About Our Body Lift Procedure

A body lift procedure (also known as a lipectomy) addresses a serious problem created by major weight loss – with significant weight loss over a relatively short period of time, the remaining skin doesn’t always retain the elastic qualities needed to shrink back to a patient’s new, smaller shape. This often leaves patients with excessive amounts of hanging skin, which can be corrected with a body lift procedure. A circumferential body lift is a surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fatty tissue from the middle and lower abdomen and to tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall. Body lift results can be very, very dramatic, and the scar is hidden in the underwear area. A body lift is a major procedure and therefore it is done in a hospital.

The circumferential body lift is not a surgical treatment for being overweight. Obese individuals who intend to lose weight should postpone all forms of body contouring surgery, including body lift, until they have been able to maintain their weight loss.

The Chau Plastic Surgery Difference

Here at Chau Plastic Surgery in Berkeley, Michigan, we take our time in assessing your needs and utilize our extensive experience and training to determine the best approach for your next body lift. Our surgeons are confident that we can give you the look that best balances your desired appearance and your overall health.

To get a consultation or to ask us a question about our body lift procedures, give us a call at 248-799-2880 or schedule an appointment today!

Body Lift (Belt Lipectomy) in Metro Detroit

A Body Lift (aka Lipectomy) is the term used when referring to a series of plastic surgery procedures designed to address the excess skin and residual fat following dramatic weight loss. A Lipectomy essentially transforms the body so the patient can fully enjoy his or her amazing weight loss accomplishment. While a Lipectomy is an extremely popular procedure following substantial weight loss, a Lipectomy can also address the lax skin that develops with age or due to a genetic predisposition. Individuals in Detroit who have lost a massive amount of weight, or who have lax skin due to age or genetics, are choosing the experienced, board-certified plastic surgeons from Chau Plastic Surgery to perform their Body Lift procedures.

What is a Detroit Body Lift?

With a Full Lipectomy, a plastic surgeon from Chau Plastic Surgery can use the contouring skills that have been gained through years of experience to completely rejuvenate the patient’s body. A Full Lipectomy targets the mid-lower area.

Areas frequently treated during a Full Lipectomy include the abdomen, the buttocks, the mid to lower back and the hips. The surgeons at Chau Plastic Surgery use their artistic vision and extensive experience with body contouring to customize each patient’s Lipectomy plan.

What is a Lower Body Lift?

A Lower Body Lift, which is also referred to as a Belt Lipectomy, Circumferential Body Lift, 360 Body Lift or a 360 Tummy Tuck, addresses issues related to the hips, abdomen, thighs and buttocks.

Many patients have loose skin around the hips, stomach, thighs and buttocks. Whereas, a Full Lipectomy is typically performed in stages, a Belt Lipectomy is a single surgical procedure that is designed to remove excess skin, and then tighten the skin, and tissues that remain in these specific areas. By tightening the supportive soft tissue, the amount of cellulite decreases, which helps the body appear rejuvenated.

The Difference Between a Tummy Tuck and a Belt Lipectomy

A Traditional Tummy Tuck focuses on the patient’s abdominal area, whereas, a Lower Body Lift addresses the abdominal area, buttocks and thighs, Therefore, a Belt Lipectomy provides the patient with more comprehensive results than can be accomplished with just a Tummy Tuck.

The Butt Lift and Thigh Lift help reduce the amount of cellulite and sagging skin there is in these treatment areas. The surgeon can address issues related to the inner, outer and posterior thigh during a Belt Lipectomy as well.

Experience is key when performing a Lipectomy because the surgeon needs to follow the contours of the patient’s body.

The Full Body Lift Procedure Options Available at Chau Plastic Surgery Near Detroit

A Full Lipectomy includes a variety of procedures. For the safety of the patient, these procedures are performed in stages. Nonetheless, patients can safely have a couple of procedures during one surgical session.

Full Lipectomy procedure options include:

  • A Traditional or Mini Tummy Tuck.
  • A Panniculectomy.
  • A Brachioplasty (aka Arm Lift).
  • A Thigh Lift.
  • A Butt Lift.
  • A Breast Lift (aka Mastopexy).
  • Liposuction.
  • A Male Breast Reduction for the treatment of Gynecomastia.
  • Reduction of the chest wall.

Certain procedures can be combined. For example, a patient may have a Tummy Tuck, Thigh Lift and a Butt Lift during one surgical session.

Some of these surgeries may be covered by health insurance; therefore, patients should contact their insurance carrier to find out before they schedule any procedures. Ideally, even before the initial consultation.

Combining Full Body Lift Procedures at Chau Plastic Surgery

Having all the Full Lipectomy procedures during a single surgical session is dangerous, which is why Chau Plastic Surgery’s plastic surgeons divide a patient’s procedures into several surgical sessions.

