Bra Line Back Lift in Melbourne – Surgery for Excess Skin Back Rolls and Back Folds after weight loss
After losing a significant amount of weight you may have bulges and saggy or loose skin on your upper back and underarm area. This is a tricky area to address and may require surgery, this is where a Back lift or Bra-line back lift may help. A bra-line back lift surgery is one of the most effective ways of getting rid of the excess tissue and contour your upper back while hiding the scar in your bra line.
Dr Geoffrey Barnett in Melbourne is an accredited and experienced plastic and reconstructive surgeon. He offers a variety of body lift procedures, including the bra line back lift surgery. Using advanced surgical techniques, Dr Barnett will remove the sagging skin from your upper and middle back to give you a tight, firm, and contoured looking back.
What is bra line back lift surgery?
Bra-line back lift surgery is a cosmetic surgical procedure done to remove the loose skin on your upper and middle back areas. These tissue folds on the back are usually stubborn and don’t go with exercise or dieting. They develop after excessive weight loss (e.g. if you’ve had bariatric surgery), or due to ageing and genetics.
Surgery to remove excess back skin can be performed by experienced plastic surgeons as a single procedure or in conjunction with a full mummy makeover or body lift.
The bra-line backlift entails removing the fat rolls on your back and then pulling the skin taught. The final scar will be along the line where the bra sits on your back, so it is easily hidden.
Am I a good candidate for bra line back lift surgery?
If you have back rolls and you want to get a flat back with a smooth and natural contour without all the excess skin, the answer is yes. Despite the name, bra line back lifts are not only for women; many men complain of annoying excess skin on their back. Loose skin can develop on the back in both men and women. Excess back skin after weight loss surgery is a common problem that’s well addressed by body lift procedures. You’re considered a good candidate for a bra-line back lift if you:
- Are not planning on losing any more weight
- Have maintained a stable weight for the past 6 months
- Are generally in good health
- Understand that there will be a scar
- Can stop smoking at least 1 month before surgery, if you are a smoker
- Can take time off and have someone to take care of you after surgery
What are the benefits of a back lift?
Having back rolls and loose excess skin on your upper back area can be very annoying. Many people who’ve put a lot of effort into losing weight through exercise, diet, or bariatric surgery, still can’t get rid of these stubborn folds and bulges on their back. This can cause embarrassment, skin issues and social distress. This leads people to avoid being intimate wearing revealing swimsuits or going shirtless. Luckily, surgery can help. Some advantages of a back lift:
- It’s a relatively safe procedure with minimal associated surgical risks
- The results are almost immediate, and they improve gradually during the healing process
- The resulting scar can be well hidden under most bras or swimsuits for women
- Gets rid of stubborn back fat rolls
- Skin issues and rashes etc won’t reoccur
- Helps you regain your body confidence
- Reshapes your back contour
How is bra line back lift surgery done?
Back lift procedures are performed in a Private Accredited hospital where you will be prepared for surgery and may spend a night or two. Immediately before surgery, your Surgeon will mark you up. In other words, they will draw the surgical markings on your skin where they plan the incision lines to be.
Bra line back tuck is performed under general anaesthetic. This means that a specialised anaesthetist will give you a combination of medications to put you to sleep so that you won’t be conscious or feel pain during the procedure. After removing the excess fat and tissue, the surgeon will pull the wound edges taught so that they have a smooth contour with no folds or bulges. We do not use drains with every patient, however, if it is necessary they will. This is to ensure there is no fluid buildup and can help prevent seromas from forming.
How to prepare for back lift surgery?
First, you will need to come in for a consultation and have an assessment. Your Surgeon will start by asking you a few questions about your general health, medical problems, previous surgeries, and any medications you take. Then they will perform a full physical examination to assess your body and mark the areas that need lifting. Afterwards, you and your Surgeon can discuss your surgical options. You may want to discuss other body lift procedures at the same time such as a tummy tuck, or lower back lift.
