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Body Contouring Surgery Procedures

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Lift Procedures and Body Contouring

Arm lifts, thigh lifts, body lifts, and other surgical body contouring procedures have become more common in the last few years. These are invasive surgeries that are done to remove excess fat and skin and are often performed after massive weight loss, such as that seen after serious dieting or a gastric bypass or other bariatric surgery.

Who Needs a Lift?

As the name implies, a lift procedure pulls the skin and some underlying tissue back into a normal position. They are done after a large weight gain and subsequent loss, pregnancy, or age has left a person with a lot of drooping skin on the abdomen and buttocks, the upper arms, or the thighs. This sagging skin is caused by poor skin elasticity or by such a large weight loss that even skin with good elasticity is not able to shrink back enough to smoothly cover the body.

This excess skin can look unappealing. However, pendulous excess skin on the belly and torso can hang in folds. Rashes or fungal or bacterial infections can form in the folds and be a serious health problem. In cases of extreme weight loss, the excess skin can hang down almost to the knees, making personal hygiene and even walking difficult.

Body Lift vs. Weight Loss Surgery

Lift procedures and body contouring should not be thought of as weight loss surgery. They should not be performed simply to remove excess body fat. Most cosmetic surgeons who do these types of procedures might not consider you a candidate for a lift if you are not within 15% to 20% of your ideal body weight and if your body weight has not stabilized. A person who is still in the midst of a very rapid weight loss (such as that seen after a gastric bypass surgery) does not heal as well as someone whose weight has stabilized.

Body Lift procedures, especially a lower body lift, are possibly the most invasive of all cosmetic surgeries. These can be very extensive surgeries. Many patients who have these lifts may need to stay in the hospital overnight or longer. They can also be quite expensive and health insurance will probably not cover them.

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