Having a couple procedures during the same surgical session means one recovery period instead of two. For example, a Breast Lift and Tummy Tuck may be performed during the same surgical session. Granted, the recovery for combined procedures may initially be more difficult than that which is experienced when just one procedure is performed, however, combined surgeries means that the patient will reach his or her goal sooner and will make fewer trips to the hospital.

What Are the Benefits of a Full Body Lift?

A Full Lipectomy flattens the abdomen, elevates the buttocks and thighs, and contours the hips. Moreover, a woman may want a breast lift and a man may have breast reduction surgery (to address Gynecomastia) as part of a Full Lipectomy. This procedure also helps improve the appearance of cellulite and wrinkles in the treatment areas.

All Surgical Procedures Are Performed at a Hospital Near Detroit

Each group of procedures performed as part of a Full Body Lift and the single procedure performed for a Belt Lipectomy take place at a hospital.

Anesthesia is used. The types of anesthesia used during these procedures include General Anesthesia and IV Sedation. Usually, IV Sedation is preferred because patients wake up much quicker and experience fewer side effects than what is experienced with General Anesthesia.

Ultimately, it is the surgeon who determines which anesthesia will serve the patient best. The surgeon makes this decision based on the patient’s unique situation.

A Detroit Body Lift takes from five to six hours.


During pre-op, the surgeon may visit the patient to answer any last-minute questions he or she has. In addition, markings may be made on the areas of the body being treated. These markings are created with a surgical marker. The surgeon uses these markings as a guide during surgery.

Benefits and surgical overview of each Full Lipectomy procedure option:

A Traditional Tummy Tuck

With the removal of excess skin and fat, an Abdominoplasty resets the anatomy and the balance of the patient’s abdomen.

During a Tummy Tuck, the surgeon can also address a separated abdominal muscle. Most women who have carried a baby to term have a separated abdominal muscle.

After this Body Lift procedure, the patient has a flatter, smoother-looking abdomen.

While performing a Traditional Tummy Tuck, the plastic surgeon creates an incision from one hip to the next. To ensure the resulting scar remains well hidden, the surgeon makes this incision along the patient’s bikini line.

The surgeon is able to bring the separated abdominal muscle back together and tighten it through this incision. The muscle is tightened with permanent stitches.

Liposuction may be used to remove any resistant fat that remains in the abdominal area.

The surgeon pulls the patient’s skin downward and then removes the excess. Once the excess skin is removed, any stretch marks the patient had on the areas that the surgeon removes are gone as well.

During this Full Body Lift procedure, Liposuction may also be used to shape the patient’s waist.

Drains may be placed. These drains help by providing an area for the excess fluid to exit the body, which prevents it from accumulating at the surgical site. By decreasing fluid buildup, the amount of pain a patient experiences is reduced.

The incisions are closed using absorbable sutures.

The sutures may be covered with skin adhesive and tape.

A compression garment is placed over the abdominal area.

A Mini Tummy Tuck (aka Mini Abdominoplasty)

A Mini Tummy Tuck’s incision is shorter than the Traditional Tummy Tuck’s incision is. The Mini Tummy Tuck’s incision is created above the patient’s pelvic bone.

Through this incision, the surgeon removes any excess tissue located beneath the navel and tightens the lower abdominal muscles.

A Breast Lift

During the Breast Lift procedure, the surgeon moves the breast mounds to a location that is higher on the chest.

Each nipple-areola complex remains attached as it is moved to the corresponding breast mound. In addition, if these complexes have stretched and appear too large, the surgeon reduces their size before moving them up to the breast mounds.

After this Full Body Lift procedure, the patient’s breasts no longer sag and her nipple-areola complexes are proportional to the size of the breasts.

A Panniculectomy

The Panniculectomy procedure is very similar to a Tummy Tuck. It is designed for individuals who have excess skin that hangs beneath the abdomen. The term frequently used to describe this excess skin is “apron”. The only difference between the Tummy Tuck and Panniculectomy is that the abdominal muscle is not tightened or pulled together during a Panniculectomy.

Under certain circumstances, this procedure could be considered a medical necessity. And if this procedure is deemed medically necessary, a patient’s health insurance should cover it.

One of the issues that could lead to a Panniculectomy being considered medically necessary is the patient consistently developing ulcers and rashes on the areas of skin that are continuously touching.

An Arm Lift

This procedure is performed as part of a Full Body Lift when an individual has excess skin on the underside of the upper arm. Patients choosing this procedure usually have skin that moves forward and backward while waving.

The surgeon creates an incision along the underside of the arm. Then, excess tissue and skin is removed.

The edges of the skin are pulled together and the skin can be closed with sutures, skin adhesive and tape.

