After significant weight loss, an upper body lift can remove excess skin folds and rolls on the upper back and under the arms.
Loose and excess skin can be a significant problem in many areas of the body after weight loss following bariatric surgery or diet and exercise — an upper body lift is designed to fix this.
The extent and location of extra skin varies depending on a number of factors, like your body shape or how much weight you have lost. Some people end up with skin folds and rolls on the upper back, under the arms, and the side of the chest. This can cause a number of problems and make bras and clothing uncomfortable or difficult to wear.
An upper body lift can have dramatic results and make a huge difference in how your clothes fit and how you feel about your body.
As a form of body contouring surgery, an upper body lift requires incisions in order to remove excess skin. Dr Lim will do his best to ensure the scars can be hidden in the armpit region or under the bra line. Upper body lift scars usually fade quite well over time.
The length and pattern of the incision will depend on how much skin is being removed — this will be discussed during the consultation process with Dr Lim.
Upper body lift surgery may take a few hours and is performed under general anaesthetic in an accredited hospital. You will be required to stay in hospital for one to two days following your surgery.
You may be provided with a supportive garment that will help decrease the bruising and swelling, which must be worn for a few weeks after the surgery. Dr Lim will review you post-operatively and will prescribe analgesia and antibiotics for you to continue at home.
My Klinik staff will stay in touch with you after the procedure, monitor your progress and answer any questions or concerns as they arise. You’ll have reviews with Dr Lim one week, one month and three months after surgery.
Our goal is to make your experience as easy and comfortable as possible — Dr Lim and the My Klinik staff are always willing to answer any questions you may have.
Upper Body Lift
Before & After
Actual patient images are © property of Dr Jake Lim. This gallery contains images of actual patients of Dr Lim. All photographs represent the individual patient’s experience and there is no guarantee that any other patient will experience similar results.
Pre and Post-Operative Care
- You must fast prior to your procedure — do not eat, drink (even water) or chew anything for at least six hours before your procedure. The hospital will ring you the day before your procedure to confirm your admission time.
- If you have a gastric band or sleeve, you will need to have a fluid diet the day before your surgery and fast for at least eight hours on the day of your procedure.
- Notify Dr Lim of any medications that you are currently taking.
- Do not take any medication that contains aspirin, or any anti-inflammatory or herbal medication for two weeks before your procedure. Aspirin thins the blood, which can result in unnecessary blood loss during your procedure.
- Do not smoke for eight weeks before and eight weeks after your procedure. Smoking decreases blood flow to the skin and may delay the healing process or result in tissue loss and unfavourable scars.
- Do not drink any alcohol for two days before your procedure as it can interfere with the anaesthetic you will be given on the day.
- Vitamin C may help reduce your healing time and is recommended for two weeks before and two weeks after surgery.
- Do not wear any nail polish, make-up or jewellery to the hospital and leave any valuables at home.
- It is recommended that you take something loose and comfortable, like a tracksuit, to wear home from the hospital. This will prevent pressure on your wound as it will still be tender.
- Dr Lim will normally visit you in the hospital the morning after your procedure.
- General anaesthetic can take a few days to recover from — it can be quite normal to feel a little slow or out of sorts for a few days.
- When you wake up you may have firm strapping and a binder around your incision sites. In some cases, you may also have drains. If so, the drains will be removed after a day or two when the amount of drainage fluid has reduced. Dr Lim will instruct the nursing staff on this. You will be discharged once you are feeling well and your drains have been removed.
- You may need to wear a compression garment day and night for up to three weeks — Dr Lim will advise you on this in more detail.
- While you are in hospital you will be given medication for the pain. The amount of pain you feel after the operation varies from person to person. If you are concerned about the amount of pain you are in, or you feel you cannot control the pain, you should inform the nursing staff while in hospital, or call My Klinik if you are at home.
- It is crucial that you finish the course of antibiotics you are prescribed.
- While in hospital and at home, you will need to keep your bowels regular. This may involve taking an aperient prescribed by Dr Lim and drinking lots of water. Prune juice can assist as well. If you have any trouble, please do not try and strain — inform the nursing staff and medication can be given to assist you.
- Avoid over exertion and activity for the first six weeks. Take care not to bump, strain or place any pressure on your surgical area. This includes lifting small children.
- Prevent the formation of blood clots in your legs with frequent gentle walks and mild foot and leg exercises. You will be given small injections to assist with this while you are in hospital. Leg compression stockings should be worn till you are fully mobile.
- The area around your surgical sites may feel quite unusual. It may feel tight and there may be reduced sensitivity in those areas for the first few weeks.
- Healing time is individual to each person. We recommend that you have three weeks off work and avoid driving during this time — most people feel well recovered after three to six weeks.
- Dr Lim will remove any remaining sutures at your one-week post-op checkup.
- Do not smoke during your recovery period as this may slow the healing process and affect wound healing.
- Contact the rooms if any of the following develop:
- A temperature higher than 38°C or chills
- Heavy bleeding from the excision line or drain sites
- Severe sudden pain or tenderness
- Redness around the incisions that is spreading
- Pain, tenderness or swelling around your calves.
- My Klinik nursing staff will contact you to make sure that you are feeling comfortable and to confirm your one-week post-op checkup with Dr Lim.
- Dr Lim and the nursing staff are available to you as you recover — should you have any concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact My Klinik. For after-hours concerns, please contact the hospital where you had your surgery and they will be able to contact Dr Lim as required.
