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body lift

noun [countable]

a procedure in plastic surgery involving the tightening of loose skin in the hip, buttock, upper thigh and stomach area

'An increase in the number of patients undergoing bariatric [weight-loss] surgery has encouraged plastic surgeons to seek improved methods of treating the cosmetic problems associated with massive weight loss, such as deformities of the buttocks region. … Dr. Sozer will be discussing his use of an autologous buttock implant, using the patient's own tissue, in conjunction with a lower body lift.'

US Newswire 29th April 2005

If you have around US$7,500 dollars to spend and are contemplating splashing out on a luxury holiday or home improvement, you might be interested to know that in 2005 the same amount of money would buy a completely 'new' you, since this figure represented the average cost of a body lift.

a body lift operation normally lasts between four and seven hours and is performed under general anaesthetic

Over 75,000 cosmetic surgery operations are performed in Britain every year, but these no longer consist merely of facelifts or 'nose jobs'. Many procedures involve a substantial re-shaping of the entire torso, fashionably described as body contouring. It is in this domain that the term body lift has emerged, an informal description of the surgical procedure technically referred to as torsoplasty, and also known as total body lift, central body lift or belt/circumferential lipectomy. A body lift operation normally lasts between four and seven hours and is performed under general anaesthetic. It typically involves a combination of surgical cutting ('excision') and suction in order to remove the excess body tissue.

Body lifts are often performed in an attempt to deal with the surplus unelasticated folds of skin resulting from extreme weight loss, either through dieting or bariatric (weight-loss) surgery. There are various kinds of body lift depending on which area of the body needs most attention: a lower body lift generally concentrates on the thighs, buttocks and lower abdomen, whereas an upper body lift deals with the back, breasts and upper abdomen.

Background – body lift

Cosmetic surgery is big business on both sides of the Atlantic, and body lift operations have been available in the USA for several years. In the UK, the concept of a body lift was brought into the public eye in late 2003, when ITV featured a programme about Valerie Rogers, a healthy, active swimming coach who became morbidly obese after a car accident which triggered a growth hormone imbalance and rendered her immobile. After two years of dieting she lost 22 stone or 308 pounds (just under 140kg), but was left with an unbearable amount of excess skin, later removed in a pioneering total body lift operation.

Other procedures in the same domain include breast lift, technically referred to as mastopexy (from the Greek mastos, 'breast'), and arm lift, designed to remove loose skin from the upper arms and technically referred to as brachioplasty (from the Latin brachium, 'arm').

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 20th February 2006.

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