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Dr Tim Neavin
Surgery with Symmetry
Dr Tim Neavin

Body Lift Surgery in Santa Barbara

The body lift surgery requires a circumferential incision, and dissection is carried under the butt to lift it and restore tightness to the thighs and buttocks. The patient is then re-positioned on the back and a tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty) is performed. These incisions are meticulously connected and strategically hidden within a bathing suit.

Before and After Photos


When it comes to long surgery procedures like a body lift, it is important to make sure your body has achieved an optimal state of nutritional health. Men and women who develop laxity from massive weight loss should be thoroughly examined by their primary care doctor to make sure their body has the nutritional support it needs to heal from body lift surgery. We generally check serum albumin levels, which are a good marker for recent protein intake. Diet modification may also be helpful prior to body lift surgery to increase body protein.


A thigh lift is a surgery that is part of the body lift procedures that addresses laxity of the upper legs. If legs have too much fat but have good skin elasticity, liposuction works well. However, if the issue is skin laxity, liposuction can actually make the problem worse. Thigh lifts are often performed after weight loss, such as the lap-band or any other bariatric surgery procedure. Different techniques in thigh lifts allow Dr. Neavin to tailor your body lift procedure to your precise needs and desired outcome. Techniques include a medial thigh lift that lifts the inner thigh, and a lateral thigh lift that lifts the outer thigh. Incisions can vary from being camouflaged in the creases in the groin or bikini line. However, in severe cases of skin laxity, the incisions may need to be extended.

Other than adequate protein intake, you must be sure to be off all nicotine before your body lift surgery, including smoking, nicotine gum and patches. Nicotine causes the small vessels in the skin to shrink, which can lead to poor healing. Generally, it takes four weeks to clear nicotine from the body. Secondhand smoke may also create healing problems. If you are considering a body lift and live with a compulsive smoker, make sure they understand that their smoke can harm your healing process. They should make efforts to smoke outdoors as much as possible.


Staging the procedures that come along with a body lift. Our goal is to keep surgery time under eight hours. Combining surgery can reduce overall costs, but it should never be at the expense of safety. We will often involve a second plastic surgeon to help stitch up incisions to reduce operating room time.

For out-of-state patients, long operations must be timed well. To reduce chances of clots forming in the legs, our anesthesiologist will hydrate you well during surgery. One should always have at least one day between arriving via plane to the operating room. Big operations may require you to stay in town for several days to ensure your safety during the early body lift recovery process.


A body lift is often the most effective way for massive weight loss patients to achieve the full results of their weight loss goals. Schedule your consultation today with Dr. Neavin at his Los Angeles location. Call 310-858-8811 or text 323-975-1287.


What is a body lift?

A body lift refers to the excision of skin and fat all the way around the abdomen, flanks (or love handles) and lower back to tighten the abdomen, outer thighs, and buttocks. The body lift essentially includes an abdominoplasty, lateral thigh lift and buttock lift. It is most often performed in a single stage, but can be broken down into more than one surgery when appropriate for the patient.

Is this the same as body contouring after weight loss?

Most patients who have a body lift have lost massive weight, often from bariatric surgery. Body contouring after weight loss includes a body lift as well as a brachioplasty, breast lift, and inner thigh lifts.

Can’t I just have liposuction?

Liposuction removes fat only. In some cases after fat is removed through liposuction, the skin can tighten and conform around the new contour. The degree of tightening depends on several factors such as genetics, one’s age, and the elastic properties of the skin that can be altered through diet, smoking, and weight loss. In men and women who have loose skin, liposuction will be of limited benefit. First, there is often insufficient fat to remove after weight loss, and second, the skin contractile properties have been weakened.

Where will the incisions be after body lift surgery?

The incisions for body lift surgery will be circumferential around the waist, flanks or outer, lower thigh, and lower back. Generally they will be placed low enough to be hidden with shorts. There will also be an incision around the belly button. Body lift surgery is often combined with inner thigh lift surgery, mastopexy, and brachioplasty, which leaves additional scars in the groin or inner thigh, breasts, and inner arm.

