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What is body lift surgery?

Lower body lift surgery, also known as a belt lipectomy, improves the shape and tone of the underlying tissue that supports skin and fat. Excess sagging skin and fat are removed and the procedure(s) can improve a dimpled, irregular skin surface. Ageing, sun damage, pregnancy, significant fluctuations in weight, and genetic factors may contribute to poor tissue elasticity that can result in sagging of the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs.

Dramatic weight loss, weight fluctuation, or natural ageing frequently results in sagging skin in areas below the waistline. Lower body lift surgery tightens and sculpts the buttocks, back of the thighs, outer thighs, inner thighs, hips and abdomen. Loose skin that looks aesthetically displeasing or causes mobility restrictions is removed. A lower body lift is appropriate if you are near your ideal weight and may precede or follow an upper body lift procedure.

Upper body lift surgery, also known as back lift, may consist of one or several procedures, including an upper arm lift, breast lift or surgery to remove fat rolls along the back. Loose, sagging skin resulting from dramatic weight loss or after liposuction is removed to create a tighter and smoother contour, improving your profile and leading to renewed self-confidence. An upper body lift surgery may be part of a mommy makeover surgery.

 “Body lift surgery is a highly individualized procedure. You should do it for yourself, not to fulfil someone else's desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image, especially those coming from social media. Choosing a procedure based on “what’s new” is never a medically sound decision. Hearing about a procedure on television, through an advertisement or online does not necessarily mean it is the best procedure for you.”

Who is a good candidate for body lift surgery?

In general, you may be a good candidate for body lift surgery if you have undergone bariatric surgery or significant weight loss through dieting, have loose skin on your hips, the sides and fronts of your thighs, your inner thighs, and your abdomen, have significant skin laxity, excess skin, ptosis (sagginess) of the buttocks and abdominal wall laxity, the overhanging skin in your lower body restricts your mobility and/or causes painful chafing, rashes or infection, you are distressed by sagging skin in your lower body, liposuction of fat pockets in your upper body has resulted in loose skin that needs to be removed, have loose skin under your arms, by your armpits, on your breasts and rolls on your back, your weight has been stable with no further weight loss expected, you are physically healthy, nonsmoker or have stopped smoking recently and if you have realistic expectations.

What should I expect during a consultation for body lift surgery?

During your initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss your cosmetic goals. Dr Ricardo will evaluate you as a candidate for body lift surgery and clarify what approach is best for you. Alternative and additional treatments may be considered, once he understands your goals and medical condition. It is important to be completely honest during the consultation and be prepared to discuss your surgical goals, medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments, current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use and previous surgeries.

Dr Ricardo will also evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors, evaluate the elasticity of your skin, take photographs, discuss the approach to your surgery, including the type of procedure or combination of procedures and tell you whether your expectations are in line with typical results, discuss any risks or potential complications and share before-and-after photos of cases similar to yours.

The success and safety of your body lift surgery depend very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. It's very important to understand all aspects of your procedure. It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether it's excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with Dr Ricardo.

How should I prepare for body lift surgery?

In preparing for body lift surgery, you may be asked to get cleared for surgery by your bariatric surgeon and/or primary care doctor, get lab testing or a medical evaluation, take certain medications or adjust your current medications, stop smoking in advance of surgery and avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding.

The surgery will be performed in an accredited hospital and requires likely spending at least two days in the hospital for observation unless you and Dr Ricardo have made other plans for your immediate postoperative recovery. You must arrange for a friend or family member to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you the first night following the hospital’s discharge.


Dr Ricardo and the entire staff will provide thorough preoperative instructions and answer any questions you may have. The goal is to help you achieve the most beautiful and natural-looking results, as well as to make your surgical experience as easy, comfortable, and safe as possible.

What are the steps of a body lift procedure?

Step 1 – Anaesthesia

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anaesthesia. Dr Ricardo will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2 – Surgical procedure

Complete lower body lift, also called a belt lipectomy, has the advantage of treating the buttocks, abdomen, waist, hips, and thighs in one procedure and is often a part of a mommy makeover surgery. The lower body lift extends the tummy tuck incision completely around the lower torso, which allows Dr Ricardo to lift the thighs and tighten the buttocks as well as execute the traditional tummy tuck. The length and the pattern of incisions depend on how much extra skin is removed and where that skin is located. Dr Ricardo will do his best to consider your incision preferences.

An upper body lift will depend greatly on which surgeries you elect to have done. Based on the areas of your body you wish to target, you may opt for an upper arm lift, a breast lift, and surgery to remove fat rolls along the back or a combination of these surgeries. A physical examination, a thorough medical history, and a discussion with Dr Ricardo will help determine which approach is most appropriate and whether you will benefit from combined different procedures.

Step 3 – Closing the incisions

Deep sutures within underlying tissues help to form and support the newly shaped contours. Skin incisions are closed either with absorbable or non-absorbable sutures that are removed within two weeks following the surgery.

Step 4 – See the results

The smoother, tighter contours that result from a body lift surgery are apparent almost immediately following your procedure, although there will likely be swelling and bruising. The new appearance may take as long as a year to fully appear.

What should I expect during my body lift recovery?

During your body lift recovery, dressings or bandages may be applied to your incisions, and you may be wrapped in a compression garment that controls swelling and supports the suspended tissues, and smoothens and flattens the skin. Small, thin tubes may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.

You will be given specific instructions on how to care for the surgical site, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, and when to follow up with Dr Ricardo. Remember to always follow his instructions to ensure the success of your surgery.

The surgical incisions mustn't be subjected to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. The pull of gravity and the actions of walking, sitting, and bending put stress on the sutured areas, so you should make careful and deliberate movements.

Initial wound healing may take 10 to 14 days. Sutures will be removed when it is appropriate. You should be ready to return to work and normal activity after 10-14 days. However, you must realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies based on what your surgery entails

What results should I expect after my body lift surgery?

The results of your body lift surgery are visible almost immediately. However, it may take a year or more to see the final result. Body lift procedures are surgical procedures and they require extensive incisions. Incision length and pattern depend on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed, as well as surgical judgment. Advanced techniques usually allow incisions to be placed in strategic locations where they can be hidden by most types of clothing and swimsuits.

A lower body lift can dramatically improve areas of sagging skin and/or cellulite below the waistline. Loose skin that causes chafing and rashes will be removed, smoothing the bulges and rolls that make you self-conscious. Your clothes will fit better and your body will appear slimmer, more shapely, and proportional with a curvaceous appearance.

Following a body lift, skin quality is improved both in appearance and feel. The overall results are long-lasting, provided that you maintain a stable weight and general fitness. As your body ages, it is natural to lose some firmness. However, most of your initial improvement should remain.

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