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Body Contouring Options After Weight Loss in Birmingham, Alabama

Body Contouring and Body Lift Surgeries to Highlight Weight Loss Results

If you have successfully lost a significant amount of weight, whether by dieting and exercise or by weight loss surgery, congratulations! Your new, decreased weight will reward you for years to come with better health.

Many people who have lost 50 lb. or more find that, after the fat is gone, they are left with lots of sagging skin especially on their breasts, abdomen, thighs and arms. Modern body contouring techniques as performed by Dr. Eich in our Birmingham cosmetic plastic surgery suite can address these issues, allowing you to fully enjoy the lifestyle your more healthy weight allows.

Types of Body Contouring Surgery

Body contouring surgery is accomplished by a combination of various specific procedures designed to meet the needs of each individual.

  • Face lift, or neck lift
  • Tummy Tuck, or abdominoplasty
  • Buttock Lift
  • Belt Lipectomy
  • Lower Body Lift
  • Total Body Lift, or complete body lift
  • Thigh Lift, also known as thighplasty
  • Arm Lift, or brachioplasty
  • Breast lift or mastopexy
  • Liposuction

After significant weight loss, many areas of the body can benefit from body contouring surgery. Some patients may only require treatment of one or two problem areas, but others may need treatment of nearly the whole body including the face, neck, breasts, abdomen, buttocks, thighs and arms. In all cases of body contouring, a careful incision is made, excess tissue is removed, and the incision is closed. Remaining pockets of fat may be treated with liposuction to create a smoother result. Body contouring usually averages about two hours, depending on which procedures are performed.

Ideal Candidates for Body Contouring Cosmetic Surgery

Healthy men and women whose weight has stabilized are good candidates for body contouring.

If you have had a gastric restrictive procedure such as gastric bypass or Lap-Band, you generally should wait until at least one year after weight loss surgery. This way common health problems associated with obesity have had time to ameliorate and you are in your best physical condition for undergoing surgery and recovery.

We advise all our weight loss patients to get a complete physical with their primary physician before surgery, so that you are as healthy as possible before the procedure.

Although any part of the body can have excess skin after weight loss, the abdomen is the most commonly affected area. Excess abdominal tissue that hangs down over the pubis is called a panniculus. If the panniculus is large enough, insurance will sometimes cover a panniculectomy to remove it. It is important to realize that a panniculectomy is not a cosmetic abdominoplasty, however, because a cosmetic abdominoplasty also includes liposuction and muscle tightening that insurance does not cover.

Buttock Lift and Belt Lipectomy
Buttock lift removes the excess tissue of the lower back and the buttocks. When both a buttock lift and a panniculectomy are needed, it is better to perform them at the same time whenever possible. The combined procedure is called a belt lipectomy because it removes a circumferential belt of skin and fat from your body.

Lower Body Lifts and Total Body Lifts

A lower body lift is a combined belt lipectomy and thigh lift. Because the belt lipectomy and thigh lift are both large operations, it is usually best not to perform them at the same time. If a patient needs both, for technical reasons the panniculectomy or belt lipectomy should usually be done before the thigh lift.

The final decision will be made based on your particular needs, both medical and practical and will be made during your body contouring consultation with Dr. Eich.

Total Body Lift
A total body lift includes a lower body lift as well as a breast lift and possibly treatment of the upper back. A total body lift is usually performed in multiple operations.

Contouring the Thighs aka the Thigh Lift

Excess tissue on the thighs can often be removed by a thigh lift. If there is a significant amount of fatty tissue on the thighs, then liposuction is usually needed to improve the outcome. The scars from thigh lift will depend on the amount of tissue being removed. If the excess tissue involves only the upper third of the thighs, then the scar runs in the crease between the groin and thigh. Removing excess tissue in the bottom two thirds of the thigh will also require a vertical scar in the medial thigh.
As with the other procedures performed in Dr. Eich’s onsite surgical suite in his Birmingham office, thigh lift procedures require general anesthesia.

Arm Lift

If you are troubled with flabby upper arms, an arm lift (also called a brachioplasty) may be right for you. An arm lift is performed either after significant weight loss or to address normal aging of the upper arm. It eliminates the sagging skin underneath the upper arm area. Keep in mind, however, that the sagging will be replaced with a long scar that extends from elbow to armpit and although this scar, like any scar, will fade over time, it will always be somewhat visible.

Breast Lift, Augmentation or Reduction
Most women who have lost a significant amount of weight experience drooping of the breasts. If the breasts are large enough to cause certain symptoms, sometimes insurance will cover a breast reduction. Occasionally the breasts may be just the right size, but they sag; in that case a mastopexy (breast lift) would be performed. If the breasts are too small, then they can be lifted with mastopexy and enlarged with implants.

Face and Neck Lift
Sometimes weight loss leads to droop of the tissues of the face and neck. This can be treated with face lift or neck lift to tighten the loose support structures of the face and neck and to remove the excess skin.

Recovery from Body Contouring Surgery

What to expect

The procedures are usually performed under general anesthesia in Dr. Eich’s accredited plastic surgery suite in Birmingham, Alabama.
The duration of the surgery depends on the specific procedures being performed, but in general ranges from about 45 minutes for breast augmentation to 3.5 hours for belt lipectomy. The specifics vary for each procedure; however all follow the same general course. The procedure begins with incisions made in the area being treated, then tissue is removed, and the incisions are closed. Dressings are applied, and the patient is awakened.


Individual patient recovery will be affected by the details of the procedure.  In general, the discomfort is most noticeable for the first three days; by two weeks, most people feel much better although they may still be sore. This timeframe is longer for thigh lifts. Most of the swelling is gone at six weeks, but it can take up to six months for all of the swelling to resolve. You may shower as usual after surgery, but you must avoid getting into standing water such as a bath or pool. Recovery requires that you wear a special compression garment on the surgical site and avoid heavy lifting or exercise for approximately six weeks.

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