Excess skin. Sometimes it feels as though it’s even more ugly than being overweight. Big, loose rolls of hanging, sagging skin that gets in the way of wearing the clothing you were dreaming of when you were losing the weight, gets in the way of feeling sexy with your partner… it just gets in the way, period. And there’s nothing you can do, except come to the realisation that surgery is the only way you’re ever going to get rid of it. While the saggy baggy elephant was my favourite Golden Book as a child, no one wants to feel like they look like him when you look in the mirror… Some patients can solve the problem with an abdominoplasty, however this does not address excess skin from around the hips, outer and upper thighs, buttocks or back. We had a chat with Dr. Patrick Briggs, Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon from Perth, WA about full body lifts.
How do you know you need a full body lift and not just an abdominoplasty?
You are a candidate for a full body lift if you have large folds of skin and fat around your abdomen (tummy), bum, hips, back and/or thighs.
A body lift is different to an abdominoplasty because it involves a much larger incision and goes beyond the belly area. Dr Briggs explains, “A full body lift usually involves a circumferential incision being made all the way around your body where excess skin is removed, then pulled up and tightened, then stitched up again. Every effort should be made to ensure the incisions are made in such a position so the subsequent and unavoidable scarring is as inconspicuous as possible when wearing clothing or swimwear, however patients should be aware this is a major operation and will involve scars as a payoff for getting rid of the excess skin. A full body lift can also help to lift the skin in the buttock and thigh areas, although often a separate thigh lift or buttock lift will be required.”
A body lift is major surgery
Dr Briggs says that a body lift is one of the bigger surgeries that involves a longer recovery than many other types of plastic surgeries. “Excess skin removal is a major surgery that requires significant recovery time. Most patients remain in the hospital for one to three nights. Pain and discomfort are initially managed with intravenous or intramuscular medications, and later with oral pain medication. Drainage tubes are inserted. A medical compression garment is to be worn at all times – except while bathing – until your surgeon tells you it is no longer needed. Dressings are generally removed 5-7 days after surgery, and showering is allowed at that time, however major activities are best avoided for a few weeks. Most people require four to six weeks recovery time before returning to normal activities, and generally from six to eight weeks before exercising, due to the sensitivity on the incisions and scarring.”
After care is super important
Dr Briggs says that successful post-operative success depends a lot on your care and self-care afterwards. Doing the right thing after surgery can be just as important as the surgery itself. He says, “Physical activity that increases your pulse or heart rate may cause bruising, swelling, or fluid accumulation, leading you back into surgery. It is wise to refrain from intimate physical activities after surgery until your physician states it is safe. It is important that you participate in follow-up care, return for aftercare, and promote your recovery after surgery. A specific dietary plan may be encouraged. To ensure a successful outcome of your skin removal surgery, you are required to follow your surgeon’s instructions very carefully. Do not place any pressure on the treated area. Approximately 75% of the swelling dissipates at six weeks and 90% at three months. It is important that the incisions are not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion, or motion during healing.”
As always, we advise that choosing the right surgeon goes a long way to getting the best results possible. A plastic surgeon such as Dr Briggs who has extensive experience in performing body lifts is going to help ensure you are happy at the end of your journey.
If you’d like to arrange a consultation with Dr Patrick Briggs, or find out more about him you can phone his clinic on (08) 9381 9300.
If you’re interested in finding out more about body lifts check out the blogs and real stories below: