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Medical Reasons for a Body Lift After Massive Weight Loss

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 and reduce excess skin. This procedure can target the abdominal area, buttocks, thighs, or a combination, tailored to your unique needs.

The primary goal of body lift surgery is to alter your overall look after substantial weight loss. Explore the three primary types: upper-body lift, lower-body lift, and whole-body lift.

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 for 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 facilitate 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 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 afterwards.
  • 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.

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 excess skin go away after massive weight loss?

Excess skin does not always go away after massive weight loss. The extent to which excess 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 excess skin. In cases where excess skin is bothersome or affects 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 excess skin?

There’s no specific amount of weight loss that universally causes excess 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 excess 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:

Surgical Procedures

  • 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.
  • 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.

Non-Surgical Procedures

  • Laser Skin Tightening: Laser treatments can stimulate collagen production.
  • Radiofrequency (RF) Skin Tightening: RF devices can also stimulate collagen production.
  • Aesthetic Facial Treatments for Volume Loss: They can be used to add volume to the skin.
  • Exercise and Strength Training: Building muscle through strength training exercises can help reduce excess 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 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.

Contact Dr Craig Rubinstein’s team at Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery for an estimate.

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 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:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Poor wound healing
  • Seroma
  • Hematoma
  • Anaesthesia risks
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Numbness or altered sensation
  • Scarring
  • Asymmetry
  • 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.

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:

  1. The excess skin causes significant physical discomfort or health issues.
  2. The surgery is considered medically necessary for your overall health and well-being.
  3. 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 an Abdominoplasty and a Lower Body Lift?

Tummy Tuck:

  • Area of Focus: An abdominoplasty primarily focuses on the abdominal area, specifically the front of the abdomen.
  • Purpose: It is typically performed to address 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 an abdominoplasty. It does not only include 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 excess 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 and numbness around the lower incision after a lower body lift. The degree of pain and discomfort will vary from patient to patient depending on their pain tolerance, the type of anaesthesia used, and the extent of 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 abdominal surgery and muscle repair may worsen with increased activity, which is why following your surgeon’s 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.

Specialist Plastic Surgeons and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon

With a wealth of experience and training, our Specialist Plastic and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeons are dedicated to best-practice patient care and education, customising Surgery for each and every patient to best meet their needs and desired surgical outcomes.

Dr Craig Rubinstein
Dr Broughton Snell
Dr Stephen Kleid
Dr Gary Kode

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001124843

Dr Craig Rubinstein

Dr Craig Rubinstein is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon based in Hawthorn East, Melbourne. With over 20 years of surgical experience especially in all areas of Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery, but particularly in breast surgery. These include Breast Augmentation and Breast Reduction as well as Breast Surgery Revision.

Furthermore, he believes that surgical customisation, precision planning and technical expertise help him to provide optimal surgical outcomes for his patients.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001190266

Dr Broughton Snell

Dr Broughton Snell is a Specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. His training in Plastic Surgery took place in Australia and the United States of America (USA).

Dr Snell is a fully qualified specialist plastic surgeon having completed his Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon MED0001052799

Dr Stephen Kleid

Dr Stephen Kleid is an experienced Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon (Otolaryngologist) based in Melbourne with a passion for Septo-rhinoplasty, Septoplasty, as well as, a strong interest in Rhinoplasty Revision.

Dr Kleid trained at Melbourne University, then completed surgical training at various hospitals including Royal Melbourne, Royal Children’s, The Eye and Ear and St Vincents. He worked as a surgeon at the University of Florida Medical school for further experience.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001405964

Dr Gary Kode

Dr Gary Kode is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon, with experience in Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as non-surgical treatments.

Dr Kode is a member of several organisations, including the Australian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), The International Confederation for Plastic and Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, and he holds a Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

What to do next?

Our Patient Liaison Team can assist with any questions you may have when considering a procedure. You can send in an enquiry form below or call our Melbourne Clinic between 9 am – 5 pm Monday - Friday.

Disclaimer: Results depend on individual patient circumstances and can vary significantly. Results may also be impacted by a variety of factors including your lifestyle, weight, nutritional intake and overall health. Consult your Specialist Plastic Surgeon for details. This information is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your Surgeon.

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