Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Center of El Paso – Full Body Lift

Weight gain and pregnancy cause tissues of the body — such as the skin and muscles — to expand to accommodate the accumulated fat or the growing baby and uterus. Once the excess weight is lost or the baby is delivered, the skin and muscles may not have enough elasticity to return to their previous shape and, therefore, they remain loose. The biggest problem with these stretched tissues is that they are often unresponsive to diet and exercise, and they generally worsen over time.

Luckily, a full body lift can address sagging and loose skin and weakened muscles following weight loss and childbirth. By combining several surgical techniques, we can remove excess skin in the midsection, lower body and upper body within a single procedure.

What Is a Full Body Lift?

A full body lift is surgery to reshape, tone and trim the abdomen, lower and sometimes upper body. It is a combination of different procedures that can involve a lower body lift to trim and tone the midsection as well as upper arm and breast lifts. This plastic surgery procedure is always customized to your needs and can help treat and remove excess skin, fat and other problems caused by weight loss, pregnancy and childbirth.

A full body lift is common after massive weight loss in bariatric patients. Most of these patients are left with some amount of excess, sagging skin that can affect their confidence levels and also be very uncomfortable. Pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding can also permanently stretch the skin of the breasts and abdomen and cause permanent separation of abdominal muscles (diastasis recti).

Areas Treated With Full Body Lift

A full body lift performed at the Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Centers of El Paso addresses excess, sagging skin and weakened muscles in the entire trunk area. More specifically, this extensive body contouring procedure treats the entire trunk to create a slimmer, more defined body.

Excess tissue can be removed to tighten and tone the following areas:

  • Abdomen
  • Flanks
  • Buttocks
  • Thighs
  • Breasts
  • Upper back
  • Upper arms

Ideal Candidates

This body sculpting procedure is ideal for those who have lost a significant amount of weight, often after bariatric surgery. It can be disheartening to be left with stubborn excess skin and fat after putting in so much effort to lose weight. A body lift can help you look as good as you feel after achieving your weight loss goal. This procedure is also highly beneficial for mothers who wish to get their bodies back to the way they were before pregnancy.

Candidates should have maintained their weight for at least three months, though longer is preferable. It’s also advisable to wait at least a year after bariatric surgery to pursue the full body lift surgery. Patients should be in relatively good health without any serious medical conditions, and they should be dedicated to maintaining their weight with a healthy lifestyle after surgery.

How to Prepare

A full body lift is a major procedure that involves general anesthesia, several hours of surgery and multiple incision sites. Good preparation before such extensive and complex surgery is necessary to avoid complications and to improve your outcomes and results.

To prepare for a full body lift, we may ask you to:

  • Obtain a medical evaluation and clearance from your primary care doctor.
  • Avoid taking aspirin, NSAIDs, medication, supplements, food and drink that are known to thin the blood.
  • Avoid smoking for at least three weeks before your scheduled surgery.
  • Make work and recovery arrangements, which include taking time off work, arranging your drive back home and ensuring you have help at home.
  • Fill your prescriptions for after surgery, which may involve antibiotics and pain medication.
  • Come to your preoperative appointment to review your surgery plan and go over the logistics of your procedure.

The day before your surgery, you should not eat or drink anything after midnight or your surgery will be canceled. If necessary, medication can be taken with a small sip of water. On the day of your surgery, do not wear any jewelry, makeup or cosmetic products and bring your identification documents.

What to Expect

A full body lift surgery takes approximately four to seven hours and is performed with the patient under general anesthesia. Your plastic surgeon may also inject local anesthesia in the target areas to reduce bleeding, especially around the incisions.

Circumferential Body Lift Surgery

A full body lift refers to circumferential body lift surgery. Also called belt lipectomy, this procedure is designed to remove excess skin from the lower abdomen, outer thighs and buttocks. Many of our female patients who have lost a significant amount of weight have excess skin around the thighs and buttocks, which can cause chaffing and hide their new contours. A lower body lift helps sculpt the entire waistline and lower body.

