Against Gravity: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Body Lift Surgery.
Time, energy, and gravity. The constants of the universe and the things that we may note when it comes to aging and its effects on our body.
At this moment in time, we do not have any non-surgical technology that can significantly and permanently tighten and lift loose skin. We do, however, have plastic surgery procedures that work very well including a variety of body lift procedures. Exactly what a body lift is can be confusing since there are many descriptive words in the common public as well as the plastic surgery lexicon. So stay tuned, as we dive deep and learn everything you ever wanted to know about body lift surgery.
So what exactly is a body lift? Technically, it can be any procedure that results in skin and tissue removal associated with the center part of your body—your core. This does not, however, tell us much so it’s important to understand the common concerns and goals for patients that request body lift surgery.
Whether its weight loss, excess weight, or general aging and the resultant loss of skin elasticity, our body—compliments of gravity— will naturally form folds and rolls of skin and tissue. With gravity’s relentless pull downward, our skin and tissue is pulled downward as well. Our skin and tissue, however, has certain ligaments that attach it to the underlying muscles and skeletal structure. These points of attachment are much stronger and the skin and tissue near these areas of attachment resist gravity’s pull more than the areas that are further away. The result? Cascading skin and tissue pulled by gravity, bunched up, folded, and overlapping the areas of near ligament attachments. This is why, regardless of ethnicity or body type, we tend to see the same rolls of tissue in most people with excess weight or loose skin. These occur both in front on the abdominal part of the waist, as well as in the back around the bra line area and near the buttocks.
This photo shown above depicts excessive tissue that is being pulled down by gravity creating folds and overlap at the belly button and at the pubic area. The patient shown underwent a Plus Size Tummy Tuck ® to remove, lift, and tighten that tissue. This could also be called an anterior or front body lift, but it’s much more commonly known as a tummy tuck, and in our case—with the elevated BMI and the modifications needed for her procedure—a Plus Size Tummy Tuck ®.
The second patient, shown above, depicts the ligament attachments and the resulting skin folds that occur around the bra area and near the buttock. This patient underwent a Bra Line Back Lift ™ to remove, lift, and tighten skin and tissue in the upper and middle back. This process could also be called a posterior or back body lift or an upper body lift. Her tattoo shows how the skin above her bra line area stayed relatively stable, helping pull up and anchor the middle and lower back skin and tissue higher, resulting in less skin laxity and less tissue folds.
In addition to the core or center of the body where upper body lift surgery occurs, there are also procedures to lift the buttock area or lower body. These procedures, designed to lift the buttock and surrounding area, are sometimes referred to as a lower body lift surgery and sometimes as an excisional buttock lift. An example of this is shown below. This patient had a lower boy lift as well as buttock fat transfer.
To understand body lift surgery it’s best to consider what and where the extra skin and tissue is located. Once we do so we can decide how to best remove the excess skin and tissue, which direction to shift and tighten the skin towards, and where the final incision line is optimally located. As with many things in plastic surgery and in life, beauty is in the eye of the beholder so its best to think of things not as wrong or right but more in line with preference and perspective. One person may prefer to have some loose skin as opposed to an incision in their bikini line, while another person would not care much where the incisions were located as long as the loose skin was gone.
Thank you for joining me on this journey of body lift learning. Stay tuned for more topics.
All the best,