Losing weight can be a very challenging (yet rewarding) process for many individuals, and once they have achieved their weight loss goals, it is common to experience loose, excess skin in a variety of body areas. After taking such a major step toward better health and weight management, there are options available that can effectively address excess skin.
Different patients have different areas that are their major concern. Any journey starts with knowing where you are trying to get to, so it is important to have a consultation to prioritise what is important to each individual and devise a reconstructive program to suit. This program can include abdominoplasty, posterior body lift, circumferential body lift, thigh lift, arm reduction, breast lift with or without implants, breast reduction, and other customised procedures as required. These techniques can eliminate excess skin, tighten the remaining skin, and re-contour your body for results that are more in line with what you were hoping to achieve after significant weight loss. Our skilled plastic surgeon, Dr Craig Layt, can help you with a customised body lift procedure procedure or journey designed to target your concerns.
Who is a candidate for body lift surgery?
Body lift surgery can be a procedure for patients who have lost large amounts of weight—due to bariatric surgery or traditional weight loss methods—and are now experiencing loose, excess skin and/or localised fat deposits in certain regions of the body. These areas may include the midsection, the thighs, the breasts, the arms, and other locations. Individuals who would like to address similar concerns that have resulted after pregnancy or from the natural ageing process may also benefit from body lift surgery. Good candidates for this procedure should also be in relatively good general health.
Body lift surgery can address contours, eliminate redundant skin, and give the remaining skin a tighter and firmer look and feel. During the initial consultation here at our practice, Dr. Layt will perform a comprehensive evaluation to determine what type of body lift surgery is right for your needs. He will answer all of your questions regarding the options that may be suitable for your goals and talk with you about what you can expect from the treatment process.
What treatments are involved in a body lift?
A body lift surgery can involve a circumferential body lift (described below) as a single procedure, or it can include a combination of options designed to address numerous body regions affected by excess, inelastic skin as described above. The precise details of body lift surgery will depend on the treatment or treatments that make up each patient’s customised procedure. These treatments are performed under general anaesthesia. In some cases, body lift surgery will require an overnight hospital stay. Dr. Layt can talk more with you about the possibilities for this procedure during your initial consultation. Once he has evaluated your needs and discussed your goals, Dr. Layt can create a fully customised body lift treatment plan designed to meet your expectations.
Some of the most common body lift treatments include:
Circumferential Body Lift / Lower Body Lift
When used to describe a single procedure, the term “lower body lift” sometimes refers to a circumferential tummy tuck or a “circumferential body lift,” depending on the techniques performed and the ultimate goals of each patient. Utilising an incision that goes around the circumference of the midsection, excess skin can be removed from the front, sides, and back of this area. A lower body lift may address these regions as well as the thighs, hips, and buttocks. Once the excess skin is removed, the remaining skin is pulled taut to create firmer results and improved body contours.
Liposuction can be included in a body lift procedure to address areas affected by isolated pockets of fat. This treatment is often combined with lifting techniques when both excess skin and fat are causing the concern.
Learn more about liposuction.
Abdominoplasty is better known as “tummy tuck” surgery. This option can be included as part of a body lift procedure for individuals who may not need a full circumferential body lift, but may benefit from combining a tummy tuck with lifting procedures in other areas.
Learn more about abdominoplasty.
A breast lift can address breast ptosis that may occur after significant weight loss. This treatment removes excess skin and tightens the remainder, lifting the breasts to a higher proportioned position.
Learn more about breast lift surgery.
A thigh lift can address loose, extra skin in the inner and outer thighs. These concerns are common among patients who have lost large amounts of weight. Thigh lift surgery removes the excess remaining skin in the upper legs.
Learn more about thigh lift surgery.
An arm lift can be ideal for individuals who are suffering from an abundance of inelastic skin in the upper arms, which can occur due to weight loss or even just the natural ageing process. Arm lift surgery eliminates excess skin.
Learn more about arm lift surgery.
What can I expect during recovery from body lift surgery?
