The Women's Journal

The Body Lift

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By Vincent J. Perrotta, MD

With the advent of bariatric medicine and surgery, more and more Americans are losing massive amounts of weight.  While losing the fat is a great achievement, it creates a problem, which is difficult to treat, skin laxity.   For these individuals, excess skin hangs from the lower belly and produces unsightly waviness or rippling on the thighs, and the buttocks slides downward and loses its definition.  For children or young adults, the loose skin tightens spontaneously to a great degree.  Unfortunately, this is not the case for middle-aged or older adults.

For these more mature individuals, the only truly effective way to correct skin laxity is to remove the excess skin via a lifting procedure, which means surgery.  Lasers or other non-invasive devices might be able to produce some skin tightening but not enough to satisfy any patient that has ever entered our office.

The body lift consists of surgical removal of excess skin from the lower part of the body, including the belly, medial thighs, lateral thighs and buttocks.   As we reposition the skin higher on the body, the belly and thighs appear tighter and smoother.  As we elevate the buttocks, we reestablish its shape, and it too appears smoother.   The overall contour and harmony of the body is greatly enhanced.   In order to remove stubborn bulges of fat, we oftentimes perform some simultaneous sculpting via liposuction.

As you might imagine, a body lift consists of a significant amount of surgery.  Therefore, following a full body lift, we keep patients in the hospital for several days.  For patients who prefer to be treated on an outpatient basis, we perform parts of the body lift at separate sessions, with sessions separated in time by at least three to four weeks.   This incremental approach affords the patient the luxury of undergoing surgery in the private, convenient, warm setting of our certified operating room located inside our Salisbury office complex.

Full recovery from the body lift usually takes approximately 4 weeks, although most patients are able to perform their activities of daily living within three days of surgery.  We expect patients to taper off their narcotic pain medication by the fifth day.   Most patients are able to return to work in two to three weeks, with some limitations.

Our patient pictured above had lost 75 pounds dieting, exercising and taking appetite suppressants.  The bulges on her lateral thighs bothered her but she was most concerned about her excess skin.   She discovered that as she continued to lose fat, she developed more and more skin laxity.  Feeling ‘caught between a rock and a hard place,’ she became increasingly frustrated and distressed.  Then she heard that we perform body lifts.

After visiting us in consultation and touring our entire surgical facility, she decided to undergo a full body lift with liposuction. Her ‘before and after’ photos above   demonstrate how we placed all of her scars inside the bikini line.

If you or a loved one might be interested in the removal of excess skin, call our office and set up an appointment.   When you come in, you are welcome to tour our surgical suite, which is located inside our Salisbury office complex and certified by Medicare and accredited by AAAHC.