Bariatric surgery or significant weight loss can leave you with excess skin folds. A body lift after significant weight loss can change the shape and firmness of the underlying tissue and fat beneath the skin, reducing excess skin. This procedure can target the abdominal area, buttocks, thighs, or a combination, tailored to your unique needs.
Lower Body Lift
A lower body lift typically includes:
- Extended Abdominoplasty or Circumferential Abdominoplasty – around Abdominal area – front only (hip to hip) or extending around the sides and/or across the lower back area (360 lift).
- A Thigh Lift.
- Back lift and/or buttocks and hip lift.
- A Bra line Back Lift.
Medical Reasons of a Body Lift after Weight Loss
- Eliminates excess skin and fat from the abdomen.
- Strengthens underlying abdominal muscles.
- Alters torso shape.
- Reduces irritation, chafing, and lower abdominal fold infections.
- Changes exercise tolerance and facilitates weight loss efforts.
Who is a suitable candidate for body lift surgery?
A suitable candidate for body lift surgery typically includes individuals who:
- Have undergone significant weight loss, either through bariatric surgery or other means, resulting in loose, excess skin.
- Have maintained a stable weight for several months to ensure the body has adjusted to the new weight.
- In good general health, both physically and psychologically, with no underlying medical conditions that could increase surgical risks.
- Are non-smokers or willing to quit smoking for a specified period before and after surgery, as smoking can impair healing.
- Have realistic expectations about the outcome of the surgery and are motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle afterward.
- Are committed to following pre-operative and post-operative instructions provided by their surgeon.
- Have specific areas of concern, such as the abdomen, buttocks, thighs, or other regions where excess skin and tissue are problematic.
It’s essential to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to assess your individual candidacy for body lift surgery and discuss your goals and concerns. The surgeon can provide personalised recommendations based on your unique circumstances.
Does loose skin go away after massive weight loss?
Loose skin does not always go away after massive weight loss. The extent to which loose skin remains largely depends on various factors, including: age, amount of weight loss, genetics, how long the person carried large amounts of excess weight, skin elasticity and overall health.
While some people may see changes in their skin’s appearance over time, especially if they are relatively young and have lost weight gradually, others may continue to experience loose skin. In cases where loose skin is bothersome or affecting one’s quality of life, surgical procedures like body lift, abdominoplasty, or arm lift may be considered to remove excess skin and change body shapes.
It’s essential to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss your options and determine the approach for your specific situation.
What amount of weight loss causes loose skin?
There’s no specific amount of weight loss that universally causes loose skin because it varies from person to person. Some individuals who lose a moderate amount of weight gradually may have little to no issues with loose skin, while others may experience it even after losing a smaller amount of weight.
How do you get rid of extra skin after weight loss surgery?
After significant weight loss, whether through bariatric surgery or other means, excess skin can be common. There are several ways to address and get rid of this excess skin:
- Body Lift: A Body lift is a surgical procedure that can address excess skin and fat in various areas of the body, including the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs. It involves the removal of excess skin and the tightening of underlying tissues.
- Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty): This procedure focuses on the abdomen, removing excess skin and fat while also tightening the abdominal muscles.
- Arm Lift (Brachioplasty): An arm lift targets excess skin and fat on the upper arms.
- Thigh Lift (Thighplasty): A thigh lift addresses loose skin on the thighs.
- Laser Skin Tightening: Laser treatments can stimulate collagen production, which may help tighten loose skin to some extent.
- Radiofrequency (RF) Skin Tightening: RF devices can also stimulate collagen production and skin tightness.
- Dermal Fillers: Dermal fillers can be used to fill in loose skin, particularly in the face and hands.
- Exercise and Strength Training: Building muscle through strength training exercises can help fill out loose skin to some degree. While it won’t completely eliminate excess skin, it can change the appearance.
- Hydration and Nutrition: Staying well-hydrated and consuming a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can support overall skin health.
- Gradual Weight Loss: If you’re still in the process of losing weight, doing so gradually may allow your skin to adapt more effectively to your changing body shape.
If you’re considering surgical procedures to address excess skin, it’s crucial to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon. They can evaluate your specific situation, discuss your goals, and recommend the suitable surgical options.
The choice of treatment or combination of treatments depends on individual factors, such as the amount and location of excess skin, overall health, and personal preferences. Consulting with a healthcare professional is essential to determine the most appropriate approach for your unique circumstances.
How much does a body lift cost after weight loss?
The cost of body surgery in Australia can vary based on several factors, including the chosen surgical procedure, its complexity, the surgeon’s fees, hospital stay duration, and associated costs. Some medical insurance plans might offer partial coverage for the surgery if it’s considered medically necessary. However, it’s essential to contact your insurance provider to ascertain the extent of available coverage.
For precise and tailored information regarding the expenses associated with your body surgery, it’s advisable to arrange a consultation with an experienced plastic surgeon. During this consultation, they can offer a comprehensive breakdown of the costs involved and address any specific questions or concerns you might have.
How long does it take to recover from a full body lift?
The recovery time after a full body lift surgery can vary from person to person and depends on several factors, including the extent of the surgery, individual healing abilities, and the patient’s overall health. However, in general, here is a rough timeline for recovery after a full body lift:
- Immediate Postoperative Period (First Few Days): During the first few days after surgery, you will likely experience swelling, bruising, and discomfort. Pain medication prescribed by your surgeon can help manage pain. You will need to rest and limit physical activity during this time.
