A total body lift is a procedure that reshapes the abdomen, thighs, breasts, and buttocks. Patients use body lifts for two main reasons: removing excess skin after weight loss or childbirth or to reduce the appearance of cellulite or fatty tissue in multiple areas of the body. Patients who undergo obesity treatments such as the Lap Band or gastric bypass often finish their medical journey with a body lift to remove excess skin and tissue.
Those who benefit from a body lift are patients who have kept a consistent weight for about one year and maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen. Individuals who undergo gastric bypass or other obesity surgeries are advised to wait a minimum of one year before engaging in body lift procedures so that healing is complete and all obesity-related health issues are improved. Women who also plan on having children are also advised to refrain from a full body lift until after they have children.
A body lift is usually done in a hospital or surgical center. Depending on the amount of skin or tissue that will be removed during the body lift, procedure times range from four to eight hours. This procedure is also performed under a general anesthesia, where the patient is put to sleep for the surgery. The body lift is done in two parts; the lower body and the upper body. During the lower body portion, the surgeon makes an excision along the upper thighs and buttocks and removes a designated amount of excess skin and tissue. Then, the area is sutured together to create a slimmer appearance.
The same technique is used for the abdominal area. A horizontal incision is made in the pubic area and excess skin and tissues are removed from the pubic area to about the level of the belly button. Liposuction might also be applied to the area at the surgeon's discretion in order to achieve a smooth and ripple free appearance. Next, the stomach muscle is tightened and the belly button removed to reshape the stomach area. Once the surgeon stretches the stomach down to an appropriate position it is sutured together, and the belly button is returned to its position on the newly flattened stomach.
The upper body portion of the body lift includes an excision under the breasts that is accessed to remove fat rolls around the back and waist. This lift also reduces excess skin over the rib cage or under the breast area. Arm lifts are often included with a total body lift, where an incision is made from the elbow to the underarm area. Excess skin is removed and the incision is sutured back together.
The total body lift is often broken up into two separate surgical procedures so that the amount of risks caused by trauma or anesthesia is reduced. Depending on the surgeon, he or she may opt to do a lower body procedure first, and then move on to the upper body and continue until the entire body has undergone a lift.
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