Body lift and contouring is a very powerful procedure used to treat patients who complain of excessive skin and tissue of the torso (body). Most patients have undergone some type of massive weight loss, but natural aging over time can also be the cause, resulting in what can be a significant amount of excess skin due to deflation and loss of volume. Patients often complain of difficulty fitting into clothes, rashes under skin folds, irritation, sweating, and thus feeling self-conscious about their appearance. This procedure has one of the highest patient satisfaction, due to an immediate change in contour and relief of symptoms. Patients state an improved posture, ability to exercise, fitting well into clothing, the better proportion with the rest of the body, and an overall improved positive self-image.
Depending on your desires, there can be multiple components incorporated into a body lift. The procedure is broken down into 3 major regions, the anterior (front) torso or abdominal region, the posterior (back) torso, and the hip/gluteal areas. One, two, or all three areas can be addressed according do your goals. The surgery usually incorporates a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) to treat the abdominal (front torso) region as patients complain about this area most frequently. Excision of excess tissue is then continued towards the back (posterior) area of the body to remove unwanted tissue from the back and/or the hip/gluteal region. This is sometimes known as a “belt lipectomy”. It is important to note, that as with any other body contouring procedure, you are trading an improved contour for a scar. However, there is only one single, a circumferential scar that travels around the torso and is hidden well below the underwear line, thus unnoticeable even in minimal clothing. Drains are placed to prevent fluid collection.
Procedure and Recovery
Body lift/contouring is performed under general anesthesia (fully asleep) in the adjacent surgicenter. The procedure is typically completed between 2-3 hours for each major region, thus if all 3 areas are to be addressed it may take up to 8-10 hours for completion. During your consultation, Dr. Tsai will present you with all the possible options in detail and work with you to individualize treatment according to your specific goals and expectations to provide you with the best possible result.
Patients return home the same day as the procedure so transportation will need to be arranged. Your first checkup will be the following day in the clinic. Bandages are removed several days after the procedure, drains are removed within 1-2 weeks, and patients usually return to normal daily activities within 2 weeks. Pain is tolerated with prescribed oral pain medication. Exercise is resumed approximately 6-8 weeks after the procedure.
Risks and Pre-Op Concerns
It is important to note that active smoking is a serious contraindication for this surgery. The nicotine creates spasms and constriction of the blood vessels. After such a large surgery this could potentially lead to wound healing problems. However, if smoking and nicotine use is stopped 4 weeks before and continued 4 weeks after surgery, then this procedure may be performed safely. Many patients who have undergone massive weight loss tend to have electrolyte and vitamin deficiencies. Dr. Tsai will review your medical history and help optimize your health before surgery in order to perform the procedure in a safe manner so you obtain the results you desire and deserve.