Massive weight loss patients often deal with deformity caused by the redundant skin and fibrous fat, which does not respond to further diet and exercise. Aside from cosmetic problems, they also face mobility issue, breakdown of tissue, non-healing skin irritation, foul odor, and poor hygiene.
Because the mid and lower body area has the most redundant skin that causes mobility problems, most MWL patients first choose extensive tummy tuck in which the hanging abdominal skin is removed and tightened, and/or lower body lift where in the buttocks, flanks, and thigh are improved all at the same time.
Nevertheless, an upper body lift surgery remains important to help them achieve a more balanced appearance. Surgeries such as breast lift, breast reduction, arm lift, and back lift fall under this category.
By combining the lower and upper body lift procedures, the surgery is now called a total body lift.
While in some cases it is cost-effective to perform multiple procedures in one surgical setting, conventional wisdom suggests that in elective plastic surgeries the length of time in the operating table—particularly if they require the use of general anesthesia—is ideally under six hours to reduce the risk of complications and minimize the surgical trauma.
Another advantage of staging the surgeries is that it is easier to achieve a more predictable result because the skin is given enough time to redrape to the new contour.
Explanations of the most common types of upper body lift for MWL patients:
* Breast surgery
For women, the redundant skin and tissue laxity cause severe drooping of their breasts and/or deflated upper cleavage. Surgical enhancements such as breast lift and breast reduction can help them achieve a near normal appearance.
Some male patients can also benefit from breast surgery, particularly those with a condition called gynecomastia or “woman-like” breast that is caused by excess tissue and skin. Oftentimes, the procedure involves skin-excision techniques partnered with liposuction to remove the excess fat that no longer responds to further weight loss.
* Arm lift or brachioplasty
For MWL patients, their arm lift uses a significantly longer incision than those required by individuals with minimal skin laxity caused by aging. Oftentimes, the skin excision extends from their elbow to the chest wall for additional contouring.
* Back lift
A procedure more common in women than men, it involves an incision that is positioned underneath the bra strap to hide the scars. For additional contouring, liposuction may be also necessary.