You’ve worked hard to lose weight. You feel good. You look great. You’re stronger, and you laugh at exercises that used to make you huff and puff. So, what’s the problem? Your skin.
Your skin — your body’s largest organ — is everywhere on your body. Significant weight loss can reduce your skin’s elasticity. That means you might end up with extra skin that is loose, sagging, or dimpled. It’s like the final step of the wonderful body you’ve been working for is hidden behind a blanket of loose skin. The good news: There may be a solution: A body lift.
A “Body Lift”? Is That Really a Thing?
Yes, a very helpful thing for some. A body lift improves the shape and tone of the tissue and fat underneath the skin while also removing any excess skin, creating a more toned look. It can be done in the abdominal area, the buttocks, the thigh, or all three, depending on your individual situation.
The purpose of a body lift isn’t to remove fat. You’ve likely already done that through weight loss. Rather, the goal is to improve your appearance after you have lost weight.
If a lot of skin is sagging, not only can it cause an undesirable appearance, it can make it hard to clean certain areas, perform daily activities like walking, cause rashes or sores, and make it hard to find properly fitting clothing. A body lift can help change all of these things — and make you appreciate your new weight loss even more.
Is a Body Lift the Right Option for You?
A body lift is not necessarily the right option for everyone who has extra, sagging skin. If you are considering it, here are some questions to talk over with your physician:
- Do I have significant loose skin in one or multiple areas on my body?
- Am I healthy enough for surgery and free of any medical conditions that can impair healing or lead to a risky surgery?
- Are my expectations realistic?
- Am I committed to leading a healthy lifestyle, eating right, and exercising regularly?
If you can confidently answer yes to all of these, a body lift might be a good option for you.
Benefits and Risks of Undergoing a Body Lift
The benefits of a body lift are clear: shaping your skin to improve your appearance and removing excess skin. This can help you feel more confident about your post-weight loss appearance.
While a body lift can make you feel better about the way you look, it is an involved surgery that carries risks, just like any other surgery.
Possible risks include:
- Adverse reactions to anesthesia, such as nausea or vomiting
- Excess bleeding
- Infection or poor wound healing
- Numbness or pain at the incision sites
- Changes in skin, like discoloring or swelling
- Irritated or visible sutures
- Scarring at the incision sites
How to Prepare for a Body Lift
Properly preparing for the procedure can help you avoid a lot of the risks, especially those that can occur during surgery.
You will undergo a full medical evaluation to make sure you are healthy enough for surgery and the recovery involved. Your physician may also require you to stop taking some medications, like aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements because these can increase risks of excess bleeding.
Your physician will instruct you on any changes you’ll need to make to your medication regimen. Do not make any changes without first consulting your physician.
If you’re a smoker, you will need to commit to quitting for the surgery and recovery. Smoking can lead to complications with surgery because it limits the functioning of your heart, blood vessels, lungs, and nervous system. And during the recovery process, smoking can lead to infections in the wounds.
- You will be given anesthesia to make you fall asleep and not feel any pain.
- Your physician will make incisions in the area(s) that you want to improve. In many cases, they will use a pattern similar to bikini bottoms — on the abdomen, groin, waist, thighs, and buttocks.
- The tissue underneath will be formed by your physician. They will use deep sutures in the tissue to support the new shape.
- The excess skin will be removed and repositioned, tightening the tissue underneath in the process.
- The incisions will be closed with sutures, skin adhesives, or clips.
5 Steps of a Body Lift
Recovering from Body Lift Surgery
Most people need to stay in the hospital for about 2 days after undergoing a body lift. You’ll likely experience some pain and swelling, which can be managed with medication. You may also experience some bruising and numbness near the incisions. If you are feeling fatigued during recovery, it’s important that you listen to your body and get enough rest.
You might wear an elastic support — like a girdle — to provide support as you heal. You should avoid strenuous activities, such as exercise and heavy lifting, for 4 to 6 weeks. Your physician will discuss your schedule for returning to work
During your recovery, if you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heartbeats, you should seek medical attention right away.
It may take 3 months for the swelling to go down and the wounds to completely heal. But it can take up to 2 years to see the final results of the surgery and for the scars to improve.
Why Choose Stormont
Located in Topeka, Kansas, Stormont Vail Health is a community-driven organization. It offers close to home care and with limited travel requirements, it will be easier for you to get the care you need in a community you trust.
In 2018, Stormont Vail achieved Magnet designation for a third time. Magnet designation is one of the highest awards in nursing excellence and high-quality patient care. Only 9% of US hospitals have earned this recognition. The Joint Commission — with more than 50 years of accrediting hospitals in high quality standards — has also accredited Stormont Vail Hospital.
With several plastic surgeons and a nursing team that’s been recognized for excellence with the prestigious Magnet designation, Stormont Vail Health has an experienced and skilled medical team to help you explore whether the body lift is right for you.
Make an Appointment
- To make an appointment at Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, call (785) 354-9591.
See a Primary Care Provider
- Call (785) 270-4440 to schedule an appointment with your Stormont Vail primary care provider.
- Not a Stormont Vail patient? Call (785) 270-4440 to set up your first appointment with one of our primary care providers.