and fat from the upper arm. It ranks high on the wish list for many plastic surgery patients who have lost large amounts of weight or who have heavy upper arms due to simple genetic factors. Loose skin hanging from the arms tends to make patients self-conscious, limits clothing options and can even cause people to avoid certain activities, like swimming or playing tennis. Good candidates for brachioplasty are often weight loss patients who shed many kilograms, resulting in excess skin and stray fat deposits. Furthermore, post-bariatric patients should be near their desired weight and well nourished. Men or women with loose upper arms due to heredity and ageing may also be interested in brachioplasty. It’s best not to smoke for proper wound healing.

Techniques

There are a variety of techniques to chose from, so choosing the best approach for each patient’s particular needs is the no. 1 priority of the plastic surgeon. Each patient is unique in terms of skin laxity and other factors. Patients may benefit from one or a combination of the following techniques:

  1. ELBOW TO ARMPIT: An incision from the fold of the elbow to the axilla, or armpit, yields dramatic improvement. This approach is frequently combined with liposuction to eliminate stubborn fat pockets and loose skin. Most brachioplasty candidates choose this method.
  2. LIPOSUCTION ONLY: Patients with some skin elasticity remaining may opt for liposuction only. An advantage to this approach is that scarring is minimal. The right candidate can expect significant improvement, but not as dramatic as when skin is removed as well.
  3. MINI-ARM LIFTS: A mini-arm lift is an option for patients with excess skin in the uppermost portion of the arm, and for those concerned about scarring. In this case, I make an incision in the armpit, sometimes extending a 6-8 cms down the arm.
  4. ARM AND ARMPIT LIFTS: Upper arm skin is thin and sags over time. Some people lose so much elasticity that skin hangs down from their armpits as well, causing embarrassment and difficulty with clothing. These patients are candidates for a combination arm/armpit lift with incisions on the upper arm and in the armpit.
  5. ELBOW LIFT: A smaller group of patients have loose skin above and below the elbow. These men and women benefit from an arm and elbow lift. Great care needs to be taken with the incision across the elbow to remove excess skin while preserving range of motion.

Recovery

Most arm lift patients take a week or two off work after surgery. Most of the swelling subsides after 3-5 days and the wound takes about 10-14 days to heal. You will be encouraged to walk as soon as possible, gradually adding light activities over a few days and resuming full workouts and lifting within 6 weeks.

Risks

Complications of brachioplasty have been rare in my experience. These uncommon risks include infection, slow wound healing, bleeding, seroma and venous blood clots. Even if a complication were to occur, diligent post-operative care would still likely lead to a nice result.

 

To learn more about your arm lift options and whether or not you are a candidate, email us at info@drtim.com.au or call our clinic at 13000DRTIM .