The surgery involves making a large, wrap-around (360-degree) incision and removing an apron of excess skin. Dr. Jabor, Dr. Reynolds or Dr. Aburto will begin surgery with a circumferential incision that extends horizontally along the lower back, around the hips and above the pubic hairline on the front of the abdomen. Stretched skin and excess tissue are removed from the back and hips, and the remaining skin and tissues are tightened to lift the butt and smooth the back. The incision is closed with stitches, skin adhesives or clips and drains are placed to collect fluid.

Addressing the Abdomen

Tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty) techniques are performed to create a flatter, tighter abdomen and waist using the incision on the lower abdomen. A second incision around the navel (belly button) is used to address the upper abdomen.

Your surgeon will separate the upper layer of tissue and subcutaneous fat to access the underlying abdominal tissues. The belly button is left attached, tunneled to the tissue below it. Excess tissue and fat will then be removed, sometimes with the aid of liposuction. If you have abdominal muscle separation (diastasis recti), your stomach muscles will be brought back together and tightened using suturing techniques.
The remaining tissues will then be pulled tight and smoothed over your new abdominal contours. A new incision will be made for the existing belly button to come through, and all incisions will be closed with sutures.

Addressing the Thighs

If needed, an incision is created above the thighs to remove flabby tissue and lift the back of the thighs. Patients with significant loose thigh tissue may need to undergo a thigh lift procedure after healing from their full body lift. Those concerned about cellulite may choose to undergo Cellfina™ treatment if cellulite on their buttocks or thighs wasn’t improved with their surgical lift.

After Your Body Lift Surgery

After this body contouring surgery, the treated areas will be wrapped in bandages. You will be taken to a recovery area for monitoring of your breathing, heart rate and other vital signs. Once your anesthesia wears off and we’ve established that you are stable, you will be discharged to go home.

It’s important to make arrangements ahead of time for someone to drive you home after surgery, as you will feel groggy and not be able to drive after undergoing general anesthesia. You should also arrange for someone to be with you for at least the first 24 hours of your recovery at home.

Compression Garment and Drainage Tubes

A compression garment should be worn throughout recovery except when showering, as compression of the treated areas helps to reduce bruising and swelling and promote healing.

You may have thin drainage tubes that were placed during surgery. Your surgeon will give you detailed drain care instructions to follow until the drains are removed in our office after five to seven days.

Surgery Results

You will notice a change in your appearance immediately after surgery. However, swelling is part of the healing process and it may take time for tissues to settle into their final position. The final results of a full body lift can take between one and two years to develop as the tissues conform to their new tighter shape.

After your full body lift, you will enjoy your results indefinitely. However, to maintain your results for as long as possible, it’s important to maintain a steady weight, stick to a healthy and active lifestyle and have these treatments performed after you no longer plan any future pregnancies.

Will I Have Scars After My Full Body Lift?

This procedure involves a fairly large incision to remove loose, sagging skin and tissue. The length of your body lift incision will depend on the extent of correction needed. Unfortunately, incisions result in scarring that is unavoidable. However, patients report that the trade-off of eliminating excess skin and fat is well worth it.

Incisions are placed in inconspicuous areas as much as possible so they can be covered by undergarments and swimwear, and they generally fade over time. Keeping your incisions out of the sun and safe from being bumped against or pulled on will help them heal better and result in less scarring. We also offer scar revision treatment for patients interested in reducing the appearance of their post-surgical scars.

Combining Your Body Lift With Other Procedures

A body lift already combines multiple surgical techniques into a single procedure, but we can also customize your treatment to include a different combination of procedures that address other areas of concern.


Patients with excess fat that cannot be excised from the treated area can combine liposuction with their body lift. Since the full body lift itself takes several hours, we recommend that you recover from this procedure before undergoing surgery on another area of the body.

Lateral Thigh Lift

We may also perform a later thigh lift to treat the front and outer part of the thighs. The later thigh lift, however, cannot address the sagging of the inner thighs. If you need treatment in this area as well, we may schedule a separate surgery at a later time once you have fully recovered from your full body lift.