Is a body lift safe?

Like any surgery, there are risks and complications that may occur even in the most skilled hands and healthiest patients. To reduce such risks, it is advised that patients have their surgery performed by a board certified plastic surgeon and get a complete physical exam by their primary care doctor to ensure they are healthy enough for the surgery.
Because body lift surgery is a long operation, many precautions will be taken before, during, and after surgery to reduce the chances of blood clot formation. Antibiotics will be given to reduce infection risk. Labs will be drawn and reviewed to ensure electrolytes are normal in those who have lost weight recently, and proteins levels will be checked to see if there is any component of malnutrition which may impede wound healing.
For those who smoke or ingest any nicotine products in any form, they must stop all consumption for at least four weeks prior to surgery.

Are there results permanent?

For the most part, the results will last indefinitely. The tissues will be tightened as much as they can safely be tightened to produce the optimal contour while allowing the incisions to heal. Incisions that are too tight will not heal well. After the body heals completely from surgery, some laxity can redevelop over time. The amount of laxity will depend mainly on the elastic properties of the skin. To some degree, this can be predicted pre-operatively. Any laxity that does develop will generally be minimal in nature, and is most often seen in the love handle area. Less than 25 percent of the time, this recurring skin laxity may require a touch-up surgery to re-tighten. When it is re-tightened, the procedure is much less extensive than the original operation.

How long is the surgery?

Because the body lift combines abdominoplasty, and skin resection of the flank and back, the operation can last six hours or more if it is performed in one surgery.

Can body lift surgery be performed in more than one stage?

Yes. In fact, when a man or woman is a candidate for body lift surgery, they are usually a candidate for other skin tightening procedures such as an arm lift or brachioplasty, chest wall tightening, a breast lift, gynecomastia, and a thigh lift. The combination of these procedures will depend on patient priorities and safety by keeping the operating room time down to one that is safe for the patient. Thus, stages of body lifts can be performed. In some cases for example, it makes sense to address the abdomen and inner thighs together since it won’t require patient re-positioning, which adds extra time to the surgery.

How much pain is involved in body lift surgery?

There will be an incision around the entire body. Incisional pain is usually tolerable with oral medications. After three days, the pain will subside significantly. If an abdominoplasty includes muscle wall tightening, then this part of the procedure will probably be the most uncomfortable but can be managed well with oral narcotics.

Will I be bedridden after surgery?

There is no reason why one should be confined to a bed after this type of surgery. Yes, it is extensive. But, the pain should not exceed any level that cannot be handled with oral narcotics. One should make every effort to be out of bed the following morning. Ambulating after this type of surgery is very important. It will expedite recovery and reduce post-operative risks of clot formation.

What is the downtime?

Downtime can mean a lot of different things to people. You won’t want to go out to dinner the following night after body lift surgery. However, it should not interfere with eating, ambulating, voiding, and other routine tasks. Most people will not want to return to work for at least five days. Often, a week is sufficient to return to a job that requires substantial standing.

How long will it take to see results after a body lift?

Results will be seen immediately. A lot of tissue will be excised during surgery. Swelling (edema) will set in rather quickly, but even amid the added water volume from swelling, improved contour will be apparent the following day. Swelling will continue to subside over the course of weeks to months. Some skin laxity may return after a few months, but this is usually minimal in nature.

What else should I know about body lift surgery?

Suction drains are placed in the abdomen and will stay in place for about a week or so. These drains will remove fluid that would otherwise collect between the muscle and skin of the abdomen, potentially leading to seroma formation (which my require drainage in the office) and infection.
One will also need to wear a surgical garment for four weeks at all times except when bathing. Garments will help reduce the chance of fluid formation (seroma) that may require another office procedure, help shape the body and reduce swelling.
If you have lost a significant amount of weight but have been unhappy with your appearance due to loose folds of skin, a body lift is often the next step in the weight loss adventure. Contact Artisan of Beauty at 310‑858‑8811 to schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Neavin and find out if body lift surgery is right for you.

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