Body Lift or Tummy Tuck – Which One Do I Need?

Published: May 17, 2023
Category: Dr. Michael Philbin, Body Lift, Tummy Tuck

If loose, sagging skin around your midsection makes you feel self-conscious about your body – you’re not alone. Whether this excess skin results from pregnancy or losing a significant amount of weight, there is no denying that it can take a severe toll on your level of body confidence. Unfortunately, no amount of diet or exercise can improve the appearance of this sagging skin – surgical removal and acceptance are the only options. It’s no wonder that over 100,000 tummy tucks are performed annually in the United States, and the popularity of full-body lift procedures continues to rise. If you haven’t consulted with a plastic surgeon yet to discuss your concerns, you may wonder if tummy tuck or body lift surgery is best for you. The answer will depend on the location and amount of excess skin you currently have and your overall aesthetic goal.

Why are Tummy Tucks and Body Lift Surgeries So Popular?

“Both body lift and tummy tuck surgery can dramatically improve the appearance of a patient’s midsection,” says Dr. Michael Philbin, a board-certified plastic surgeon and partner with Edina Plastic Surgery. “However, a tummy tuck is a more common solution for excess skin that results from aging, pregnancy, or moderate weight loss, while a body lift is most effective for patients after a dramatic weight loss that has left them with loose, sagging skin that spans the circumference of the torso and even the arms, thighs, and buttocks. Regardless, both tummy tuck and body lift require that a patient is in good health and at a stable weight that they are happy with before surgery. Women should also consider whether or not they are done having children, as additional pregnancies could compromise their results.”

Who is a Good Candidate for Tummy Tuck Surgery?

A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a less extensive procedure than a body lift. In fact, most body lift surgeries include a tummy tuck!

“A tummy tuck focuses on improving the appearance of the front of the abdomen by removing excess skin, re-draping and tightening the remaining skin, and if necessary, tightening the underlying abdominal musculature,” explains Dr. Philbin. “Abdominoplasty does not address sagging skin around the hips, low back, or buttocks. It is, therefore, best for patients whose sagging skin is predominately located on the front of the abdomen. Tummy tuck surgery is a popular surgery for women who suffer from loose abdominal skin after pregnancy, but it can also be performed on men! At Edina Plastic Surgery, we offer mini, standard, and extended tummy tucks. Your surgeon will discuss which method they think will be best for you during your initial consultation.”

Who is a Good Candidate for Body Lift Surgery?

Most people in the United States are familiar with the term “tummy tuck” and what the procedure entails, but body lift is most certainly a lesser understood surgery.

“If a patient has had bariatric surgery, lost a dramatic amount of weight (100 pounds or more), or is left with a significant amount of excess skin in several areas of the body after pregnancy, they are most likely a better candidate for body lift surgery than a tummy tuck,” advises Dr. Philbin. “That’s because a body lift can raise and tighten the entire circumference of the torso and parts of the lower body.”

Common Areas a Body Lift Can Address

  • Abdomen
  • Lower back
  • Flanks / Love Handles
  • Hips
  • Buttocks
  • Outer / Inner Thighs
  • Upper Pubic Area

“Every patient has unique areas of concern after weight loss or pregnancy, so body lifts are highly customized procedures,” says Dr. Philbin. “Some patients may focus on the full circumference of their midsection and the hips and buttocks, while others may combine a thigh lift and arm lift to achieve their aesthetic goals. During your consultation, you and your surgeon will discuss your main goals and then build a strategy that includes multiple procedures to help you reach them.”

How Do Tummy Tuck and Body Lift Scars Compare?

Scars are inevitable with both tummy tuck and body lift procedures, but your plastic surgeon will strive to make them as discreet as possible.

“Most tummy tuck scars are located from hip bone to hip bone, above the pubic area, but below the panty line,” says Dr. Philbin. “This makes them very easy to hide in everyday clothing and even bikini bottoms. Scarring also tends to fade quite quickly, especially when a patient is diligent about scar care and wearing SPF when the incision area is exposed to the sun.”

“Body lift surgery will have far more extensive scarring that usually extends around the entire circumference of the body. Your surgeon will still attempt to keep your incision low and close to the hips so that it can be hidden by clothing but anticipate that it will be less discreet than a standard tummy tuck scar,” says Dr. Philbin. “If you have other procedures performed with your body lift, such as arm lift or thigh lift, expect scarring from those procedures as well. Most patients I work with consider these scars well worth it in exchange for not dealing with loose, heavy, sagging skin anymore and feeling confident about their bodies again. Body lifts can be truly transformative procedures for patients, both physically and mentally!”

Are you concerned about loose, excess skin around your midsection but are unsure if tummy tuck or body lift surgery is right for you? Schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Philbin or another board-certified plastic surgeon at Edina Plastic Surgery by calling (612) 688-3177, texting (952) 925-1765, or CLICKING HERE!

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