Body lift surgery, also known as circumferential abdominoplasty or circumferential torsoplasty, is a procedure designed to remove excess skin that has accumulated around the body, particularly in patients who have undergone significant weight loss. After losing weight, patients may notice excess skin around the body. Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, Dr. Charles Hsu, treats areas including the abdomen, thighs, and the back. Essentially, the surgery removes excess skin to improve contouring and ensure that the skin does not have a wrinkled, tree-trunk appearance.
Best Candidates for Body Lift
Patients who are considered a good candidate for a body lift procedure if they have:
Significant soft tissue looseness in one or more areas of the body
A dedication to living a healthy lifestyle after the surgery
A desire to improve the shape and tone of their body
Significant skin laxity (looseness)
Dr. Hsu will first inquire about the patient’s weight loss story in order to understand the degree of changes the body has undergone during weight loss. He will then ask about specific goals for the body lift, including what areas of the body the patient would like to improve. Then, he will examine the areas of concern and assess the skin to determine its elasticity. Once Dr. Hsu and the patient have decided to move forward with the body lift, an exact surgical plan will be created for the individual needs of the patient.
The time required for a body lift surgery depends on the type and extent of the surgery being performed, but in general 3-7 hours is typical. In some cases, it may be necessary to split up the surgery into two different sessions. The lower body lift is conceptually similar to a tummy tuck, but is tailored for more skin excision and can go all the way around the body. In the front, excess skin is removed in either a vertical direction or a combination of horizontal and vertical direction. The skin may even be removed in an inverted-T pattern, which is called a fleur-de-lys abdominoplasty. This technique is often the most effective way to remove excess skin in a horizontal direction. In the outer thighs and back, Dr. Hsu will remove excess skin as needed using an incision site that maximizes symmetry.
Recovery and Post-Op
After the surgery, patients will need to keep the treated areas dry and wear a compression garment at all times. If drains or tubes are placed during the procedure, the patient will learn how to monitor and use the drains. Most patients take pain medication for 5-7 days and then return to work after 2 weeks. Dr. Hsu recommends patients wait at least 6 weeks before resuming an exercise routine. Follow up appointments are scheduled immediately after surgery and for up to a year afterward.
From Dr. Hsu
“The first thing I will typically do when I meet a patient for this procedure is to congratulate them on the weight loss. Weight loss is difficult to achieve and requires tremendous determination and will power, whether that is done via diet and exercise or even with the assistance of bariatric surgery. As much as I believe that plastic surgery can accomplish some incredible things, the weight loss is ultimately the more important part in these patients. It is the weight loss that improves their overall health and allows them to be more energetic and active.
In general, body contouring surgery after weight loss is a multi-stage procedure that is tailored to each individual patient’s needs. The first stage usually addresses the trunk, which means the abdomen, outer thighs, and back if needed. After this is done, then later procedures can address areas of the body like the arms, breasts, inner thighs, and face.”
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect from the final results?
The results after a body lift are long lasting, but gravity and aging are continuous, creating laxity in the skin over time. With proper diet and exercise, the results of a body lift can be permanent, as good skin quality maintains the body lift results.
When is the best time to get a body lift surgery?
Dr. Hsu typically likes to wait until patients have been at a healthy, stable weight for one year. After the one-year mark , the patient’s body has adjusted as much as it will on its own and a body lift is the best way to removes any remaining fat and excess skin.
What are some recovery tips for a body lift surgery?
The patient should rest quietly for the first few days and elevate the affected body parts.
Do not take aspirin or certain anti-inflammatory medications.
Avoid straining, bending over and lifting during the early post-operative period.
Discomfort after a body lift is generally limited to soreness rather than pain.
It is important to walk as soon as possible after liposuction to discourage swelling and prevent blood clots in the legs. However, avoid strenuous exercise for at least 6 weeks because it can trigger unnecessary fluid retention in the treated areas.
Patients should wait a minimum of 6 weeks before exposure to sun and heat, including sunbathing, because of the possibility of swelling.