Upper Body Lift

An upper body lift could consist of several procedures: an upper arm lift, back lift and a breast lift. Because many of our bariatric patients and women who have given birth have excessive or sagging skin in the upper body as much as the lower body, this step is necessary to achieve proportioned body contours.

Loose skin under the arms, below your armpits, back rolls and sagging breasts are common problems treated with an upper body lift. For male patients, male breast reduction (gynecomastia surgery) techniques may be used to provide firmer, flatter chest contours. For female patients, your plastic surgeon can perform a breast lift to elevate and reshape sagging breasts. Breast implants can also be placed for patients who desire breast augmentation.

Have you been wondering what to do about the frustrating extra little bulk around the center of your body? Maybe you’ve recently lost weight, had a baby or it’s just always been there. Or perhaps after losing a significant amount of weight, your new, slimmer figure is hidden beneath the excess droopy skin, which hides all your hard work and makes clothes shopping a terrible chore.

No matter your reasons, it’s possible you’ve tried nonsurgical methods yet still struggle with that muffin top. It’s about time you feel and look like your old thinner self… or even better. You can undergo a tummy tuck or body lift surgery with our board-certified plastic surgeons and get the physique of your dreams. Imagine a flat stomach and a slimmer core, contoured and smooth underneath anything you wear. Say goodbye to support undergarments and coverups!

Read our blog article, Tummy Tuck vs. Body Lift, to learn more about our body sculpting procedures at El Paso Plastic Surgery and their differences. It’ll help you to understand why we might choose one instead of the other to meet your specific needs. You’ll be well-informed and ready for your consultation with Dr. Jabor, Dr. Reynolds or Dr. Aburto.

Get Your More Slender, Contoured Body Back With a Full Body Lift in El Paso

Full body lift surgery can help restore your slender, youthful body contours and confidence. We invite you to come to our office for a consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons. During this time, Dr. Jabor, Dr. Reynolds or Dr. Aburto will be available to sit down with you to answer questions and use state-of-the-art simulation to map out a plan of action for your procedure.
To schedule an appointment, please call 915-543-5600 or contact us online for additional information on a full body lift.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Painful Is a Body Lift?

A full body lift is performed using general anesthesia, meaning patients will be asleep and not feel any pain during surgery. During recovery, moderate discomfort and soreness can be expected. Prescription or over-the-counter medication can be used to control any pain or discomfort as you heal.

When Can I Resume Exercise After a Body Lift?

When they feel well enough in their early recovery, patients are encouraged to take light walks to aid in circulation. However, do not lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for at least two weeks. Do not engage in strenuous activities or exercises for at least eight weeks and until cleared by your surgeon.

When Can I Go Back to Work After a Body Lift?

If your job isn’t physically demanding, you can go back to work two to three weeks after your body lift. Those whose jobs require manual labor may need to take six to eight weeks off.

How Long Does It Take to Recover From a Full Body Lift?

As this is a major medical procedure, healing time is significant, often between four and eight weeks. Swelling and bruising will last for several weeks, and minor residual swelling may last three to six months.

When Will I See the Results of My Body Lift?

Body lift results will be noticeable immediately after surgery, as the excess tissue will be gone and the body contours will be visibly smoother and tighter. However, your results will be hidden by bruising and swelling that may last for two to three months.

How Long Will My Body Lift Results Last?

Body lift results are long-lasting if you maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. The excess tissue and fat removed will be permanently gone from the body. However, the remaining fat cells can increase in size and stretch the skin with weight gain. The patient’s skin and tissues will continue to age naturally, but they will always be tighter than if he or she had not undergone the procedure.

How Much Does a Body Lift Cost?

The cost of a full body lift can vary drastically depending on which procedures are performed, which techniques are used, the experience of your surgeon and where your surgery is performed. Reach out to Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Centers of El Paso for a consultation to determine the exact price of your body lift surgery.

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