- First Two Weeks: You will need to wear compression garments to help reduce swelling and support the newly shaped areas. During this period, it’s crucial to avoid strenuous activities, heavy lifting, and bending.
- Two to Six Weeks: Swelling and bruising will gradually decrease, and you should start to see some initial results. Light activities and short walks are usually recommended to promote circulation and prevent blood clots. Follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding exercise and physical activity.
- Six to Eight Weeks: Most patients can usually return to work and light daily activities after six to eight weeks. However, more strenuous exercises and heavy lifting may still be restricted.
- Several Months: Full recovery and the final results of a body lift surgery can take several months to a year. Scars will continue to fade and mature during this period. It’s essential to protect scars from sun exposure to minimise discolouration.
- Long-Term: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise is essential to optimise and maintain the results of your body lift surgery over the long term.
Your surgeon will provide you with specific post-operative care instructions tailored to your situation. Always follow your surgeon’s advice and attend any follow-up appointments to monitor your progress and address any concerns.
What are the risks involved in the body lift procedure?
Body lift surgery, like any surgical procedure, carries certain risks and potential complications. These can include:
- Poor Wound Healing
- Anesthesia Risks
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
- Numbness or Altered Sensation
- Separation of incision
- Skin necrosis (tissue death)
- Abnormal scar formation
- Unsatisfactory results.
To minimise these risks, it’s crucial to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon, follow their pre and post-operative instructions diligently, and attend all recommended follow-up appointments. Your surgeon will provide specific information regarding the risks associated with your unique circumstances. Visit our Risks Page for more information.
Do Medicare and Private Health Insurance pay for skin removal after weight loss?
In Australia, Medicare may cover some of the costs associated with skin removal surgery (Body lift after significant weight loss) if it is deemed medically necessary. However, the criteria for Medicare coverage can be stringent, and each case is evaluated individually.
Medicare may consider covering the procedure if:
- The excess skin causes significant physical discomfort or health issues.
- The surgery is considered medically necessary for your overall health and well-being.
- You meet specific eligibility criteria set by medicare.
It’s essential to consult with your surgeon and obtain a referral from your General Practitioner or Medical Specialist to discuss your specific situation. They can help determine whether your case qualifies for Medicare coverage.
Private health insurance policies in Australia may also cover a portion of the cost of skin removal surgery, depending on your policy and its level of coverage. The specific terms and conditions of your insurance plan will dictate what is covered and to what extent.
To get a clear understanding of what Medicare and your private health insurance will cover, it’s advisable to contact both entities directly and inquire about their coverage policies. Additionally, consulting with a qualified plastic surgeon who is experienced in post-weight loss body surgery can provide you with valuable information regarding costs and insurance coverage options based on your unique circumstances
Body Lift FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions on Body Lift after Weight Loss
What is the difference between a Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty and a Lower Body Lift?
Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty):
- Area of Focus: A Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty primarily focuses on the abdominal area, specifically the front part of the abdomen.
- Purpose: It is typically performed to address things such as excess skin, stretch marks, and weakened or separated abdominal muscles, often caused by factors like pregnancy, significant weight loss, or ageing.
Lower Body Lift:
- Area of Focus: A Lower Body Lift addresses a broader area than a Abdominoplasty. It not only includes the abdominal area but also extends to the thighs, hips, and buttocks.
- Purpose: It is primarily performed on patients who have experienced significant weight loss, often after bariatric surgery, and have loose skin in multiple areas of the lower body.
While both procedures address things related to the lower body, an Abdominoplasty focuses primarily on the abdominal area, making it suitable for those with more localised vision. A Lower Body Lift is a more comprehensive surgery that includes the abdomen, thighs, hips, and buttocks, making it ideal for individuals who have experienced significant weight loss and have excess skin and fat in multiple areas of the lower body. The choice between the two procedures depends on the patient’s specific needs and goals, which can be discussed with a qualified plastic surgeon.
How painful is a Lower Body Lift?
- It is common to have discomfort, mild burning, and numbness around the lower incision after lower body lift. This is to be expected and will change shortly after surgery.
- Your surgeon will prescribe medication to help manage your pain and discomfort.
- Ice packs and rest are a vital part of recovery to help with discomfort, healing and swelling.
- Discomfort in the areas of abdominal surgery and muscle repair may worsen with increased activity, which is why following your surgeons post-operative recovery instructions is so important.
How do you sleep after a lower body lift?
- Sleep on your back with your head and legs elevated with pillows. This reduces strain on the incision lines
- Your surgeon may recommend sleeping in a recliner if you have access to one
- Because the incisions are on the front and the back it can be difficult to get comfortable. However it may become easier as time passes.
Read more body lift FAQs here.
Dr Patrick Briggs Melbourne
Dr Patrick Briggs FRACS (Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) is a Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon.
Both he and his team are dedicated to patient care and are committed to treating each and every patient with respect and privacy.
Want more information about your Procedure?
What to Bring to Your Consultation
- If you like, please bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices.
- Take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents your surgeon provides.
- You may need to undress so it’s a good idea to wear simple clothes.
The information provided in this article is for educational and informational proposes. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article. The author and publisher of this article make no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, or completeness of the content of this article. The information contained in this article is strictly at your own risk.