A body lift is the use of one or more surgical techniques to create a contoured, toned and firm upper, lower or full body for patients experiencing excess or sagging skin.
Sagging skin and looseness in various regions of the body can occur due to dramatic weight loss, weight fluctuation, pregnancy or just aging. These procedures can target specific areas that may be problematic or more affected by the issues of age and sagging.
For many, the results of these plastic surgeries are quite dramatic and present patients with bodies they can feel comfortable in again. The most common candidates for body lift plastic surgery procedures are patients who have undergone gastric bypass surgery or have lost large amounts of weight due to diet and exercise.
There are three types of lifts: Upper body lift, mid body lift and lower body lift.
UPPER BODY LIFT
An upper body lift treats the upper regions of the body including the arms, breasts and chest. These areas are contoured by way of varied techniques to achieve greater tightness and symmetry. These procedures can be combined with a mid or lower body lift, or can be separately.
ARM LIFT OR BRACHIOPLASTY
The excess skin on the arms of weight loss patients or elderly patients always appears on the underside of the arms and is often referred to as ‘bat wings.’ Treatment of ‘bat wings’ employs the use of invasive skin removal procedures, liposuction or both depending on the severity of the excess skin under the arms.
Dr. Suarez will make incisions varying in lengths from the patient’s armpit, to the elbow in order to remove the skin and create a more streamlined look to the arm. In some cases, the doctor can utilize some liposuction post incision to further optimize the final look. For some patients, up to a pound or more of extra skin is removed. Some of the techniques surgeons use are below.
This is an invasive contouring of the arms to remove excess fat using liposuction.
If the patient has the proper skin elasticity and doesn’t have too much excess skin, the incision for the surgery can be under the arm. This allows the patient to conceal the scar easily.
This surgery involves the removal of excess arm skin, which leaves a large scar along the bottom of the upper arms.
This procedure is necessary for patients who have an extensive amount of loose skin on their arms. This involves an incision and removal of skin that runs along the bottom of the upper arm into the chest wall.
SUPERFICIAL FASCIAL SYSTEM SUSPENSION
During this surgery the arm flap is secured to the fascia, which prevents migration of the scars and tissues after time.
USE OF MOLDS
This technique uses a mold to allow for smaller and more accurate incisions. It is commonly used in combination with other brachioplasty surgeries.
BREAST LIFT (MASTOPLEXY)
A breast lift corrects sagging and uneven breasts, decreased breast size, drooping and stretched areola. This surgery restores the breasts to their previous position, giving them a more youthful appearance. This is a common procedure and is performed with minor risk and outstanding results for a majority of patients. Candidates for this surgery include those whose breasts are sagging from pregnancy, nursing, weight gain or loss, normal aging and heredity. During the procedure, Dr. Suarez trims excess tissue from the upper breast, repositioning it to a more upright place. Sometimes this technique requires a breast implant to replace lost fat or breast tissue. The scars on patients are almost always hidden and easily covered by a bra or swimsuit.
MID BODY LIFT
The panniculus is a dense layer of fatty tissue growth in the lower abdominal area that is made up of subcutaneous fat.
For many patients, this extra skin hanging down over their pubic area is a nusance and a health risk, causing skin infection and lower back problems. Because the folds of skin retain moisture and rub against the skin, rashes and ulcers are common, causing infection and even poor hygiene. Lower back pain is also experienced due to excessive weight pulling the lower back out of alignment with the rest of the spine.
During a panniculectomy, this layer of fat is removed along with excess skin. The skin is then tightened and sutured together. Unlike abdominoplasty, panniculectomy surgery doesn’t tighten muscle or reposition the belly button it merely removes the excess skin and fat form the area.
LOWER BODY LIFT
The lower body lift corrects the buttocks, hips and thighs, which can be unsightly, even restricting mobility after significant weight loss. Excess skin can create folds, cause chaffing and extreme discomfort.
The surgery tightens and sculpts the buttocks, back of the thighs, outer and inner thighs, hips and abdomen. This surgery is most suited for patients who are near their ideal weight but have some areas of concern that remain.
