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Body Lift
Belt lipectomy


Body Lift Following massive weight loss, many are left with excess skin that cannot be altered by diet and exercise alone. Body lift surgery (technically called “belt lipectomy”) offers dramatic alteration to the mid and lower body – specifically, the abdomen, hips, thighs, and buttocks.

The components of a lower body lift are several smaller procedures, namely the tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), thigh lift (thighplasty), and buttock lift (gluteoplasty). A full body lift (“lipectomy” or “full lipectomy”) may also include an arm lift (“brachioplasty”). According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), there were 7,615 lower body lift surgeries performed in the United States in 2011.

Costs of Body Lift

According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), the average cost of body lift surgery in the U.S. is $7,247. If arm lift surgery is added, the average additional fee is $3,729.

"The Average

cost of body lift surgery in the U.S.
is $7,247."

These approximated costs are based on a nationwide average of fees for the procedure in 2010. The cost of body lift surgery may vary widely from one surgical practice to another, depending on the surgeon’s location. Additionally, the national average fee refers to the surgeon's fee only and does not include charges for the surgical facility, anesthesia, and anesthesiologist – nor does it include any medical tests, prescriptions, or other miscellaneous costs related to body lift surgery.

The best time to obtain a comprehensive cost of body lift surgery is during a first consultation appointment at the surgeon’s office. Also, it should be noted that many patients see two or more surgeons before undergoing surgery; presumably, cost is a factor in this decision. Most surgeons offer multiple financing options for body lift surgery.


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Find a Body Lift Surgeon

While the information contained in this website will provide you with a good introduction to body lift surgery, it cannot replace medical advice. When considering body lift surgery, please consult a qualified provider.

(To assist your search, use the CosmeticSurgery.com physician locator.)


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Benefits of Body Lift Surgery

Because the procedure entails a combination of several cosmetic surgeries, the benefits of body lift surgery can be significant. Patients can expect to see an improvement in contouring* and skin tightness of the:

  • Upper arms (if full body lift)
  • Abdomen
  • Hips/flanks
  • Buttocks
  • Thighs

* Contouring refers to the shape, texture, and appearance of the target areas. Patients can anticipate a noticeably slenderized effect in these locations; however, only small amounts of fat are removed. For this reason, body lift surgery should be regarded as a body contouring procedure – not a weight loss surgery.

View body lift surgery before and after photos.


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How is body lift surgery performed?

Body lift surgery begins with the placement of incisions, in order that the surgeon may have access to the target areas. The locations of the discreet incisions are in natural skin fold areas, and these areas are easily covered by clothing. Body lift surgery is circumferential, so the patient will be repositioned during surgery to address each individual area.

"Body lift surgery begins with the

placement of incisions, in order that the surgeon may have access to the target areas."

The body lift procedure involves steps specific to the respective procedures involved. Upper arm surgery involves liposuction of excess arm fat and tightening of the upper arm skin. The tummy tuck component involves removal of excess fat on the abdomen, followed by tightening of the stomach muscles and the smoothing of sagging abdominal skin. The buttock lift portion includes gluteal skin tightening and buttock fat removal, if necessary; and finally, the thigh lift step means that thigh fat will be smoothed to reduce a “cottage cheese” appearance, followed by the “lifting” of the thighs by pulling the skin upwards.

When the procedure is complete, layered suture techniques are used to carefully close the incision areas in a way that will maintain the lift. This method, in addition to the surgical drains and compression garments, will control stretching and swelling.


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How much pain is associated with body lift?

As is the case with all cosmetic procedures, some discomfort should be expected following surgery. Pain and swelling will diminish over time, with most patients beginning to feel “normal” after approximately two weeks (although many patients return to work after one week). Resuming other activities after body lift surgery is addressed below.


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Body Lift Surgery Recovery

The surgical drains from body lift surgery typically remain in place for up to three weeks, sometimes longer. Sutures in the incision closure may or may not require removal in the weeks following surgery. These follow-up treatments are done on an outpatient basis.

"The surgical drains from body lift

surgery typically remain in place for up to three weeks, sometimes longer."

As for resuming activity after body lift surgery, patients are encouraged to walk the next day. Movement becomes easier as the drains are removed. An overnight hospital stay is often required for the patient to learn proper post-surgical care. Typically, patients can resume most normal activities four to six weeks after surgery.


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Risks of Body Lift Surgery

All cosmetic surgeries pose a degree of risk, and body lift surgery is no exception. The most commonly occurring body lift surgery risks are:

"More serious, but very rare body

lift surgery risks include blood clots to the lung, the risks of which have been significantly reduced by sequential compression devices on the calves during body contouring surgery."

  • Delayed healing from small separations in the incision closure
  • Numbness in areas adjacent to the incisions
  • Slight asymmetries, despite efforts to balance skin and fat removal
  • Bleeding may lead to bruising (very rarely requiring transfusions)

More serious, but very rare body lift surgery risks include blood clots to the lung (“pulmonary emboli”), the risks of which have been significantly reduced by sequential compression devices (SCD’s) on the calves during body contouring surgery. Additionally, there are risks associated with an extended surgical duration of this nature (six hours or more). To minimize these risks, measures are taken to keep the patient warm during surgery, and medical conditions are addressed preoperatively to ensure the safety of the patient for the duration of the surgery.


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Who is the ideal candidate for body lift surgery?


Patients who benefit from lower body lift surgery have loose, sagging skin on the buttocks, thighs, and abdomen. They must be willing to expect visible, yet discreet scars around the waist. Although slightly overweight patients can be candidates for body lift surgery, the layers of fat below the target areas should be relatively thin in order for an individual to qualify. Patients who have had massive weight loss surgery or have lost large amounts of weight naturally are often good candidates as well.

"Patients who benefit from lower body

lift surgery have loose, sagging skin on the buttocks, thighs, and abdomen."

Each patient’s anatomy and proportions of loose skin will vary; therefore, the decision to utilize body lift surgery depends upon your goals and expectations. A proper surgical examination will help determine whether body lift surgery will result in the outcome you hope to achieve.


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