Full body lift explained

Dramatic weight loss often results in excess skin and sagging, fatty tissue. can cause significant psychological trauma and issues wearing certain clothes, especially swimwear and underwear. A full body lift may be required after weight loss of around 100 pounds or more is achieved to remove excess skin and fatty tissue from around various areas of the body, in one procedure.

Who is suitable for a full body lift?

• Non-smokers with no medical conditions that could impact healing.

• Individuals with large amounts of excess skin and fatty tissue around various areas of the body.

• Individuals who have achieved a stable weight and do not want to get pregnant.

Full Body Lift Procedure

Some plastic surgeons will define a full body lift as a combination of an upper and lower body lift and will not include arm or thigh lifts.

A full (complete) body lift will include an upper and lower body lift and arm and thigh lifts if required. Finding a plastic surgeon experienced with full body lift procedures is essential, due to the extra risks and complications that arise when excising larger amounts of skin, over multiple, body areas.


• A full (complete) body lift will be performed under a general anaesthetic and the operation takes between 6 to 8 hours.

Risks and Complications of General Anaesthetic

• Chest infection which may result in needing a respirator • Blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, (DVT’s), pulmonary emboli (PE’s) • Allergy to General Anaesthetic

Fatalities due to complications from a General Anaesthetic are rare (for a healthy person having planned surgery, the risk is approximately 1 fatality for every 100,000 general anaesthetics given).

Full Body Lift Surgical Procedure

You will be asked to not eat or drink for eight hours before the procedure.

After the surgery you will awake in a recovery area, it is likely you will have a sore throat from the tube and will feel very sore and bruised. You may also have nausea and, or vomiting and feel shivery and disorientated for a few hours, due to the effects of the general anaesthetic. You may have drains in place to help speed up the removal of fluid in areas and you will be wearing compression garments. When you are well enough you will be transferred to your room for the remainder of your stay.

24 Hours after surgery drains may be removed, although occasionally they may need to remain in place for up to 14 days. You may be able to go home or you may be advised to stay another 1 or 2 nights. You need to wear compression garments for the next 4 to 6 weeks, removing them only to shower/bathe after 7 to 14 days, as advised by your plastic surgeon.

You are likely to experience a combination of the below minor risks or complications:

• Severe bruising and swelling - may take up to 14 days to reduce.

• Numbness or tingling around the excision site's - this is normally temporary and will dissipate within 14 to 28 days, although rare there may be some areas that remain permanently numb due to nerve damage.

• Soreness, swelling, tightness and discomfort around excisions - this will gradually reduce within 14 to 28 days.

• Infection - This can normally be treated with oral antibiotics, although if severe may require hospitalisation and treatment with IV antibiotics.

• Hematoma's or seroma's- Normally dissipate without intervention although may require treatment with drains which is normally done during your initial hospital stay, although you may need to be readmitted if you have gone home and still have persistent symptoms of a hematoma or seroma.

Longer term risks and complications

• Delayed wound healing, which can result in skin necrosis (death of skin cells), this is normally treated with oral antibiotics, although if severe may require hospitalisation and treatment with IV antibiotics.

• Asymmetry of the contours of back, abdomen, arms and thighs.

• Skin contour irregularities, poor skin retraction, causing laxity (looseness) and, or lumps caused by fat necrosis (death of remaining fat cells), this is more common when liposuction has been performed.

• Scars in visible locations that may become keloid (darker and thicker), resulting in scar revision surgery.

• Visible stretch marks and or bulging, around the upper abdomen.

• Permanent numbness around the lower abdomen due to nerve damage.

• Incorrect positioning or unsatisfactory shape of Bellybutton (umbilicus).

• Unsatisfactory outcome resulting in revision surgery.

Very rare

• Myocardial infarction (heart attack)

• Pneumonia

• Full Body Lift Recovery Time

14 days - bruising and swelling should have decreased and you should be able to move around easily without pain. You will also have a follow up appointment to remove stitches and any drains.

4 to 6 weeks - You should be able to return to normal daily activities, however, you still need to avoid strenuous activities. Around 75% of the swelling will have dissipated after 6 weeks and you should be able to see a real difference in your body shape.

3 months - Around 90% of the swelling will have disappeared and the final results will become more evident. You should be able to return to all activities and exercise.

12 months - All residual swelling should have completely disappeared and the final results will be apparent.

Questions to ask your Plastic Surgeon

• How long will I need in the hospital?

• Is there an ICU unit in the hospital?

• How many full, body lift procedures have you performed in the past 12months?

• What are the risks and complications of a full, body lift procedure?

• Have any of your patients had complications and required additional surgery?

• Is all after care and revision surgery included in the price, if complications arise?

• Will you provide revision surgery without charge if I am not satisfied with either the results or the appearance of the scars? Are there any time limits for after care or revision surgery?

Posted on Jul 09, 2020

Back to blog