COVID-19 UPDATE: As of May 11, 2020, we have re-opened our office to regular in-person appointments. We are operating at a lower-than-normal capacity in order to respect social distancing advisories and best protect the health of our patients. We are still offering telemedicine as an option. For more information please call us at (314) 996-8800.

Total Body Lift

Enhance Your Body Contours by Reducing Excess Skin and Fat in St. Louis, MO

When you carry excess weight for an extended length of time, the elastin and collagen fibers of the skin may be damaged. As we lose a significant amount of collagen—a protein that provides structure and strength to the skin—due to aging and cumulative environmental damage, the change can also make it more likely for the skin to sag. A total body lift at St. Louis’ West County Plastic Surgery—also known as full body lift—can address an array of related concerns below the neck to restore firmer, more youthful contours. For some patients, a total body lift may be the final step of their weight loss journey.

Ready to discover more about a total body lift in St. Louis at West County Plastic Surgery? Call (314) 996-8800 or submit a contact form to schedule a consultation.

What Is a Total Body Lift?

A combination of aging, sun damage, pregnancy, significant fluctuations in weight, and genetic factors can cause the skin to lose elasticity. For these patients, it’s common for sagging to develop on areas such as the abdominal area, buttocks, and thighs.

With this in mind, you may have questions like, “What does a full body lift include?” “Can an upper and lower body lift be combined at the same time?” or “What is the difference between a total body lift and lower body lift?” The total body lift procedure combines the lower body lift with a lifting and sculpting procedure of the breasts, upper back, and armpit region for dramatic improvements to the entire trunk. Although the lower body lift will address the front, sides, and the buttocks, it does not address redundant skin in the armpit and bra strap areas. To correct these areas, a second incision extending from a breast lift through the armpit region and to the bra strap areas is performed. This upper body lift will tighten loose skin in these areas, and—when combined with a lower body lift—comprises the so-called total body lift. The total body lift is the most powerful cosmetic procedure available to contour the trunk after massive weight loss. In cases where a patient wants to reduce excess fat and address sagging skin at the same time, a total body lift can be combined with liposuction.

Who Is an Ideal Candidate for a Total Body Lift?

If you’re thinking of a total body lift, you may be unsure whether a full on, surgical total body lift or minimally invasive skin tightening approach would be more suitable for you. The best choice for you depends on your age and the degree of skin laxity you have, as well as your ultimate goals, health, and other factors.

Keep in mind that there are limits to what minimally invasive procedures can do for tightening your skin. Older skin will be more likely to require cosmetic surgery. If you are experiencing soft tissue looseness in one or multiple areas, are in good health, maintain a positive outlook and realistic goals, are a non-smoker, and are committed to living a healthy lifestyle, then you may be a good candidate for a total body lift. A total body lift can be ideal for those who have excess skin and small pockets of excess fat. It is usually recommended for those who have a BMI of 30 or lower, and you will need to maintain a stable weight for six months before surgery.

What’s New with Total Body Lifts in 2023?

At West County Plastic Surgeons, we are very interested in speeding up recovery and reducing post-operative discomfort. We now use an “Enhanced Recovery Protocol” to help patients experience less pain after procedures, including total body lifts. Our protocol optimizes medications before and after surgery with the goal of minimizing the need for pain medicine post-total body lift surgery and speeding up recovery time. We are proud that this protocol has received awards at plastic surgery meetings around the world and has led to multiple publications. With total body lifts, we can utilize specific nerve blocks, given while you are asleep, to reduce pain in the surgical site and reduce the need for pain medicine after surgery.

What Is the Procedure for a Total Body Lift?

A total body lift involves incisions that are placed in strategic locations where they can be easily concealed. Excess skin and fat are removed while tissues are tightened and repositioned. The newly shaped contours are supported with deep sutures.

Total Body Lift at a Glance

Anesthesia: A total body lift is performed with the patient under general anesthesia.

Length of procedure: 5 to 7 hours.

Estimated recovery time: What is the recovery time for a total body lift? You can return to work after 6 to 8 weeks and should avoid vigorous activities for at least 8 weeks. Visible bruising should clear up within 2 weeks, and swelling begins to resolve within 4 weeks. To learn how to prepare for a total body lift and what to expect afterward, click here to download our patient instructions for lower body lift and breast lift or gynecomastia correction.

Recovery and Results from a Total Body Lift

Try to avoid subjecting your incisions to excessive force, motion, swelling, and abrasion when you’re recovering. Compression garments can help to keep the swelling down. There will be strict activity restrictions, such as avoiding heavy exercise, lifting your arms over 90 degrees, and sleeping in certain positions that cause tension on the wounds. You will also need to avoid exposure to UV light on areas that are healing, since sunlight can cause scars to darken.

Although some improvements are visible right away, the final results will continue to develop and be seen in in one to two years. Although it’s normal to lose some firmness as your body ages, the overall results from a total body lift are long-lasting. To preserve the best results, you will need to maintain a stable weight and general fitness.

Dr. Terry Myckatyn, MD and Dr. Marissa Tenenbaum, MD

Dr. Terry Myckatyn and
Dr. Marissa Tenenbaum:

Trusted. Experienced. Committed.

Side effects: Common side effects include bruising, swelling, a few spitting sutures, and some numbness, itching, and spasm of the abdomen, lower back, and sides. Drain tubes lasting 10 to 30 days are placed, and you will be required to walk gently flexed at the waist for about 5 days after surgery. An injectable blood thinner called Lovenox® is generally used for at least 10 days after surgery to prevent blood clots. On occasion, delays in wound healing may occur. Click here to download a detailed consent form from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons that lists the risks and benefits of body lift procedures.

Before-and-after photos of total body lift results: Click here

Before & After

Visit our Photo Gallery to see our patient results.

*Results may vary.

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Which Body Contouring Procedures Complement a Total Body Lift?

A total body lift may be combined with several other procedures following massive weight loss:

Lower Body Lift (Mastopexy)

After significant weight loss, you may be considering improving the shape of you arms. You may also want to contour your abdomen, flanks, buttocks, lower back, and outer thighs. This can often be done with a lower body lift, which involves an incision around the midsection (front and back) to help address loose skin in those areas. The results of this surgery can dramatically improve the look of the waistline after a significant reduction in weight.

Breast Lift (Mastopexy)

With age, weight loss, or pregnancies, breast tissue can sag or droop over time. A breast lift, or mastopexy, can reposition the breast tissue and nipple to create a more youthful look.

Male Breast Reduction for Gynecomastia

Some men may experience changes in their chest after weight loss. Hormonal factors can also cause gynecomastia at any stage of life. This can include excess glandular tissue as well as skin. Gynecomastia correction can help. This often involves Vaser-assisted liposuction and skin reduction.

Buttock Augmentation

The buttocks can become flatter due to aging, pregnancy, or other factors, but this cannot be addressed with a total body lift. Buttock augmentation, often with fat transfer or fat grafting to the buttock, can help improve the contour and provide a shapelier, curvier appearance.

Want to find out more about what you can expect from a total body lift in St. Louis at West County Plastic Surgery? Call (314) 996-8800 or submit a contact form to request a consultation.

If you have questions or would like to book a consultation with one of the surgeons at West County Plastic Surgery, please call (314) 996-8800.

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