Body Lift Before and After
So you’ve managed to lose a huge amount of weight, but now you’re haunted by sagging skin. It even overhangs your pubic area – not a good look. A body lift is designed to tighten the skin on the abdomen, lower back, hips, buttocks and/or thighs after massive weight loss. The plastic surgeon makes an incision and cuts away the excess skin (and fat if there’s still some left over). The skin is tightened back into position and sutured up. It seems simple enough, but it can take weeks for you to recover.
A lower body lift (also known as a belt lipectomy) is an invasive procedure which offers very dramatic results. Essentially, the entire procedure involves a tummy tuck, thigh lift and a butt lift. If you are concerned about dealing with too many procedures at once, the body lift can be performed in stages. However this will cost more (since you need to hire out the operating room on more occasions) and will add up to more downtime in total. After lifting the lower body your entire midsection will be greatly improved. You’ll be able to zip up those favorite pants once again, without the flab hanging over them.
Patient # 1
Tammy had a lower body lift to correct skin laxity in her hips and thighs and to perk up the buttocks. The surgery improved her shape significantly and also reduced her cellulite. She has a scar across the upper part of her hips and buttocks which can be hidden under bikinis or even a g-string.
Why does skin sag?
Some people get confused as to what a body lift actually does. Just to be clear, it’s not a means of helping you to lose weight and fat. Rather, it’s for those who have loose, sagging skin and disproportionate body contours caused by poor tissue elasticity. For those who are overweight but have supple skin which can spring back after surgery, then you would be looking at liposuction to get rid of the fat and contour the body that way. The difference with a body lift is basically ironing out the body shape after losing a lot of pounds where the skin is unable to shrink back on its own.
There are multiple reasons why your tissue may have poor elasticity. Your age is certainly a major factor. The younger you are, the easier it is to lose weight and your skin contracts back into position to closely hug your body. Over time, especially if you’ve been fat for a long while or submitted your body to huge weight fluctuations, this deteriorates your skin’s ability to bounce back. Other factors which hinder this process is pregnancy and even genetic factors.
Before the procedure
The unfortunate part about losing weight is the possible skin sag afterward. There are some things to try while you’re in the process of slimming down in order to help the skin take its intended position. If you’re trying to lose weight naturally through dieting and exercise, you should look after the skin by supplying it with plenty of nutrients. You may already be doing this as part of your balanced diet, but you should eat plenty of fresh greens and vegetables and keep hydrated. A nourished body leads to healthy vibrant skin. Apply skin tightening creams or firming body lotion with Q10 daily. The right cream can improve cell regeneration and develop the skin’s firmness. It should also strengthen the skin and help protect it against losing more elasticity.
Unfortunately, there are no exercises or stretches you can do to reverse the sag. Another trick you can try during the weight loss process is to wear compression garments. These are special apparel which surgeons recommend you wear after surgery to help the skin tighten and to aid an even silhouette. You could try wearing them under your clothes but make sure they are not too restrictive. If it’s not too uncomfortable you may even put them on before going to bed and let them do the work while you sleep. Just make sure you speak with a doctor first because you still want to ensure your body’s getting the right amount of blood flow. These are just some suggestions to try before considering body lift surgery.
There are also non-invasive procedures such as ReFirme which can stimulate collagen and help the skin to firm back up again. Unfortunately, using electric current or lasers may not work in all cases. Some people will just need surgery to get rid of all that loose skin. The combination of procedures will depend on which areas of the body are affected. This can be the abdomen (abdominoplasty), thighs (thigh lift), buttocks (buttock lift) and even the upper arms (brachioplasty). Before considering surgery if you’re a woman, get your pregnancies out of the way first.
Risks, complications & side effects
The term “body lift” seems harmless enough, but you must be aware that it’s a major surgery. It’s invasive, requires surgical intervention and combines multiple procedures which would otherwise be done on their own. One side effect which is sure to happen is the presence of scarring. You will be able to see scars on your lower abdomen, lower back and even your legs depending on which procedures you have done. These can usually be hidden with clothing. Even without any complications, you will experience some amount of pain and swelling. You will most probably be relying on pain medication to get you through the first week at least. Sometimes the pain and swelling can persist, at which stage you need to see your surgeon.
There are some unfavourable risks which include bleeding, accumulation of fluid, blood clots, infection and reaction to anesthesia. You could also end up with abnormal sensitivity or numbness in the skin in some areas. Fat necrosis (where deep fat tissue might die) is another possibility. If the surgery does not pan out or if you get recurring loose skin, then you may need revision surgery. Some people have experienced deep vein thrombosis and even cardiac and pulmonary complications. Further to these risks, your wounds may separate and sutures could cause you irritation to the point where they need to be removed. This is a very long list of possible complications and you should not make the decision for surgery lightly.
