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Body lift surgery / thigh and arm reduction

What is a body lift surgery?

Body lift surgeries are procedures that are used to remove excess, loose skin, which can result following marked weight loss. This is most frequently seen in patients who have undergone dramatic weight loss after bariatric surgery (gastric banding/stomach stapling), but is also seen in those who have lost weight with diet.

In these patients, the skin has lost elasticity and is unable to reform the contours of the body. Body lift surgery removes this excess skin from the breast, arms, abdomen and thighs, and redefines the body shape. To achieve the final result more than one procedure is often required. In many instances a face and neck lift may be requested.

Body Lift surgery is considered radical cosmetic surgery, which unfortunately always leads to surgical incisions and scarring. The severity of scarring depends on the amount and location of the excess skin that is removed. For a full Body Lift, scars will be left in the groin crease of the inside of the legs, around the thighs, underneath the arms, across the lower stomach, on the breasts and possibly along the lower back and hips. However, whichever combination of procedures is selected, every effort will be made to insure that the scars are minimised and where possible hidden in the body's natural crease lines.

Why have it?

Despite achieving a substantial loss in weight people often remain unconfident and avoid social situations. Despite being thinner, smaller clothes can still be difficult to fit. This is due to the excess skin. Body lift surgery addresses this problem.

Reasons not to have it

Being overweight and smoking can increase the incidence of complications from body lift surgery. It may be wise to delay surgery until smoking is stopped or cut down. Even though weight may have been lost, the patients weight may still be at a level that markedly increases their risk of complications. Those patients will be advised to persist with their weight-reducing regime prior to surgery.

Aspirin increases the risk of bleeding by preventing blood from clotting. If you are taking aspirin, you will be asked to stop this for at least ten days before the procedure.

Further information


Mr Roblin will examine you to determine which areas of your body are suitable for removal of excess skin.

You will be asked about your general health, particularly information regarding heart disease, diabetes, and deep vein thrombosis (clots in the leg). Mr Roblin will want information about your medical history and any previous surgical procedures.


Body lift - circumferential

An abdominoplasty is performed but in these patients this is extended to reach circumferentially around the body. This has the effect of lifting the buttocks at the same time. The incisions are placed so that they are hidden in the panty line. In many cases, as well as a transverse circumferential, a vertical scar in the middle of the abdomen is necessary.

Thigh lift

Scars are placed in the groin crease at the inside of the upper part of the leg. The skin and fat are lifted up, and the excess removed to give improved definition to the leg.

Arm reduction

Scars are placed on the inside of the upper arm and the excess, hanging tissue is removed.


General anaesthetic. 4-8 hours.

Length of stay

5-6 nights following the operation

Risks/Possible complications

Early (1-2 days):

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Discomfort on moving
  • Bleeding (haematoma)

Later (after one week):

  • Small areas of wound breakdown
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Scars - can be lumpy, may stretch and widen. Scars continue to improve and mature for up to a year
  • Seroma
  • Fat necrosis
  • Skin necrosis
  • Infection
General anaesthetic
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Chest infection
  • Allergic reaction to drugs or tape


Immediately after the operation
  • You will feel bruised and sore and there will be some swelling
  • Pain is usually moderate and controlled with standard painkillers
  • Drains will be in place that may stay in when you go home
After return home
  • Socialising with friends 1-2 weeks
  • Return to work at 4-6 weeks
  • Driving at 4-6 weeks
  • Swelling and bruising for 2-3 months
  • Wear compression garment for 6 weeks
  • Return to gym and strenuous activity 3 months
  • Final result 6 months

Permanence of results

Permanent unless there is further weight gain.