Types of Body Lift Surgery


Check out this explanation of the different types of body lift surgery that are available before you make the decision to go under the knife!

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According to a 2016 study, nearly 75% of men and women are not satisfied with their appearances. Reasons range from excess fat to unsatisfactory hair to every possible flaw imaginable. Unfortunately, the focus on our defects can also affect other areas of our lives. Researchers have found a direct link between body image and overall fulfillment; those who are happy with their appearances tend to live happier, as well. For those who aren't so lucky, you don't have to resort to years of failed diets and hours of tiring workouts with questionable results. Instead, many are turning to another option: body lift surgery. Is a body lift right for you? It could be. Here, we'll take a quick and painless look at body lifts, exploring everything you need to know about the possible procedures. Are you ready to find out the answer to your question? If so, then read on.

What Is Body Lift Surgery?

It's easy to forget the skin is the largest organ in the body. It's very elastic, which comes with its own sets of pros and cons. When we get older, the skin's elasticity is reduced, leading to "flabby" arms and other unsavory places with excess skin. Likewise, when we gain weight the skin stretches to accommodate the new body fat. If that weight is lost, the skin may not be able to return to its former tightness. A body lift remedies this. It is meant to "treat and correct the issue of excess skin."

What a Body Lift is Not

It should be noted that body lift surgery may be suggested in addition to liposuction, as a lift alone may not be able to remove enough excess fat for satisfactory results. Liposuction, or lipoplasty, removes fat from the body through a vacuum-like device known as a cannula. It is the most common type of plastic surgery in the US, with more than 300,000 procedures completed each year. If your skin is elastic, meaning it can resume its normal shape after losing weight, and you are unhappy with your body image, liposuction may be the right avenue.

Am I a Good Candidate?

To be a successful candidate for a body lift surgery, your weight should have been stable for the past six months. Additionally, you must not smoke and should be in overall good health. When contemplating body lift surgery, it is important to take into account your emotional state. Are you ready to undergo surgery and will you be happier if you achieve your desired body contour? If so, you may be a good candidate. Consider these other factors, too:

  • You have realistic expectations. The surgery will certainly improve your body image, but it doesn't mean you're going to leave the hospital looking like Angelina Jolie or Dwayne Johnson. But, trust us, you will definitely look good.
  • There will be scarring. Surgeons will make the scarring as minimal and unnoticeable as possible. Locations differ depending on where incisions are made.
  • Several weeks may be necessary to recover. Depending on the extent of the surgery, you may be able to leave the hospital and be back to work in a week. However, other surgeries (such as an arm lift) may require up to a month of recovery.
  • Finances should also be contemplated. Prices range depending on the type of surgery chosen, but you will be spending thousands of dollars.
  • Finally, there is you. Yes, you. You are an individual, and you are beautiful regardless of what you may think of yourself.

If you have taken all of these thoughts into account, you meet the health requirements and you are determined to look and feel better about yourself, you are a successful candidate for body lift surgery.

What Are the Risks?

The entire procedure is considered safe and effective by practically all of the health community. Like anything, however, there are risks. But not many. In a study of 75 consecutive mid-body lifts, researchers discovered only a 15% complication rate. Pretty good odds, eh? When problems occur, they generally have to do with infections and reopened wounds. In rare cases, blood transfusions and blood clots may form. Some studies indicate the rate of complications decrease if patients wait at least a year to have cosmetic alterations after receiving weight loss surgery. Another issue that could occur involves loosening skin after a body lift surgery. This requires the patient to undergo a second lift to remedy the problem.

The Pros and Cons

Body lift surgery has many advantages.

  • You'll feel better about your appearance.
  • You may be more outgoing and social as a result.
  • It's the only way to tighten extremely loose or saggy skin.
  • Typically, recovery periods take a matter of weeks rather than months.
  • You will see the effort of losing those pounds finally paid off.
  • You may feel happier about life in general.
  • The surgery's effects are long lasting if weight and fitness are properly maintained.
  • The surgery can be customized to meet your needs. You get the last say about what you want to do.

It also comes with its disadvantages.

  • It's expensive. A full-body lift costs an average of $30,000. A more precise body lift surgery (such as an arm lift or a back and breast lift) can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000.
  • It is time-consuming. You will have to have someone there to support you after surgery, and you may not be able to return to work for some weeks.
  • During recovery, patients may experience swelling and pain.
  • You will have to maintain your current body shape to avoid creating new, sagging skin. This may require that you watch your diet and exercise regularly. On the bright side, this also means a healthier lifestyle.

For most, the advantages of body lift surgery greatly outweigh the disadvantages. One patient states, "This surgery has raised my self-esteem tenfold. I often find myself emotional when I look at pictures or look in the mirror because I am so happy with the changes. The transformation is so dramatic and I finally am starting to feel beautiful."

The Types of Lifts

There are three major types of body lift surgery. All of them correlate to one section of the body.


An upper lift includes the changes in the top-most half of the body. Specifically, it can target the upper arms, the breasts and fat rolls along the back. It is entirely up to the patient and surgeon to decide if a full upper-body surgery would be appropriate or if only certain areas should be targeted. There are several reasons to consider an upper-body lift:

  • You recently lost weight and now have excess skin in these areas.
  • You have "back rolls."
  • You are self-conscious about the appearance of one or more of these areas.
  • You have excess skin from pregnancy.

For ladies, this type of surgery has the added benefit of saying goodbye to those saggy breasts.


Unfortunately, working out may rid us of fatty tissue, but it cannot eliminate the excess skin that remains once the fat is gone. If that skin does not tighten after losing weight, there are no other options to return it to its former state. A mid-body lift will remove the excess skin and fat from the abdomen and lower back. During this procedure, the abdominal wall is tightened to eliminate loose skin. That's why this surgery is especially appropriate for individuals who have creases or "tummy rolls." Many patients prefer this type of lift in addition to a lower one because it results in a smoother transition from the buttocks to the abdomen. It can also repair any muscle damage that may exist. Incisions are made in a similar fashion to lower-body lifts with additional incisions along the waist.


Also called a circumferential lift, a lower-body lift focuses on the thighs, hips, and buttocks. It is a popular choice among patients. Unfortunately, it is also the most expensive of the three types. The benefit of this surgery is that it does not only remove the skin, but it also lifts the buttocks. Reasons for choosing a lower lift are similar in nature to the previous two:

  • You have recently lost weight and have sagging skin in these areas.
  • You have excess skin from pregnancy that you would like to eliminate.
  • Aging has resulted in looser skin or a less-flattering contour.

This procedure is commonly referred to as a belt lipectomy because the incisions made reflect the appearance of a belt. Surgeons will try to hide any scarring behind bikini lines so that they will be covered by clothing.


In addition to the three common types, individuals can undergo a total body lift to address issues throughout the entire body. Because of the surgery's extensive nature, it does require a much longer recovery period. The major benefit of combinations or a total body lift (also called a full-body lift) is that it will give a more natural appearance.

Lift Your Way to Beauty

Are you ready to attain the body you want and deserve? If so, check out our testimonials page to see Dr. Timothy Katzen's great results and give us a call today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.