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Allen M. Doezie MD - Mission Plastic Surgery

A body lift is the term used for a plastic surgery procedure that removes excess or loose abdominal skin, and improves the shape and tone of the muscle and tissue. Specifically a body lift can treat the buttocks, abdomen, waist, hips and thighs all during one procedure. This is often necessary after patients have lost a significant amount of weight.

After losing a lot of weight, the skin of a person’s body may not shrink back appropriately, giving the person the appearance of folds of skin and tissue hanging from their abdomen, trunk, and flanks. Unfortunately, excess tissue like this will generally not improve with exercise or weight lifting. In these patients, a standard tummy tuck is not enough, and a “body lift” is necessary to remove the extra tissue around the sides and back of the lower body.


Best Candidates for the procedure

Good body lift candidates:

  • Have waited at least one year since undergoing weight loss surgery and/or
  • Have maintained a stable weight for at least one year
  • Have loose excess skin and fat that is resilient to exercise
  • Have realistic expectation for their outcome
  • Do not have a life-threatening condition or illnesses that can impair healing
  • Are Non-Smokers

Initial Consultation

Dr. Doezie, attended by his assistant, will meet with you and discuss the procedure in detail and answer any questions you may have about your body and the procedure. He will examine your abdomen, and an estimated cosmetic quote will be prepared for you to review at the end of your consultation.

The Procedure

Dr. Doezie will determine the body lift technique that is right for you. The amount and location of excess skin will determine the types of incisions and procedures that will be performed. Local deposits of fat may also be treated with liposuction. The surgery must be performed at a surgery center under general anesthesia and takes several hours to complete. The patient will stay overnight at the surgery center to be observed and to treat any pain they may experience.

During the procedure, excess skin around the abdomen and thighs and buttocks is removed. The thigh and buttock area will then be sutured closed. Much like a tummy tuck, the abdominal tissue is separated from the skin and the excess is removed from the upper abdomen. Rectus muscles that have weakened or that have been stretched will be stitched together tightening them. Dr. Doezie may then use liposuction to remove any remaining fat. After the muscles have been repaired excess fat and skin are removed. The remaining skin is repositioned over the abdominal muscles and sewn into place.

A body lift will produce a near-circumferential scar around the lower body. Although scar lines cannot be avoided they can usually be positioned in such a way that it is below the level of one’s pants; it can even be hidden within certain bikini bottoms.

Recovery

Recovery is much the same as a tummy tuck, but with more wounds to heal. It may take up to three weeks before you can return to normal activity. Immediately following surgery you will be placed in a compression garment to minimize swelling and support your abdomen as it heals. You will be given pain medication to alleviate any discomfort at the incision sites. As with the tummy tuck, the patient must be especially careful to avoid activities that place too much tension or stress on the wounds. Full recovery takes about six weeks to return to unrestricted activity and lifting of heavy objects, but most patients are usually mobile and engaging in normal daily activities within one to two weeks.

Results

Most patients see their results immediately and, over the months following your surgery, your skin’s surface will become even firmer. Scars will start to lighten in color but it may take a year or more before they resolve to some degree. Dr. Doezie considers this a “high satisfaction” procedure, as both he and the patient are often very pleased with the results.

The changes to your body will be relatively permanent. Having additional children or gaining and losing a significant amount of weight may require you to have a follow up procedure such as a second tummy tuck.

Additionally, the natural aging process may cause your abdomen to lose some firmness. However, these changes are minimal compared to your initial conditions that were corrected to achieve your new figure. Although you should maintain your weight and fitness level, small fluctuations will rarely cause you to require another cosmetic surgery.

Risks

Deciding to have a body lift surgery is very personal and it is up to the patient to decide if the benefits outweigh the potential complications involved. Dr. Doezie will explain in detail the risks involved with this surgery and you will be asked to sign consent forms saying you are fully aware of the procedure and the potential risks involved.

Possible risks of body lift surgery include:

  • Unfavorable scarring
  • Bleeding (hematoma)
  • Infection
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Poor wound healing
  • Skin Loss
  • Blood Clots
  • Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Skin Discoloration and/or prolonged swelling
  • Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)
  • Major wound separation
  • Asymmetry
  • Recurrent looseness of skin
  • Pain, which may persist
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Persistent swelling in the legs
  • Nerve damage
  • Possibility of revisional surgery
  • Suboptimal aesthetic result

Costs

The cost of a body lift can vary based on a number of different factors. Dr. Doezie will determine your exact quote at the time of your consultation.

Visit our photo gallery to see before and after pictures of Dr. Doezie’s body lift patients.
Learn more about body lift surgery and schedule a consultation with Dr. Doezie at Mission Plastic Surgery.

Allen M. Doezie MD - Plastic Surgery Associations