woman in a white bra and underwear has dotted line arrows drawn on her body

A full body lift is a series of surgical procedures designed to tone and shape areas like the breasts, thighs, buttocks, and abdomen. Full body lifts are primarily used to tighten sagging skin throughout the body, but they can also even out irregular contours, improve skin surfaces, and fix poor tissue elasticity caused by genetic factors, aging, or dramatic weight loss.

A full body lift is often thought of as a surgery that lifts the entire body, however it is actually a constellation of different procedures to lift various body parts which is specific to each patient’s needs. Therefore, a body lift that is appropriate for one patient may not be the same combination of procedures as for another patient.

If you have loose skin that causes you embarrassment, distress, or discomfort, a full body lift is one of the best forms of plastic surgery that can correct these issues. While it can take one to two years to see the full results, you will see major changes in your physical appearance right after the procedure. This means it can have an immediate impact on your self-esteem.

No cosmetic surgery is right for everyone, however. If you are considering a full body lift, there are a lot of factors you should consider first. Below, we will provide a brief overview of the process to help you decide whether it is right for you.

Who Is A Good Candidate For A Full Body Lift?

Anyone with excessive loose skin may benefit from a full body lift.

Full body lifts are particularly popular for people who have lost massive amounts of weight – often through means like bariatric surgery – and have sagging skin throughout the body as a result. New mothers often benefit from full-body lifts as well due to loose skin brought on by pregnancy. However, the majority of these patients require only a mommy makeover which incorporates only a few of the procedures often included in full body lifts.

In order to undergo a full body lift, you need to be healthy overall. Some chronic health conditions may prevent you from undergoing surgery, as can lifestyle choices like smoking. Any factor that could increase your risk of complication during surgery or inhibit the healing process may prevent you from undergoing a full body lift.

What Happens During A Full Body Lift?

Initial Consultation

Before a full body lift, you will have a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon. The full body lift procedure varies greatly from patient to patient, so a surgeon can help you determine the right treatment plan for you.

Your surgeon will help determine the treatment areas and decide whether any secondary procedures – like liposuction – should be performed in addition to a full body lift. During your consultation, you will talk over your goals and what you hope to get out of the procedure.

Your surgeon will also talk about your current medications, lifestyle, and health history to ensure you are healthy enough for surgery.


Before you are able to undergo a body lift, there will be a medical evaluation. This will include a basic physical exam as well as lab work. If necessary, your surgeon may ask you to make certain lifestyle changes as well.

In the days before your surgery, listen to any medical advice closely. Instructions will vary from patient to patient depending on your precise surgery plan.

The Procedure

Because full body lifts tend to be multiple procedures and more invasive procedures, general anesthesia is generally necessary.

Your surgeon will make incisions in the treatment area to remove excess skin and fat and then tighten skin tissues. Sometimes liposuction is required during this process.

Once excess skin and fat are removed, your surgeon will close your wounds with sutures. While there is often significant swelling, the results should be apparent right away.

What Is Recovery Like?

Recovery varies from patient to patient, so make sure to listen to your surgeon and follow all aftercare instructions carefully.

Body lifts can be performed on an outpatient basis, but many people will need to stay in an aftercare facility overnight. Most patients will require a week or two of assistance during the initial healing process.

In the first few days after the procedure, you may need to leave bandages in place, and you may have small tubes in place to drain excess fluid.

You can usually resume your regular activities about four to six weeks after surgery. Talk to your surgeon about your timeline for recovery, and at what point you can begin to gradually increase physical activity.

Swelling will start to subside within a few weeks to months, at which point you will notice your results more. Scars are inevitable, but will fade in time. However, it can take up to a year for the final results to fully take shape. For those who have less ideal scars, various therapies and treatment are available.

Are There Any Risks?

Any surgical procedure comes with risks. Deciding whether or not to undergo a full body lift entails deciding whether the potential benefits outweigh these risks. For the most part, a full body lift is a very safe procedure when you work with a reputable surgeon.

Some patients may experience numbness or changes in skin sensation, bleeding, infection, persistent pain, swelling, or skin discoloration. Most of these side effects are treatable, and some will pass on their own.

However, if you experience shortness of breath, chest pain, or an irregular heartbeat, seek medical attention immediately. This could be a sign of more serious complications.

Working with a reputable surgeon, following aftercare instructions closely, and adopting a healthy lifestyle can all mitigate your risk of complications.


A body lift procedure is a safe and effective means to address issues like loose skin, irregular skin tissue, or issues like cellulite. Successful full body lift procedures can have an immediate, positive impact on your self-esteem and self-image.

Ready to get started? Leif Rogers is an Ivy League-educated, board-certified plastic surgeon and a standing member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. If you’re considering a full body lift, get in touch with his team to schedule a consultation.

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