Body Contouring Surgery

Body contouring surgery includes various procedures to remove and tighten excess skin, usually after significant weight loss. Body contouring can improve a number of areas, most commonly it used used to contour the abdomen, thighs, buttocks and upper arms.

The body lift improves the appearance of the abdomen and buttocks. The surgery involves removing excess skin and fatty tissue and tightening the muscles of the abdominal wall. This is often required following massive weight loss. 

The procedures involves a surgical incision being made around the entire torso (like a ring) and removing excess skin the entire way around. This tightens the abdominal wall and also lifts skin on the back and buttocks. 

In most cases your surgeon will require that you be relatively close to your ideal body weight. However, this is not an absolute requirement. Dr Patrick Briggs is a Perth-based surgeon experienced and has operated on patients at a number of different weights. If you’re considering a body lift, contact us today for a consultation.

During your consultation you will be asked about your general health, medical history, about conditions that might interfere with the procedure, and your goals for the surgery.

It is important that you clearly define your goals, so that your surgeon can advise you as to whether the results will meet your expectations. As part of your consultation, your doctor will perform an exam, explain the details of the procedure and develop a specific plan for surgery and recovery with you.

You will also view before and afters within the consultation to give you an indication of the type of results you may expect. Following your consultation and examination by Dr Briggs you will be provided with an accurate costing of surgery fees. 

The amount of time a Torsoplasty takes depends on the amount of skin and fat Dr Briggs is required to remove, however on average you can expect to be in surgery for 5 hours. The technique used differs from patient to patient, depending on their anatomy. However, in most instances the surgeon will begin with the stomach removing excess skin and tightening the abdominal wall if necessary, they will then remove excess skin from the back, which in turn will tighten any loose skin over the buttocks. 

To treat the abdomen, a horizontal incision is made along the pubic area. Excess skin and usually fat is then removed from the pubic bone to the belly button. The fatty tissues are lifted from the underlying muscles, to the level of the rib cage, which is (usually) when the abdominal wall muscles are tightened. The remaining skin and fat is pulled down from above the belly button area, where it is sutured in position at the pubic area. Usually the belly button is re-positioned into a new accurate position. 

In cases that require the removal of fat, liposuction is performed prior to removing excess skin. Any essential repairs to the abdominal wall (such as hernia repair) usually can be made at the time of the body lift.

Excess skin removal is a major surgery that requires significant recovery time. Most patients remain in the hospital for one to three nights. Pain and discomfort are initially managed with intravenous or intramuscular medications, and later with oral pain medication. Drainage tubes are inserted. A medical compression garment is to be worn at all times – except while bathing – until your surgeon tells you it is no longer needed. Dressings are generally removed 5-7 days after surgery, and showering is allowed at that time, however major activities must be avoided for a few weeks.

Restrictions on your activities could include no strenuous exercise and no lifting of heavy objects. Light walking is encouraged; however, further exercise is not recommended until sufficient healing has taken place. Most people require four to six weeks recovery time before returning to normal activities, and generally from six to eight weeks before exercising, due to the sensitivity on the incisions and scarring.

To ensure a successful outcome of your skin removal surgery, you are required to follow your surgeon’s instructions very carefully. Do not place any pressure on the treated area. Approximately 75% of the swelling dissipates at six weeks and 90% at three months. It is important that the incisions are not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion, or motion during healing.

With every skin removal procedure or medical surgery there is a possibility of complications, which can make the recovery period longer than usual. Common body lift complications include seromas (fluid accumulating under the skin) and small skin separations. Your surgeon will help to resolve these issues. Some patients experience reduced sensation in the treated area, which can be permanent. However, infection, bleeding, and blood clots are uncommon and should be addressed immediately with your doctor.

Every surgical procedure involves risk and it is important that you understand these before proceeding with surgery. In addition, every procedure has limitations. An individual’s personal choice to undergo a surgical procedure is normally based on the risk versus potential benefit.

Although the majority of patients do not experience these complications after a body lift, you should discuss each of them with your plastic surgeon to make sure you completely understand all possible consequences of a body lift:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Skin sensation changes
  • Skin contour irregularities
  • Major wound separation
  • Skin discoloration/swelling
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Fat necrosis
  • Pubic distortion
  • Scarring
  • Asymmetry
  • Delayed healing
  • Allergic reactions
  • Seroma

Weight loss or simply ageing can cause the arm to sag creating a bag of flesh and loose skin. It can be corrected by removing the skin and fatty tissue, however the surgery often leaves a noticeable scar. As the goal for many patients is to be able to leave their arms bare, some people may find that this surgery is not for them. However, for those who have lost a significant amount of weight,  the Arm Lift surgery can be an important part of restoring a balanced body shape.

Much similar to an Arm Reduction a Thigh Lift, or reduction, is removing the excess skin and tissue that may result from ageing or dramatic weight loss.  If appropriate this surgery can be preformed with other elective surgeries such as liposuction to gain a desired effect.

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