After deciding what needs to be done, a date will be set for the operation. Your Surgeon will instruct you to stop smoking at least a month before surgery and will let you know if you need to stop taking any of your medication (like blood thinners). Do not stop taking your medications or start on new medications before surgery without consulting with your Surgeon first.
What to expect during recovery from back lift surgery?
After surgery, you’re likely to spend one or two nights at the hospital to recover. If drains have been used the surgeon may leave them in for a few more days, and ask you to come back into the practice to have them removed.
During your recovery, you should expect some bruising and swelling, minimal bleeding, and pain along the wound on your back while you’re healing. You will be prescribed painkillers to help ease discomfort and some antibiotics to prevent infection. You will be given instructions on how you can change your wound dressing and take care of yourself post-operatively.
Avoid showering and getting water on your wound for the first couple of days after surgery. You can usually go back to work 10-14 days depending on the type of work you do. The surgeon will advise this during your consultation. Healing from back lift surgery can be tiring and physically demanding. You will be issued a compression garment to be worn for a designated amount of time – usually 4-6 weeks.
What are the risks of a bra line back lift?
Generally, elective cosmetic surgeries are safe and carry very minimal risks. Nevertheless, there are some complications and risks associated with the surgery. Possible early complications of bra line back lift surgery include:
- Seroma formation: a seroma is when inflammatory fluid forms a collection (bulge) under your skin. This is usually prevented by using drains, however, in some cases, it might require draining using a needle.
- Hematoma formation: if blood collects under your skin, it’s called a hematoma. Hematomas are usually absorbed by your body, but occasionally, they need to be manually removed.
- Bleeding: In rare cases, bleeding might occur from the wound after back lift surgery. This can usually be managed by gauze packing and bedside suturing.
- Infection: Like any other surgery, post-operative infection is always a risk. Nevertheless, the antibiotics prescribed will reduce the likelihood of infection occurring.
Complications that can happen later after healing:
- Asymmetry after healing: Your Surgeon will do his best to make your wound and contour symmetric after your back lift surgery, however, with skin laxity and your natural fat and skin distribution, slight asymmetry may remain.
- Abnormal scarring: Rarely, scars might grow abnormally, a condition known as keloids or hypertrophic scars. These require special treatment to be removed and are more common in certain ethnicities.
- Skin necrosis: On rare occasions, the blood supply might not be enough around the wound edges because of the tight skin that compresses your small blood vessels. This can make a part of your skin die off (necrosis), especially if you smoke or have diabetes.
How much does a back lift cost?
The cost of bra line back lift depends on a number of factors. These factors include the;
- Hospital where you’ll have surgery
- Anaesthetist fees,
- Cost of surgical materials
- Cost of aftercare
- And, more
The cost of bra line back lift is variable according to your case and what is involved. After your Surgeon examines you, you will receive an estimation of all costs.
Does Medicare cover back lift surgery?
Medicare does not usually cover surgery that is done for purely cosmetic reasons. Nevertheless, as of 2016, you might be eligible for a rebate if you fulfil one of the following criteria;
- Your back rolls and bulges are interfering with your activities of daily living
- The saggy and loose skin on your back is causing skin irritation and exacerbating a skin condition
- You have excess flaps on your back after losing 5 or more BMI points
If you fulfil one or more of these, then Medicare and other insurers might cover some of the costs of your back lift surgery since it’s considered a medical necessity and not just a cosmetic procedure.
Can I combine a back lift with other plastic surgeries?
Of course, a lot of times a bra line back lift is performed in combination with other surgical procedures. It can be a part of a mummy makeover, which combines a type of breast surgery with a tummy tuck or any other body lift procedures like an arm lift etc. There is also Arm lift with Back Fat Surgery
Further Reading and Medical References:
- ASPS USA Article on Body lifting
- PRS Article on Bra Line Back lift
- Plastic Surgery Clinics Article – The Bra Line Back lift
- PRS Article on Torsoplasty
- ASJ Article – Management of Back Rolls
- Plastic Surgery Clinics Article – Maximizing aesthetics in lateral-tension abdominoplasty and body lifts