Gynecomastia Treatment

A Male Breast Reduction is designed for patients who have a condition called Gynecomastia. This condition can be caused by a hormonal imbalance, weight gain and as a side effect of certain medications.

When an individual has a mild case of Gynecomastia, Liposuction may be used to remove the excess tissue and fat. However, if an individual has a more severe case of Gynecomastia, the plastic surgeon may need to create an incision near the nipple-areola complex. Using this incision, the surgeon removes glandular tissue, fat and excess skin.

If necessary, the surgeon moves the nipple to a more masculine position on the patient’s chest.

The skin is tightened and the incision is closed.

Chest Wall Reduction

During a Male Breast Reduction procedure, the plastic surgeon may use Liposuction to contour the armpit area and the chest wall.

A Belt Lipectomy

A Lower Body Lift can be performed alone or as part of a Full Lipectomy.

An incision is created across the area beneath the navel and wraps around the patient’s body to the buttocks.

Another incision is created along the bikini line, once again wrapping around to the other side.

The surgeon can now remove this apron of excess skin. Residual fat may be removed via liposuction.

Once the apron of skin is removed, the plastic surgeon will tighten and reposition the tissues. This is accomplished with permanent sutures.

The edges of the skin are pulled together and closed using skin glue, sutures, clips or surgical tape.

What Causes the Cellulite and Other Skin Irregularities That a Body Lift Addresses?

Typically, when the soft tissue of the abdominal wall is lax and redundant, the soft tissue and skin of the buttocks, and thighs is as well. It is the sagging of the thighs, flanks and buttocks that distort the body’s contour. Furthermore, the sagging creates the cellulite and skin irregularities seen in these areas.

Determining if a Patient is a Good Candidate for a Body Lift Near Detroit

There are several signs and symptoms that help with determining whether a patient is a good candidate for a Lipectomy. During the patient’s Chau Plastic Surgery initial consultation, the plastic surgeon evaluates the patient to determine his or her candidacy for a Lipectomy.

Signs and symptoms that usually indicate a patient may benefit from a Body Lift:

Loose skin around the outer thighs, buttocks and abdomen:

  • This sign could result from pregnancy, the natural aging process or substantial weight loss.
  • Body contours that have been changed due to significant weight loss. This weight loss can be due to Gastric Bypass Surgery or as a result of following a diet and exercise program.

Separation of the abdominal muscle:

  • When the abdominal muscle separates, the only way to fix it is with surgical intervention. During a Tummy Tuck near Detroit, the abdominal muscle is brought back together and tightened with permanent sutures.

Excess fat tissue:

If a patient has residual fat deposits in at least one of the areas below, he or she may be a good candidate for a Body Lift:

  • Abdomen.
  • Hips.
  • Outer thighs.
  • Posterior Buttocks.

Good Candidates for a Lipectomy

Individuals interested in having a Lipectomy need to remain at, or very near to, the same body weight for no less than six months.

He or she must have a substantial amount of excess skin on the thighs, buttocks and abdomen.

A female may have pendulous breasts that need to be lifted and a male may have Gynecomastia that needs to be addressed.

Other characteristics of a good candidate include, the patient:

  • Does not smoke.
  • Is in good overall health.
  • Can maintain a stable weight.
  • A female patient does not intend to become pregnant because she has completed her family.

Patients need to take approximately three weeks off work. In addition, if a patient has a small child or children to care for, assistance from an entrusted friend or family member is extremely beneficial during recovery.

Furthermore, patients who have small animals that roam about the house should also find someone that they trust completely to care for these animals at another location.

Pre-Op Requirements for a Body Lift with a Surgeon from Chau Plastic Surgery Near Detroit

The board-certified plastic surgeons from Chau Plastic Surgery in Berkley, Michigan, near Detroit, want each patient to attain optimal results. Therefore, in order to give the patient the best results possible, he or she has some presurgical requirements to meet.

Presurgical requirements include:

  • Patients who have had bariatric surgery are not considered eligible for a Lipectomy until they are at least 18 months post-op.
  • The patient’s BMI index must be below 35kg/m-2.
  • The patient must maintain a stable weight for at least six months.
  • If a patient smokes, he or she must stop smoking for at least four weeks before the surgery and four weeks after the surgical procedure. During this time, patients must also avoid second-hand smoke. In addition, smoking cessation products like nicotine patches, gum, etc., cannot be used because it is the nicotine that negatively the natural healing process. Patients who choose to continue smoking or using products that contain nicotine are more likely to experience a complication after surgery (e.g., an infection).
  • Within 30 days of the patient’s plastic surgery procedure, he or she needs to be medically cleared for surgery. To attain medical clearance, the patient needs to make an appointment with his or her general practitioner. The general practitioner should order a CBC and perform a history and physical exam.
  • Aspirin, multi-vitamins and herbal supplements have to be discontinued two weeks before the surgical procedure.
  • Patients need to schedule their pre-op appointment with the Chau Plastic Surgery surgeon performing their Body Lift.
  • During this appointment the patient is given the opportunity to review the post-op instructions. In addition, the patient is fitted for his or her compression garment. This garment will be used after surgery. Additionally, patients usually read and sign their Informed Consent document during this pre-op appointment. Patients should always feel free to ask questions.
  • Patients may receive a prescription for pain medication. This medication should be filled prior to the patient’s surgery date.
  • The night before the patient’s procedure he or she must have nothing by mouth after midnight.