Upper Body Lift FAQs
You may be a good candidate for an upper body lift if you have one or more skin rolls on the upper back and side of the chest, very loose skin and minimal amounts of fat. Patients must understand that they will get a smoother and tighter appearance at the expense of a scar across the back or in the armpit region — this can often be covered with a bra.
Your chances of having a smooth recovery are high if your weight is stable, you don’t smoke and you maintain good nutrition.
Body contouring procedures, including upper body lifts, are often combined to reduce downtime and improve results. Upper body lifts may be combined with arm lifts, breast lifts, tummy tucks and thigh lifts. It is not usually combined with a lower body lift due to wound tension and healing issues.
Upper body lifts can also be performed as a stand-alone procedure if it is an isolated concern or to improve residual upper abdominal skin laxity (upper abdominal rolls) after a tummy tuck or a lower body lift.
Your first consultation with Dr Lim will take around 45 minutes and you are most welcome to bring a support person with you. Due to social distancing measures as a result of COVID-19, the support person may not be able to enter the rooms (depending on the number of persons in the rooms at that particular time).
Dr Lim will take the time to discuss the procedure with you, and any other issues related to the appearance of your body that you feel are important to you. This will help Dr Lim understand your expectations and determine if they are achievable.
Dr Lim will explain the risks of surgery and discuss the methods of the body contouring surgery with you. Your body will be assessed, and a few measurements and photographs will be taken to plan the procedure.
You do not have to make the decision to proceed with the surgery at this initial consultation. You will be given a written quotation and information to take home to read.
Dr Lim will examine your body and assess the extent and location of the excess skin (based on what you consider to be problematic), your general health status, and your dedication to proper diet and exercise.
Please come to the consultation prepared to discuss your medical history. This will include information about any medical conditions you have, medications you are currently taking, allergies you have, other medical treatments you have received and any previous surgery you have had. You will also be asked whether you have suffered from any of the following:
- Prolonged bleeding or excessive bruising when injured
- Long term or recent illnesses
- Psychological or psychiatric illnesses
- Blood clots.
If you are planning to lose more weight, you will need to discuss this with Dr Lim. He may recommend that you stabilise your weight before undergoing surgery. You should also mention if you think you might want to become pregnant in the future.
A second consultation, at no extra cost, is usually required if you wish to proceed with surgery.
Avoid products that contain aspirin, vitamin E, glucosamine, fish oil and krill oil for four weeks before surgery. We also strongly recommend avoiding alcohol, and not smoking for eight weeks before and after surgery. Smoking can negatively affect the healing process.
In some cases, Dr Lim may recommend that you have blood tests or a scan to check for blood clots.
We want to make this experience as easy as possible — you will be given all pre-operative instructions prior to your procedure but please don’t hesitate to call My Klinik if you have any questions or concerns before your surgery.
Dr Lim performs all surgeries at fully accredited hospitals — Lakeview Private Hospital and Westmead Private Hospital. Body contouring surgery is performed under general anaesthetic and you can expect to be in hospital for a few days.
Please contact the hospital a day before surgery to confirm your admission and fasting time. On entering the hospital, you need to report to the admissions desk and the staff will direct you through the admission process. Dr Lim and the anaesthetist will both see you prior to surgery and Dr Lim will make some markings on your body.
After the procedure, you will spend some time in the recovery room where you will be closely monitored until you are fully awake and returned to your room. Dr Lim will visit you in hospital the morning after your surgery.
You will have firm bandages around your abdomen, and there will be one or two surgical drains coming out of the surgical sites to drain away any fluid that may accumulate after surgery. You will have calf compressors (inflatable devices) and TED or compression stockings on both legs, as well as anticoagulant injections to reduce the risk of blood clots/deep vein thrombosis. You will have a drip in your arm and be connected to a machine to give you pain relief, fluids and medication.
As there is no muscle tightening, recovery times from an upper body lift are a lot shorter than that of a lower body lift or tummy tuck. Most patients bounce back much faster than anticipated — two weeks is the average recovery time for this procedure.
While returning to full activities and exercise make take longer, most patients return to light activities at home and at work within seven to ten days. Dr Lim will discuss your individual situation with you before and after your surgery.
I understand that all surgical procedures have risks involved; how do I find the information to make an informed decision?
We endeavour to make sure our patients are as informed as possible. While some of the potential risks seem frightening, it is important for you to be aware that they can occur. During consultation, Dr Lim will take you through the risks involved and the potential complications.
Some of the possible complications are:
- Unfavourable or unsightly scarring
- Keloids and hypertrophic (or raised) scars
- The final body shape may not be what the patient expected and may require further procedures
- Temporary numbness of the skin on the abdomen
- Sutured skin may not heal well, and a skin graft may be needed
- Constrained movements
- Fluid accumulation around the incision sites
- Poor wound healing
- Fat necrosis
- In rare cases, patients may require a blood transfusion.
Dr Lim will monitor your progress carefully and our staff will stay in contact with you during the post-operative period. You will be seen at frequent intervals over the first six months. Your relationship with Dr Lim and the nursing staff does not end once you have had the procedure.
If you have any questions or concerns after your operation, you are always welcome to call My Klinik.
Want to know more?
Due to Australian medical guidelines we are unable to publish reviews and testimonials on our website. This is to ensure any opinions or information you read comes from an unbiased and unedited source. Though this is the case, we understand that reviews and testimonials are a very important part of your decision-making process when selecting a specialist plastic surgeon. You can find some of Dr Lim’s reviews online.