Full Body Lift


Jill Daniels, Freelance Medical Writer

Jill Daniels is a freelance health writer based in New York City. She spent several years writing for WebMD, including their Weight Loss Clinic and Fertility Center programs. Jill has also written/reported for publications including InStyle, People and Women's Own. She received a degree in journalism for Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

January 14 2008

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Star Jones, Al Roker, Carnie Wilson, Roseanne Barr, the winning contestants on The Biggest Loser. What do all of these people have in common? They've all lost a vast amount of weight. What else do they likely all have in common? Loose skin after weight loss.

It's an unfortunate fact that people who have lost a great deal of weight often wind up with many pounds of extra skin that doesn't just "snap back" into shape because the skin's elasticity has deteriorated. And as more and more people are undergoing bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) or liposuction surgery, procedures such as body lifts to eliminate the loose skin after weight loss are becoming much more common. 

A Body Lift – Defined

Your body is three-dimensional. That means when you've lost a lot of weight and there's excess skin after the weight loss it probably won't center itself all in one area. Therefore a tummy tuck or a breast lift won't fix the whole problem. A body lift addresses drooping skin circumferentially, removing loose skin all around the body.

Body lifts are often classified as lower body lifts, upper body lifts or full body lifts. Lower body lifts typically treat areas including the waist, hips, outer thighs, abdomen and buttocks. Upper body lifts generally focus on the back and breasts, and lifts for the arms, neck and face. Full body lifts encompass the whole kit and caboodle.

Should You Consider a Body Lift

Not everyone who has lost a lot of weight needs a body lift, especially a full body lift. Age, genetics, how much weight you've lost, how long you've been overweight, and how quickly you've lost the weight, all affect the elasticity of your skin and play into whether you'll wind up with a lot of loose skin after weight loss. And how you feel about that loose skin makes the biggest difference. For some people, the satisfaction of losing an enormous amount of weight is diminished because they have so much sagging skin, and the contours of their body aren't as firm and defined as they'd like. But if you feel great and the excess skin isn't causing you any irritation or medical problems, then a body lift may not be right for you.

Who Is a Good Candidate?

The process of having a body lift is lengthy and it can take a year or so to contour or "lift" the whole body. The surgery is typically done in several intervals with time in between to allow for healing. While it's not right for everyone, for some people it can make a huge physical and mental impact on their lives. Here's who makes the best candidate:

  • People who have stabilized their weight and are at their goal weight for several months prior to surgery
  • People who have significant amounts of loose skin in multiple areas of the body
  • Healthy people who don't have prior medical conditions that can either hamper healing or increase risks associated with surgery
  • People who don't smoke, as smoking interferes with healing and decreases blood supply to tissue in the body
  • Women who are not planning to become pregnant, because pregnancy will stretch the skin again