The recovery process after body lift surgery can be different for each individual, depending upon the techniques that have been utilised. For a lower body lift, patients may require a minimum of two weeks of recovery at home before resuming most of their normal daily routines. Compression garments and draining tubes may also be necessary during recovery in order to facilitate the healing process. Medication can be prescribed to control discomfort during the recovery period. Dr. Layt will provide you with detailed post-operative guidelines that can help you achieve the safest, most effective, and most efficient recovery possible.
Are the scars from body lift surgery noticeable?
There will be scars after body lift surgery; however, the exact nature of residual scarring will depend on the surgical techniques that were part of the body lift procedure. In most cases, the incisions can be made in areas that are easily concealed under clothing, and even swimwear. Dr. Layt can talk more with you about what to expect in terms of scarring from these procedures once he meets with you during the consultation and explores the specific treatment options that may be right for your goals. Our plastic surgeon works diligently to make residual scarring as minimal as possible with both the surgical technique and post-operative scar management. Scarring is also highly dependant on the skin of each patient and how it heals, its elasticity and skin quality.
Risks and Complications
Surgery is not an exact science. Incisions and scars are part of any surgery and the location and extent of the incisions will be discussed with you. Every effort is made by the surgeon to minimise scarring. Scars will fade over time, but they are permanent. They can also become hypertrophic or keloid. Scars vary from person to person and are related to each individual’s skin type, genetics and the ability of their skin to heal.
Every surgical procedure involves certain risks and complications (as per the ASPS brochure) including, but not limited to:
Asymmetry is evident physically in every person. No two sides of the body are ever exactly symmetrical in shape, position or size and the surgeon will make every effort to achieve as close to symmetry as possible but some asymmetry is normal.
Delayed Healing, Infection and Suture Reactions can all be possible healing issues and may require antibiotics or in some cases surgical exploration.
Bleeding, Haematoma or Seroma Collections may resolve themselves but, in some cases may require further surgery.
Loss of Sensation and Numbness may also be experienced. In most cases this will improve over time on its own. In some cases this can be permanent.
Bruising and Swelling may also be a short term effect from surgery and will usually settle in one to two weeks.
Allergies to dressings, medical lotions, sutures or other materials can occur with some patients. You will be advised to cease the use of the dressing, lotion or material that is causing the reaction. In some cases anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed.
Breathing Difficulties may be due to a general anaesthetic or breathing tube during the operation which has caused some swelling, noisy breathing or discomfort.
Blood Clots can also occur in some surgeries and may require urgent treatment and hospitalisation.
Pain thresholds vary from patient to patient. This may lead to different pain management and/or different recovery times to resume normal activities.
Achieving excellent results with minimal risk is a joint effort. It is important to disclosed to the surgeon and clinic and understand the following:
Full disclosure of your medical history including: allergies, personal, physical and mental history, previous surgeries, current medications and co-morbidities (including but not limited to, smoking, vaping, diabetes, prescription and illegal drug addictions, blood or heart disease, obesity or anorexia).
Co-morbidities may impact on outcome and healing post surgery.
Smoking, vaping, or taking recreational drugs must be ceased in the 6 weeks prior to some operations and during the healing phase. Failure to do so may increase the risk of complications, decrease your healing ability and affect your surgical outcome.
You should not take aspirin based prescription drugs 14 days prior to surgery and during the healing phase of the operation unless advised otherwise by the surgeon.
As per the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), all non-rebatable (cosmetic) procedures require a validated screening of Body Dysmorphia to be undertaken.
If Dr Layt is concerned about your mental state or physical state prior to the procedure, he may request evaluation by a psychologist, psychiatrist, general practitioner or other specialist. This referral is to assess your suitability, increased risks during surgery or any underlying physical or psychological problems which may affect your recovery or mental health.
In some cases this may require surgery to be postponed or cancelled by the doctor in his primary role to consider your care and personal well-being.
All surgery carries risks and it is important to understand these.
Every patient is an individual and therefore final surgical results will vary from patient to patient. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified practitioner.
Would you like to learn more about body lift surgery and options that can help you attain firmer skin after weight loss? Please contact us today with any questions you may have, or to schedule a consultation.