For those that have been overweight or obese for most of their lives, losing weight is an extremely gratifying experience. After weight loss, patients feel better, look better, and are able to engage in more activities than were possible when they were beyond the recommended weight range for their height and body frame. Unfortunately, many of these patients are plagued by excess skin, an unwanted reminder of the extra weight they used to carry. Our surgeons perform body lift surgery to permanently remove the accumulation of wrinkled, loose skin.

Body Lift Candidates

Candidates for body lift surgery are those who have lost a lot of weight and are currently within their ideal weight range. It is important that patients reach their goal weight before they undergo body lift surgery; if patients lose additional weight after surgery, they may end up with areas of loose skin again. Body lift surgery targets loose skin on the:

  • Buttocks
  • Thighs
  • Hips
  • Abdomen

Ideal body lift candidates should also be in good health and not smoke cigarettes, as smoking can delay healing.

Body Lift Techniques

The circumferential, or lower, body lift involves two incisions that are made around the entire circumference of the body. The first incision runs around the body at hip level, curving down toward the pubic area and buttocks. The other incision runs around the body at the waist level, curving down toward the pubic area in the front, and up above the buttocks in the back. The skin below the lower incision is lifted up and the skin above the second incision is pulled down, producing a smooth skin contour.

Body Lift Procedure

Body lift surgery takes four to six hours to perform. The body lift surgery involves the following steps:

  • A surgical pen is used to mark the length and locations of the incision around the hips and waist
  • The patient is put under general anesthesia
  • Antibacterial solution is applied to the incision sites
  • The incisions are made
  • The skin on the buttocks and the backs of the thighs is pulled taut and excess skin is removed.
  • The skin along the backside is stitched together
  • Next, the abdominal skin and muscles are tightened, if necessary, using tummy tuck techniques
  • The skin on the front of the thighs and inner thighs is tightened
  • The incisions on the front of the body are closed
  • The treatment area is cleaned
  • Medical tape and bandages are applied

Body Lift Recovery

Body lift surgery is a complex operation, and as such, we have most patients stay in the hospital overnight for their comfort and well being. After patients have been released, they should rest with the head in an elevated position for a few days after surgery. During this time, take pain medication and apply an ice back to the incision area for 20 minutes every few hours.

Patients can shower 48 hours after surgery, taking care to keep the incisions out of the direct spray of water. Carefully pat down the incision and drain sites after showering.

Patients should wear a compression garment during the day and at night for at least four weeks to help the body maintain its new shape and improve results.

Heavy exercise or strenuous activity must be avoided for four to six weeks after surgery. At that time, patients should return to a regular exercise routine to stay in shape.

Body Lift Side Effects

Body lift side effects include:

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Itching, tingling, or numbness at the incision site

Most side effects should fade within two weeks of surgery, though residual swelling may last for three months and bruising may last for a month.

Body Lift Risks

The potential risks of body lift surgery include:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Bleeding
  • Hematoma
  • Infection
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Blood clots
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Skin numbness

Body Lift Results

The best results of body lift surgery are seen once all bruising and swelling has subsided; typically, one to three months after surgery.

Vail Valley Body Lift Consultations

Call for your complimentary consultation.