BELT LIPECTOMY (TORSOPLASTY)
This procedure targets multiple areas around the midsection, including the upper hips, waistline and back. Tightening the fascia and muscles of the abdominal wall, the belt lipectomy gives the body a toned and sculpted look.
While it is a part of the lower body lift, it doesn’t lift the buttocks or hip areas. This surgery can give patients dramatic body shape improvement, removing excess back skin, stretch marks and other reminders of their pre-weight loss shapes.
During this procedure, an incision is made along the lower back and any sagging or excess skin and tissue are removed and the skin is reattached and sutured. The scarring is significant but the result is much more dramatic. Also, the scars can be hidden by a swimsuit or undergarment.
THIGH LIFT (THIGHPLASTY)
This procedure corrects the dimpling, excess skin and cellulite on or around the inner and outer thigh areas. Often difficult to target with diet or exercise, this surgery involves the removal of excess fat and tissue to achieve a smoother, tighter, shapelier thigh. In addition to excision of tissue, some liposuction may be used as well for symmetry. While this surgery can have a fantastic outcome, there are some things to be aware of. One issue is the excessive scarring that occurs as a result of this surgery. Another is the possibility that thighs may look out of balance or asymmetrical. Both of these concerns can be discussed and avoided with the help of an experienced surgeon such as Dr. Suarez. Talented surgeons can work to minimize asymmetry and will work hard to make sure patients can hide their scarring when wearing swimwear, undergarments etc. It is still necessary for a patient to communicate his or her expectations so that the doctor can be realistic about the possible outcomes.
This is the process of removing excess flesh and skin from the abdominal area. This surgery also tightens the fascia and muscle wall for maximum tautness. This procedure does not correct stretch marks or other exterior blemishes of the skin.
This procedure addresses both the upeer and lower parts of the abdomen. An incision is made along the vertical line of the abdomen and excess skin and fat are removed, skin and muscle are tightened and reattached.
Involves the use of a smaller incision, removal of excess skin and fat, and a tightening of the lower abdomen only not the entire upper and lower abdomen.
This refers to the combination of a complete abdominoplasty and a lateral thigh lift. The scarring will run from the back of the hips to the front area. The operation sculpts the abdomen, improves the waist, and shapes the upper lateral thigh.
HIGH LATERAL TENSION TUMMY TUCK
This is an advanced technique and takes over four hours to complete. This surgery tightens the muscles in both a vertical and horizontal line. The final result of this surgery is a far flatter tummy and a significantly more defined waistline than a traditional abdominoplasty.
FLOATING ABDOMINOPLASTY OR FAB TECHNIQUE
Allows for tightening and sculpting through a smaller incision that isn’t placed around the belly button. Through the small incision, excess skin is removed, tightened and the belly button is reattached or repositioned as needed.
This is a surgical term used to describe an extended tummy tuck combined with a buttock lift. The scarring runs all around the body and works best for patients who have had extreme weight loss.
TOTAL BODY LIFT SURGERY
A total body lift surgery corrects all regions of the body including arms, breasts, abdomen, thighs, hips and buttocks. The total body lift can help patients to achieve the most symmetrical result post-surgery than targeting only one or two areas. In addition, when all procedures are performed during one session, the patient recovery time is greatly reduced.
Body lift surgeries, whether upper, middle, or lower, have a much higher rate of infection than most procedures. Because of this fact, patients will experience a longer recovery time and longer downtime.
These invasive procedures may take more time to heal, but the end results are dramatic improvements that can be life changing for many patients.
Dr. Suarez recommends that his patients refrain from strenuous activities for 6-8 weeks following surgery. Follow up is quite hands on in order to ensure a safe and pain-free recovery.
CONSULT WITH DR. SUAREZ
Dr. Suarez is a leading plastic surgeon operating in Costa Rica. His technique incorporates the latest surgical advancements, combined with a vast knowledge of the foundations of plastic surgery. Whether you find yourself a candidate for a body lift or other techniques, Dr. Suarez will provide a comprehensive evaluation of your goals and develop a unique treatment approach. The end result will be a more confident and youthful version of you. To schedule a consult or for additional information on body lift surgery contact us and we will be happy to help.