What Patients Can Expect While Recovering from a Detroit Body Lift

After surgery patients receive a compression garment to wear. These garments help reduce inflammation and assist with reshaping the treatment areas.

The length of recovery depends on the procedures performed as well as the patient’s individual ability to heal.

Patients must avoid heavy lifting and exercising from four to six weeks.

The patient’s surgeon will manage his or her pain medication throughout recovery.

It is vital that patients who have a Belt Lipectomy or a Full Body Lift avoid performing activities that cause strain on the lower body.

Patients need to have someone help them around the house for a couple of weeks.

Since patients will not be able to drive for some time after their surgical procedures, patients should ask someone they trust to drive them to and from the post-op appointments with their surgeon.

Post-Operative Recovery:

  • From day one through 14, patients need to contact Chau Plastic Surgery at (248) 799-2880 if they have a fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit because a fever can indicate an infection.
  • For the first week, patients will remain on bed rest, only walking to the washroom and back. Drinking plenty of fluids during this time is essential.
  • During the first five days after surgery, patients will wear their compression garment continuously. This compression garment is a key component to the recovery process. By reducing inflammation, this garment also decreases pain. In addition, the compression garment helps the body maintain its new shape.
  • Patients are not permitted to shower or bathe until their surgeon removes the drains, pain pump (if applicable) and compression garment at their post-op visit. This post-op visit is usually set for day five or six. During this appointment, the compression garment is changed out as well. Following this appointment, patients are permitted to shower.
  • For the first 21 days, patients are not permitted to drive, cannot return to work and should avoid scheduling any planned activities.
  • At some point between day 22 and 28 patients can return to light work.
  • At six to eight weeks patients will usually be able to resume their normal activities.

The Results Achieved with a Body Lift Are Long Lasting

Once the inflammation diminishes, patients notice their new body shape and can now enjoy the benefits of losing a substantial amount of weight and having a Lipectomy.

To maintain their results, patients are encouraged to live a healthy lifestyle. As long as the patient avoids gaining a significant amount of weight, his or her results are long-lasting.

What Patients Need to Know About Lipectomy Scars

Patients should expect to have significant scarring following their Lipectomy procedures. These scars will initially be pink or dark tan.

During the first 12 months following these procedures, the scars will fade, however, they will always be somewhat visible. Protecting the scars from UV light for at least the first year is vital, otherwise, the scars can become more prevalent, permanently.

Potential Complications Following a Lipectomy

A Body Lift and Belt Lipectomy are extensive procedures. For this reason, choosing an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon is essential to attaining the best result and reducing the likelihood of experiencing a complication.

Potential complications include:

  • Bleeding.
  • Infection.
  • Skin tightness.
  • Scars that heal poorly.
  • Contouring irregularities.
  • Blood clot formation.
  • Hematoma development. A hematoma is caused by localized bleeding outside a blood vessel.
  • Fluid accumulation.
  • Loss of skin.
  • Poor wound healing.
  • Seroma development. A seroma is a collection of fluid that builds up beneath the surface of the skin.
  • The need for revision surgery.
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT is more of a concern when General Anesthesia is used.

How Much is a Detroit Body Lift and Would My Health Insurance Cover It?

Sometimes, a Panniculectomy will be covered by health insurance, however, for the most part, health insurance companies view the procedures performed during a Lipectomy as elective. Nonetheless, patients should always contact their insurance company to inquire.

The plastic surgeons at Chau Plastic Surgery have the skill, artistic vision and experience to provide patients with beautiful body-contouring results.

Scheduling an initial consultation with one of the plastic surgeons at Chau Plastic Surgery may be your next step toward attaining the well-toned look you desire. The extensive experience that these surgeons have with performing Body Lift procedures allows them to dramatically transform a patient’s body, thus, providing unparalleled results. To schedule an initial consultation call (248) 799-2880 or click here to access our online request form. The address of Chau Plastic Surgery is 27901 Woodward Avenue, Suite #100, Berkley, Michigan.


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