Dr Kohout's Plastic Surgery Blog

Full Body Lift Surgery

Mark Kohout - Friday, April 12, 2013

Looseness and excess skin of the abdomen, hips, thigh and buttocks region is a common concern of  women particularly in middle age. The condition is often compounded by weight loss, particularly if the weight loss has been significant.

Bodylift combines a number of different procedures in the one operation to achieve a balanced, overall effect that achieves an improved contour of your body in the areas of abdomen, buttocks and outer thighs. For most women particularly following pregnancies, skin excess as well as fatty excess is present and the skin has been overstretched and has lost tone.

Traditionally abdominoplasty is the solution for flabbiness of the abdomen. The results of abdominoplasty can usually be much improved by utilising the "High Lateral Tension” technique to tighten the outer thigh area and also adding liposuction to further harmonise the contour of hip, thigh and buttock regions.

Relatively recently the importance of skin laxity and collapse of the outer hip, thigh and buttock regions has been recognised. In such cases, just as removing the excess skin and fat from the front of the body (abdominoplasty) makes sense, so does removal of excess skin and fat from the sides and back of the body. This is the concept of the “body lift”.

The Body Lift is an extension of the abdominoplasty principle to reverse collapse of the whole flabby mid body, including abdomen, hips, thighs and buttocks. Because skin tightening and lifting occurs to all these areas, an entire body lift can be achieved with effective results and a return to a better figure.  The operation involves combining a full abdominoplasty with excision of the excess tissue around the side of the abdomen and hips, all the way around the back to meet in the middle of the back. The incision is then used to reduce the buttocks and the outer thighs with liposuction.  The skin and fat in these areas is also separated from the underlying muscle.  The skin of the outer thigh and buttocks is lifted and anchored in position with non-dissolving sutures. Bodylift simultaneously improves the appearance of the abdomen, hips, thighs and buttocks. The operation can be supplemented by other procedures, usually separately, such as breast reduction/ lift, thighlift or arm reduction.

The operation is quite involved and takes around 6 to 8 hours of surgery. A hospitalisation of 5 -7 days is usually required with a recovery period of 6 to 8 weeks. The results achieved for those who are willing to invest the extra time and effort are however, dramatic.

Suitability will depend on formal consultation where fitness for surgery will also be assessed and it will be decided if liposuction alone, abdominoplasty with liposuction or the body lift is more appropriate for the individual patient.

Choosing your surgeon is very important. Not all surgeons offer the same methods of Body Lift Surgery. There is much to learn about this surgery. This blog is but an introduction to what we have to offer at Australia Plastic Surgery. We take our patient's education, sculpture, after care, and comfort very seriously.

Body Lift Surgery

Loose sagging skin just does not look good and gets in the way of normal activities or movement. Aging, pregnancy, certain genetic skin conditions, and major weight loss can result in lax hanging tissues. The body is three dimensional. When the problem extends around the body, Body Lift Surgery can address loose drooping tissues circumferentially. Body Lift Surgery often involves several stages to address the entire body: Lower Body Lift, Breast Lift, Arm Lift, Upper Body Lift among other sculptures.

Lower Body Lift

A Lower Body Lift combines the Tummy Tuck Abdominoplasty sculpture of the stomach, with Thigh Lift, and Buttock Lift sculpting the entire body in a band about the waist or a Belt Lipectomy. Excess skin and fat are removed, the stomach muscle wall tightened, and the Superficial Fascia Suspension System (SFS) re-suspended. The key is this SFS layer described by Ted Lockwood, MD.

This connective tissue network in the fat contributes greatly to holding tissues elevated. The tone of this SFS is what gives a more youthful appearance and support to the entire sculpture.  Liposuction is often combined with Body Lift Surgery to refine nearby regions of localized fat.

Body Lift Surgery is not a substitute for Weight Loss

Body Lift Surgery is a resuspension sculpture. It is not an alternative to losing weight or a motivational tool. Losing weight is a coarse tool.  You cannot predict where the fat will come from. Plastic Surgery is better as a refinement tool. It’s important to note that major weight loss after Body Lift can result in further tissue sagging.

After Major Weight Loss

After Significant Weight Loss tissue only shrinks so well leaving excessive loose drooping skin and supporting structures. The hanging skin can make it difficult to maintain hygiene, find fitting clothing, and force bothersome adjustments of flesh with activities like sitting down or standing up. After weight loss, individuals often want quick results, Body Lift Surgery is best postponed until the skin and tissue have stabilized. The time to stabilization can vary from 6 to 18 months depending on many factors.

Tumescent Body Lift Surgery

The Tumescent Body Lift extends the advantages of Dr. Kohout's Tumescent Tummy Tuck Abdominoplasty around the rest of the  body. Performed under light general anesthesia, the tumescent injections can bring a greater comfort after surgery.


Good Candidates for Body Lift Surgery

Patients need to have realistic goals and loose tissues that are sagging in one or multiple body regions. Individuals need to be in good health without multiple medical problems, impaired healing, bruising, or bleeding difficulties. This surgery is not suitable for those using Nicotine, complications are just too great. Those with excessive BMI (Body Mass Index) or high body fat% should consider weight loss options first.

Different degrees of sagging can exist around the body. Choosing the type of body sculpture is a balance of compromises, the scar for the excision vs. the benefit of the lift.

In the coming posts, I will cover Surgery Preparation, The Procedure, Recovery Time and Risks associated Body Lift Surgery.

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