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Body Contouring | Body lift

Following weight reduction surgery, or any substantial amount of weight loss, the skin and tissues often lack elasticity and cannot conform to the reduced body size. As a result, skin that has been severely stretched now is unsupported:
  • Upper arms may sag and appear loose and full
  • Breasts may flatten and hang with nipples pointed downward
  • Abdominal area may extend around the sides and into the lower back area, resulting in an apron-like overhang
  • Buttocks, groin and thighs can sag and cause hanging pockets of skin
Body contouring after major weight loss improves the shape and tone of your underlying tissue that supports fat and skin and removes excess sagging fat and skin. The result is a more normal appearance to the body, with smoother contours. This is, in essence, the final phase of your total weight loss experience.

The procedures necessary to achieve your goals will be defined along with a plan for the timing of these procedures. Plastic surgery procedures that may be recommended by your physician include:
Lower body lift

A body lift improves the shape and tone of the underlying tissue that supports fat and skin. Excess sagging fat and skin are removed to treat conditions caused in part by poor tissue elasticity. Incision length and pattern depend on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed. A complete lower body lift treats the buttocks, abdomen, waist, hips and thighs in one procedure. A circumferential incision around the body removes an apron of excess skin and fat and repositions and tightens tissues.

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A combination of liposuction and surgical body lifts may be necessary to achieve an improved contour. Deep support sutures within underlying tissues help to form the newly shaped contours. Sutures, skin adhesives or tapes close the skin incisions. The results of a body lift are visible almost immediately. It may take as long as one to two years for the final results to fully develop.

Arm Lift

An arm lift, also known as brachioplasty, reduces excess skin and fat between the underarm and the elbow, reshapes your arm to result in smoother skin and contours, and results in a more toned and proportionate appearance. Incisions are generally placed on the inside of the arm or on the back of the arm, and may extend from the underarm (axilla) to just above the elbow. If fat is to be reduced during your arm lift, it will be excised or treated with liposuction. Depending on your specific conditions, incisions may be more limited.

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Then, underlying supportive tissue is tightened and reshaped with internal sutures. Finally, the skin is smoothed over the new contour of your arm. The smoother, tighter contours that result from brachioplasty are apparent almost immediately following your procedure, although initial results will be somewhat obscured by swelling and bruising. Your new, shapely and toned upper arm is dramatically improved both in appearance and feel.

Thigh lift

A thigh lift reshapes the thighs by reducing excess skin, and in some cases fat, resulting in smoother skin and better-proportioned contours of the thighs and lower body. Incision patterns vary based on the area or areas to be treated, degree of correction and patient preference.

One common technique used for a thigh lift places incisions in the groin, extending downward wrapping around the back of the thigh. The underlying tissue matrix will be reshaped and tightened, and skin will be reduced and redraped resulting in more proportionate and smoother body contours. You may qualify for a minimal incision medial thigh lift which involves an incision only in the groin area. Your surgeon will determine what’s appropriate.

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Improving the contours of the outer thigh may require an incision extending from the groin around the hip. Through these incisions your plastic surgeon will tighten tissues for a smoother, better-toned lower body contour. Advanced techniques usually allow incisions to be placed in strategic locations where they can be hidden by most types of clothing and swimsuits. However, incisions may be extensive.

The smoother tighter contouring that result from a thigh lift are apparent almost immediately, although initially obscured by some swelling and bruising. You may be required to wear a compression garment for several weeks following your procedure to minimize swelling and support the tissues as they heal. Following a thigh lift, skin quality is dramatically improved both in appearance and feel.
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