Make no mistake having a body lift requires a hefty amount of time to recover. You will need to spend approximately one to three nights in hospital. After that, you will need to wait around four to six weeks before you can return to normal activities. You still won’t be able to exercise during this phase, this requires around six to eight weeks recovery. If your wounds heal poorly or you experience any of the other problems noted above, this will prolong the recovery process.
After the surgery
During your nights’ stay in hospital, you will be fed pain relievers through your veins. After this, you can switch to oral medication. Once you are release from hospital, you will be largely bed bound and you will need someone to look after you for around two weeks. You’ll be able to take a shower after two days when the bandages come off. You’ll still need to wear a compression garment for as long as your surgeon requires. You may still thing you look fate or even bigger after the surgery, but this is just swelling. It takes 6 weeks for about 75% of the swelling to disappear. Most of it (around 90%) should be vanished within three months’ time following the procedure.
In some cases, the surgeon won’t be able to perform all your wanted procedures in one operation. So, if you need to return for more surgery, you won’t end up seeing the full results for some time. If it’s a single one off body lift procedure, then you’ll see the bulk of the results after three months (when the majority of the swelling has subsided). It may take up to six months to fully appreciate the results. If you maintain your weight after the lift, you shouldn’t need another one because the results are intended to be permanent. It’s a long painful process to go through, but once you’ve surfaced at the end of it, you’ll be pleased at your accomplishments.
Due to the excessive nature of the surgery and it involving more than one procedure combined into one operation, the cost is expensive. Where the lift involves a tummy tuck and a butt and thigh lift, this can range between $14,000 and $52,000, inclusive of the surgeon fees, facility charges and anesthesia costs. Health insurance companies will only pay for the cost if it’s medically necessary which is rare with loose skin. This would be essential for example where your overhanging skin was causing you pain or difficulties in moving. Each plan has different rules so make sure you ask your insurance agent what’s covered. In addition you may need to pay for medical tests, prescription medication and compression garments.
I’m 42 years old and I lost over 110 pounds just through changing my diet and implementing an exercise regime into my life. Before my transformation I used to each fried everything. I relied on my deep fryer to add taste to any food you could think of. I realized this was no way to live and after months of agonizing over my addiction, I finally threw out the deep fryer. I had a dietician help me do some wise shopping and a personal trainer at the gym to kick my butt into shape. I decided it was time to change after watching the biggest loser programs on tv. I am very pleased with how much I’ve lost but, like most people I guess, I’ve got this residual baggy skin to deal with. A body lift does seem like a very drastic step to take but it’s probably my only options. I just wish I hadn’t left it so long to do something about my weight. I am seeing a surgeon next week but I’m not looking forward to the aftermath.
Submitted by Lindsay on May 2, 2012
This YouTube video is created by Dr Siamak Agha-Mohammadi, a board certified plastic surgeon who specializes in plastic surgery after weight loss. He takes you through a variety of his before and after pictures stating the exact procedures which were performed on each patient. For example arm lift, dermal suspension breast lift, J upper body lift, the lower body lift, circumferential tummy tuck, bra-line upper body, buttock shaping and lift and spiral thigh lift (all on one patient).
More before and after photos
As you can see, Kate was suffering from excessive skin laxity. Her abdomen hung over her thighs and the buttock skin was also very loose. A belt lipectomy combined with a buttock and thigh lift has really improved her overall shape. She can now fit into clothing much more comfortably.
After losing a huge amount of weight, Helen’s breasts ended up sagging. Also the skin over her abdomen became very loose. She had a breast lift and inverted T tummy tuck, which left the vertical scar in the middle of her torso from between her breasts down to the mons pubis. The surgery has cut away the excess skin and now she looks firm and supple, sexily hugging her physique like it should.
Trevor had very lax skin on his stomach, hips and thighs. A tummy tuck and thigh lift really improved his look. His skin doesn’t wobble anymore when he walks and he’s much less self-conscious about the overhanging skin.
Amber’s stomach used to overhang her shorts and jeans and her skin was very wrinkled on her rear and thighs. After a belt lipectomy, the excess skin is no longer a problem. Her tummy, buttocks and thighs look much firmer.
- Body contouring
- Body jet
- Brazilian butt lift
- Bra line back lift
- Cool lipo
- Endoscopic abdominoplasty
- Fat reduction injections
- Fat removal
- Fat transfer
- Gastric bypass
- Lap band surgery
- Laser liposuction
- Mini tummy tuck
- Mons pubis reduction
- Pro lipo
- Slim lipo
- Smart lipo
- Skin tightening
- Thigh liposuction
- Tumescent liposuction
- Vaser liposuction
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