William G. Hart, M.D.

Hart Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery Institute


621 S New Ballas Road
Suite 676A
St. Louis, MO 63141
Phone: (314) 251-6250
Fax: (314) 251-6822

Body Lift Procedure

Body Lift


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Are You a Candidate for a Body Lift?

      The best candidate for a body lift has maintained a stable weight for a minimum of three months preferably six months to a year and should be participating in a healthy exercise and dietary program. Candidates who have had gastric bypass, Lap-Band or other gastric restrictive procedures should wait at least one year after weight loss surgery so that the common health problems associated with obesity have had time to improve.

      Women who plan to have children may be advised to postpone treatment until after childbearing. Normal-weight women in their 30s and 40s may opt for body lift surgery to remove remaining skin and tissue after reducing excessive post-pregnancy weight.


The Body Lift Procedure
      The operation is typically performed in a hospital. However, some procedures may be performed in a fully accredited outpatient surgical center. This might depend on your body mass index (BMI) at the time of the procedure. Time in surgery ranges from four to seven hours and is usually performed under general anesthesia, while you are asleep.

      A lower body lift starts with a belt-like excision above the outer thighs and buttocks. Dr. Hart may further separate the thigh skin to help with the procedure. He will then suture this area and start the tummy tuck (abdominoplasty).

      The next step involves a horizontal incision made along the pubic area, which is followed by the removal of the tissues that span from the underlying muscles to the belly buttons/button. The skin in between the belly buttons/button and central rib cage will then be separated.  Next, Dr. Hart may suction out any remaining fat in this area with liposuction.

      Dr. Hart will tighten the stomach muscle after the extra skin is detached. The skin that remains is then repositioned and sutured at the pubic area; after which the belly buttons/button is returned to its original location.

      An upper body lift starts with a broad bra-line skin removal. After Dr. Hart closes this excision, they will eliminate the back fat rolls and narrow the waist. Any extra skin under the breasts or over the lower rib cage can now be removed. When closing, Dr. Hart will tighten the skin under the breasts, and the raised abdominal skin will be sutured to the lower rib cage.

As part of an upper body lift, men can undergo male breast reduction (gynecomastia).


Total Body Lift and Follow-Up Procedures

As the name implies, the total body lift combines upper and lower body lifts along with supplemental procedures. This can be done as one surgery, or at separate intervals. Two of the more commonly performed body lift follow-up procedures include:

  • Arm Lift (Brachioplasty). An arm lift usually involves an incision along two areas: the armpit and the inside surface of the arm from the elbow to the armpit, in an inconspicuous location. Excess fat is removed through liposuction. The excess skin is trimmed away, pulled together and sutured in place. Dressings will be applied to the incision areas. A compression garment may be required for several weeks after surgery.
  • Thigh Lift (Medial Thigh Lift). In most cases, excess fat and hanging skin is removed from the upper, inner thigh through an incision placed at the junction of the thigh with the groin. However, for individuals with more severe thigh contour problems, an incision may also be necessary which extends from the groin area along the inside of the thigh down to the knee. Excess fat is removed through liposuction. The excess skin is trimmed away, pulled together and sutured in place. Dressings will be applied to the incision areas. A compression garment may be required for several weeks after surgery.


After Body Lift Surgery

      Body lift is a major surgical procedure and requires significant recovery time. Most patients remain in the hospital for one to three nights.

      Pain and discomfort are first managed with intravenous or intramuscular medications, and later with oral pain medication. A specific dietary plan may be encouraged. The doctor will supply a complete instruction list that must be followed to reduce the risk of complications.

      Dr. Hart may provide you with a medical compression garment to wear at all times except while bathing. This should be worn until your doctor lets you know it is no longer needed. Dressings are generally removed two days after surgery and showering is allowed at that time.

      Your post-surgery activities will likely be restricted until you have adequately recovered. This could include no exercise and no lifting of five pounds or more. Walking is encouraged after surgery; however, further exercise is not recommended until sufficient healing has occurred.

      Most people require four to six weeks' recovery before returning to normal activities, and generally from six to eight weeks before exercising. There cannot be any pressure placed on the treated area. Approximately 75 percent of the swelling dissipates at six weeks and 90 percent at three months.




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