What is the Typical Recovery from a Lower Body Lift?

I'm considering whether to get a tummy tuck or body lift and maybe some skin reduction on thighs if possible. I am currently a 157lb., 6'1", 27-year-old male, and I have lost ~100-110 lbs. over the past two years. I have some excess skin that has not responded to weight loss. It's worst in the abdomen/butt/thighs (mostly on the sides of the body). My major concerns are recovery time and danger of complications from the operation (is a body lift significantly more dangerous than a tummy tuck)? I wouldn't be able to miss more than 2 weeks of work. Thanks.

Doctor Answers 23

Recovery from Body Lift is More Demanding than an Abdominoplasty Alone

The lower body lift tightens the buttocks and back of the thighs, hips and outer thighs, and abdomen and inner thighs by removing a band of tissue circumferentially from the spine in back to the abdomen in front.

This limits bending forward, bending backwards, and bending side to side. Frequently, 6 to 7 drains are placed under the skin to remove serum fluid, which may build up and stretch the skin. Sitting, lying, and transferring from one position to another is limited by the incision placement and the presence of drains.

We advise our patients to set aside 4 to 6 weeks to heal, depending upon how physical a job they do. Drains may take 2 to 4 weeks for removal. Sutures may be removed 2 to 3 weeks after surgery. Wound separations may occur, delaying wound healing (but rarely requiring further surgery).

I think that 2 weeks is far too optimistic a time frame to anticipate being back to work after a body lift. Even an abdominoplasty alone would require more than 2 weeks for healing in a physical job. We would not consider a bodylift to be much more dangerous than an abdominoplasty, but you should realize that the much longer bodylift incison is at higher risk for delayed wound healing issues and for seroma formation.

Deciding whether to go with an abdominoplasty or body lift really depends upon the amount of extra thigh skin and its looseness. This is not easily assessed in the enclosed picture. I would advise that see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with extensive experience in body contouring for massive weight loss patients (especially body lifts) for an in person consultation to determine which option is best for you.

Good Luck!

Ann Arbor Plastic Surgeon

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Lower Body Lift Recovery

Congratulations on your weight loss! In my practice, we consult with many patients who have experienced massive weight loss. It is very important to be at your goal weight for several months before your procedure to achieve the optimal results. Your excess skin can be removed through body contouring; specifically a circumferential body lift procedure. I advise consulting with a board-certified plastic surgeon who can determine if you are a candidate for surgery. Recovery is different for everybody, that being said, you may feel well enough to return to work two weeks post-surgery. I provide specific post-operative instructions which include wound care, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and refraining from strenuous activity for the duration of your recovery. Depending on your line of work, you may be able to return to a desk job at two weeks, but you will not be able to do any heavy lifting or anything that increases your heartrate.

Brian Coan, MD
Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews


Congratulations on your successful weight loss.  You now face the challenging process of getting rid of the stubborn excess sagging skin.  In my experience, most massive weight loss patients benefit the most from a lower body lift as it addresses the abdomen, the buttocks, and the outer thighs during the same operative session.  It is almost impossible to say definitively that you would be able to return to work two weeks after any surgery let alone an extensive procedure like a body lift.  Your recovery will take as long as it takes and every person recovers differently.  For my tummy tuck patients I recommend they take off at least two weeks after surgery.  For my body lift patients I recommend they take off at least three weeks.  After surgery the goal is to make sure that you are relaxed and focused on your recovery and not stressed.  High levels of stress and anxiety could have a negative effect on your recovery and extend the time you need to recuperate.Any surgical procedure comes with its own risks and complications.  The body lift could be perceived as more “dangerous” because the total operation time is significantly longer than for a tummy tuck by itself.  The longer a patient is under anesthesia the higher the risk of anesthesia related complications.  I recommend researching for a board certified plastic surgeon that has experience in working with massive weight loss patients like you.  During the consultation process your board certified plastic surgeon will design a surgical plan that specifically addresses your needs and concerns.  Remember, a good candidate for cosmetic surgery is healthy both physically and mentally and also has realistic expectations about the procedure, the recovery period, and the final result.

Be well and good luck!


Tummy tuck body lift

The recovery will be directly related to the amount of tissue to be removed, the pre-operative condition that the patient has before surgery and the blood  loss during surgery this conbination will give you the answer.  After reviweing your pictures you will recovery for your ordinary activities  if everything goes well in aproximatly 3 weeks after surgery

Body Lift Recovery

If your general health and fitness level are good, it is possible that you will be able to return to work during your second post-operative week, depending on your job description from a body lift.  It is recommended that you not lift more than ten pounds for a few weeks. Furthermore, another requirement for returning to work is that you are no longer taking narcotic pain relievers.  Whether you would benefit most from a tummy tuck or a body lift would be determined at your consultation with your plastic surgeon. 

Body Lift

Dear Engineer 506:

Congratulations on your significant weight loss. You, like many others, have developed excess skin and fat of the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs. Since these are the areas you mentioned that are worst, I would suggest a body lift or a 360 body lift. This would address the abdomen, buttocks and thighs with the same surgery. If you undergo a tummy tuck, only your abdomen would be addressed.

The recovery time after a body lift takes approximately 2 to 3 weeks. The surgery is done under general anesthesia and takes approximately 6 to 8 hours. There can always be complications with whatever surgery is done. The risks with a body lift are slightly higher than with a tummy tuck but not significantly. The 360 Body Lift surgeries do take longer and the incision is longer. Therefore, the risks of wound breakdown and wound complications are slightly higher.

Approximately 80% of my patients are able to return to work two weeks after their body lift. I am assuming that your job as an engineer is mostly a desk job and does not entail a significant amount of lifting.

Please visit my website for more pictures on 360 body lifts.

Thank you and good luck.

J. Timothy Katzen, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Recovery From a Lower Body Lift

Some people would recover from a lower body lift and be able to return to work in two weeks, but for many that would be cutting it too short.  Being in good aerobic conditioning and having good nutritional status after weight loss can make recovery easier.  Having good personal support and a relatively stress free time period can also enhace recovery.   Most people experience fatigue for 4-6 weeks after the surgery even though they nay be able to perform well in a desk job much earlier.  It is best to give yourself adequate time to recover to get the full benefit of this life changing surgery. 

Mary Lee Peters, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Body lifting recovery

Thank you for your question.

A lower body lift is a large surgery and would require more than 2 weeks off of work (In my opinion).  It would be best to visit with an experienced board certified plastic surgeon who has experience with weight loss patients to get the best advice.  It is best to schedule surgery when you have time off for proper recovery, otherwise you may cause unwanted post operative complications.

Best Wishes!

Lower body lift recovery time.

Thank you for your photos.  It appears you have a relatively small amount of skin which actually hangs although the skin may be loose in other areas.  If you are concerned about the loose/hanging skin of your abdomen, sides and the buttock area then a lower body lift, which lifts and rejuvenates the entire trunk would give you the best result.  I routinely do this as a single operation in approximately 4 hours.  There is one night in the hospital and recovery is 2 - 4 weeks.  Recovery is longer for the lower body lift vs the tummy tuck as the surgery is more extensive, but the overall correction of the trunk is better with the lower body lift.  If you work at a desk then returning to work in 2 weeks should be possible.  Complication rates are low if proper pre operative and post operative instructions, especially about walking, are followed.

Lower body lift

The surgery to perform a circumferential procedure usually takes me between 4-5 hours.  The recovery time for the patient is usually about 1-2 weeks. The drains may stay in as long as 3 weeks and come out in as little as 1 week on average.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.