If you’ve worked hard and reached your goal weight, then congratulations! Weight loss can be a long, hard effort. It can also transform your confidence like nothing else. If you’ve lost significant weight, it’s normal to be left with excess amounts of skin. For many weight loss patients, it’s natural to look for ways to get rid of excess skin left behind after weight loss, so it can be helpful to know what to expect. Your first step in your body contouring after the weight loss journey is meeting with a board-certified plastic surgeon who can recommend your best options. In the meantime, here’s a detailed guide on what to expect from the upper body lift, an important post-weight loss surgery worth considering.
Is it the right time for body contouring surgery?
One of the first things to consider is whether a body lift procedure is right for you. It’s important to consider where you’re at currently – if you’ve just hit your weight loss goal, then it may be prudent to wait on scheduling your surgery. That’s because your weight should be stable and maintainable for the future so you’re less prone to fluctuations that can negatively impact your results (and require another lift procedure). A general rule is that your weight should remain stable for at least six months before opting for surgery. If you have more weight to lose, then you should also consider waiting.
Keep in mind also that body lift procedures can require some significant downtime, so if you have a busy schedule and can’t afford to take a few weeks away to recover, you may need to wait.
What can an upper body lift do?
It’s important to have realistic expectations of what an upper body lift can accomplish. And upper body lift is not a weight loss surgery. Its main goal is to remove excess skin from areas like the arms, back, bra line, chest, and breasts. It’s also an effective option for stubborn pockets of fat. So, if you reach your weight goal and are still bothered by areas of fat that don’t seem to go away, an upper body lift can be a great option. The result of an upper-body lift is a smoother, more contoured look to the upper body.
If you’ve undergone massive weight loss, then you can consider pairing your upper body lift with a lower body lift and panniculectomy for more complete contouring. Depending on your goals and unique needs, you may need to undergo these procedures separately rather than all at once.
Will there be scarring?
Scarring is inevitable with any surgery, but a board-certified plastic surgeon with experience in body contouring after weight loss can help. During surgery, your plastic surgeon can take steps to make sure any scarring is concealed within the natural contours of your body or is easily concealable with clothing. Additionally, there are steps you can take to fade scarring during your recovery using silicone sheets or gels. If scarring continues to be a concern after your recovery, there are plenty of professional-grade skincare treatments and products that our team can recommend.
What does an upper body lift include?
An upper body lift can be customized to your unique goals and needs. Although surgical excision is the main technique used to contour the body and remove excess skin, liposuction is also a valuable tool that can be used to remove stubborn fat. This means your upper body lift will likely include a combination of these techniques. Here are some of the most common areas addressed during an upper-body lift.
The upper arms can commonly carry fat and excess skin, making it difficult to feel comfortable in clothing like tank tops or dresses. Sometimes called an arm lift, this technique uses customizable incisions that can run from the armpit to the elbow to remove hanging skin and fat.
Breasts and chest
For both men and women, it’s common to lose fat in the breasts and be left with excess skin on the chest. In either case, a breast lift can get rid of excess skin and restore the breasts to a more upright position on the chest. For women, it’s common to include implants to restore lost volume. For men, this is considered male breast reduction or gynecomastia surgery.
Bra area and upper back
Although less common, it’s possible to be left with bulges and excess skin in the upper chest and back areas. Your plastic surgeon can perform incisions in the bra area to tighten the skin and remove any stubborn fat pockets for a better fit for your clothing.
How do I prepare for surgery?
An upper body lift is usually performed using general anesthesia, so you’ll be asleep for your procedure. You’ll be given detailed instructions ahead of your surgery date with an important checklist that includes:
- Wearing loose, easily removable clothing
- Abstaining from food and water
- Stopping medications and blood-thinners
- Filling prescriptions
- Arranging for transport home after surgery
- Avoiding wearing jewelry, makeup, contact lenses, or skincare products
- Setting up a comfortable recovery area at home
- Preparing meals and easily accessible foods for your recovery
- Obtaining compression garments to wear over your treatment areas
What is upper body lift recovery like?
Your recovery phase after an upper-body lift can require 2-3 weeks away from work or school. You’ll need to rest and avoid strenuous activity during this time, and our team will make sure you have detailed recovery instructions. You can count on redness and swelling at your incision sites for the first week or so, along with pain and discomfort. Make sure to take your prescribed medications according to directions so you can rest and recover. You’ll also be asked to wear a compression garment to manage the swelling and help your skin adhere to the new contours.
It can take several weeks to months for your final results to emerge as swelling subsides and your skin adjusts. Your plastic surgeon will let you know when you can return to your regular exercise regimen and in what phases. As long as you maintain a healthy and active lifestyle with a good diet, you can enjoy long-term results from your upper body lift.
Schedule a Consultation
An upper body lift is one of the best decisions you can make for your confidence after massive weight loss. During your consultation, Dr. Kayastha can help you customize the ideal surgical package for you and your goals. To learn more and get started, contact our Albany office by calling 518-674-9060 or filling out our online form.