The back bra lift, can also be called an upper back lift or bra lift. It is a procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the mid/upper back region. It is called a bra lift because the incisions and scars are usually located under the bra line. This surgery can also reduce excess skin located around the sides of the body, including under the armpits and lower back. Dr Matthew Peters, Plastic Surgeon based at Valley Plastic Surgery in Brisbane, answered all our questions about What is the bra back lift procedure.
What is involved in the back bra lift procedure?
While this procedure can be performed on both women and men, women have the advantage of being able to hide the surgical scar under the bra line. The first step in the procedure is for the surgeon to mark where the incision will be made during the surgery. Dr Peters says it helps if female patients wear their favourite bra during this part of the process so the surgeon can try to ensure they line the incisions up to be hidden under the bra line. He says, “Following weight loss there is often loose skin that has been stretched up and adheres to the ribs and scapular (shoulder blades). This skin hangs over the bra and forms rolls in the mid-back region. A back bra lift is designed to get rid of this loose skin. Plastic surgeons can design a scar to sit in and around the bra line so as to best conceal scarring.”
Dr Peters says the surgeon will often make some vertical marks on the patient to help line up where they will pull the skin together after removing the band of skin causing the sagging or rolls, along with any excess fat. He says it’s the skill of the surgeon to ensure their stitching technique aligns the skin when stitched back together without causing too much tension along the scar line.
The back bra lift, or upper body lift, is said to take between one and two hours depending on the patient and will require at least two weeks off work for recovery, depending on what job the patient has. Usually if they have a physical job, Dr Peters says he recommends at least three weeks off work for recovery.
Is the back bra lift performed on it’s own or with other procedures?
Dr Peters says the back bra lift can be done as a stand-alone procedure but is often combined with other surgeries such as breast reduction and/or lift, mastopexy or brachioplasty (arm lift). He says, “I often combine the back bra lift with a breast reduction and breast lift in patients that have had an abdominoplasty years ago and are now wanting a breast procedure. These patients will often comment about issues with excess skin in the armpit and upper back areas. I can do circumferential procedure to tidy up the area around the upper chest and as well as the back bra/ mid back area as well. “
You are a good candidate for a back bra lift or an upper back lift if:
- After bariatric surgery or significant weight loss you are left with loose skin and/or rolls on your upper back, under your arms or on the side of your breasts and/or chest.
- After liposuction you have loose skin that needs to be removed.
- You have any upper arm excess skin and fat.
- You have excess breast/chest rolls.
- Can help lift the inframammary crease to its proper position – correct positioning of the inframammary crease will result in proper position proportion of the entire chest, and is helpful for breast reduction, breast lift and breast augmentation.
- Can help smooth, tighten and sculpt body shape.
- Can help eliminate chafing and rashes due to loose skin.
It is important to keep in mind that while an upper body lift with help a little with lifting the skin on the lower part of your back, if you have a larger amount of excess skin and pockets of fat further down your back you may be more suitable to having a lower back lift or a full body lift. Your surgeon will be able to advise you as to what is most suitable for you.
Is the back bra lift eligible for a Medicare rebate?
There is a Medicare item number for Body Lift however there are tight restrictions on when it can be used. It cannot be used purely for aesthetic or cosmetic reasons. The Medicare Benefits Schedule states that a Circumferential Lipectomy may be covered when:
(a) the circumferential excess of redundant skin and fat is complicated by intertrigo or another skin condition that risks loss of skin integrity and has failed 3 months of conventional (or non surgical) treatment; and
(b) the circumferential excess of redundant skin and fat interferes with the activities of daily living; and
(c) the weight has been stable for at least 6 months following significant weight loss prior to the lipectomy.