This website is intended to provide you with general information only. This information is not a substitute for advice from your Specialist Plastic Surgeon and does not contain all the known facts about this procedure or every possible side effect of surgery. It is important that you speak to your surgeon before deciding to undergo surgery. If you are not sure about the benefits, risks and limitations of treatment, or anything else relating to your procedure, ask your surgeon to explain. Patient information provided as part of this website is evidence-based, and sourced from a range of reputable information providers including the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Better Health Channel and Mi-tec medical publishing.
A body lift is a surgical procedure that removes large skin folds and fat from the hips, outer upper thighs, lower abdomen, and upper buttocks. The procedure is a form of body contouring surgery and is designed to improve the lower body’s appearance by modifying its size or shape.
The aim of a body lift is to remove and tighten excess skin, usually after massive or significant weight loss. It is also used to tighten saggy skin due to childbirth or ageing. Areas of treatment include the hips, outer upper thighs, lower abdomen, and upper buttocks. The lower abdomen is reduced using techniques similar to those of a
tummy tuck. The navel is preserved and repositioned, with the excess skin from the lower abdomen removed and the skin from the upper abdomen drawn down to be stitched along the lower fold. Skin and fat can also be removed and tightened around the thighs, hips and buttocks.
The type of body lift surgery that you have and the amount of skin removed will depend on your individual needs. Your Specialist Plastic Surgeon will advise and guide you within safe limits.
As well as being uncomfortable and heavy, excess skin can cause:
A body lift may be effective in assisting with a normal clothing size, easier walking and physical activities, improved hygiene and comfort.
Body lift surgery is a highly individualised procedure and may not be suitable for everyone. Always talk to your Specialist Plastic Surgeon before making a decision. Your surgeon will assess your condition and general health, and plan the treatment that is best suited to you.
Body Lift surgery is not suitable for people who are:
Body lift surgery may be a good option for you if:
You should be mindful that, even following good healing and good surgical results, visible and prominent scarring can develop. Your surgeon will limit scar length and try to position each scar in the least conspicuous position. Nonetheless, scars may be more noticeable than you anticipated. It is important that you have realistic expectations of the surgery and that you discuss potential outcomes with your surgeon.
Body lift surgery is not intended strictly for the removal of excess fat. Liposuction
alone can remove excess fat deposits where skin has good elasticity and is able to naturally conform to new body contours. In cases where skin elasticity is poor, a combination of liposuction and body lift techniques may be recommended. Talk to your surgeon about your options.
General anaesthesia is required for body lift surgery. Modern anaesthesia is safe and effective, but does have some risks. Ask your Specialist Plastic Surgeon and anaesthetist for more information.
Your surgeon and/or anaesthetist will ask you about all the medications you are taking or have taken, and any allergies you may have. Make sure you have an up to date list before the surgery.
Modern surgery is generally safe but does have the potential for risks and complications to occur. Some general risks of surgery include:
Specific risks and complications associated with body lift surgery include:
Body lifts are usually performed in hospitals and involve a short stay.
Before undergoing surgery, it is important that you:
You will also be asked to provide a complete medical history for your Specialist Plastic Surgeon including any health problems you have had, any medication you are taking or have taken, and any allergies you may have.
You may be advised to stop taking certain medicines such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aspirin, and medicines that contain aspirin. You may also be asked to stop taking naturopathic substances such as garlic, ginkgo, ginseng and St John’s Wort as they may affect clotting and anaesthesia. Always tell your surgeon EVERYTHING you are taking.
You may be given medicines to take before the surgery, such as antibiotics.
Your surgeon will also advise you if any other tests are required, such as blood tests, X-ray examinations or an Electrocardiograph (ECG) to assess your heart.
Prepare a “recovery area” in your home. This may include pillows, ice packs, a thermometer and a telephone within easy reach. Make sure you arrange for a relative or friend to drive you to and from the hospital or clinic. Someone should also stay with you for at least 24 hours after you return home.
Your surgeon should give detailed preoperative instructions. Follow them carefully.
Most patients stay in hospital for several days. While you are healing, you may experience some pain, bruising, swelling and numbness around the operated site. This is normal. Your Specialist Plastic Surgeon will prescribe pain relief as needed. Nurses and your surgeon will check on you in hospital at regular periods. If you have any problems or concerns, be sure to tell your surgeon.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, notify your surgeon immediately:
Should any of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment.
Patients are encouraged to get up and walk during the day after surgery. You may be required to wear a compression garment to support the operated site(s). You may also need to wear calf or leg stockings, and have heparin injections. Make sure you wear loose, comfortable clothing that is easy to remove.
Avoid heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, swimming and strenuous sports until advised by your surgeon.
Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on post-operative care. These instructions may include:
Be sure to ask your surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period, such as:
Yes, body lift surgery will result in visible scars. Your surgeon will limit scar length and try to position each scar in the least conspicuous position. Nonetheless, scars may be more noticeable than you anticipated. It is important that you have realistic expectations of the surgery and that you discuss potential outcomes with your surgeon.
Depending on the amount of excess skin, some patients may require one or more additional procedures to attain their desired body shape.
Cost is always a consideration in elective surgery. Prices for individual procedures can vary widely between Specialist Plastic Surgeons. Some factors that may influence the cost include the surgeon’s experience, the type of procedure used and the geographic location of the office. Costs associated with the procedure may include:
Your surgeon should welcome any questions you may have regarding fees.
Visit the Plastic Surgery Glossary for more medical terms.