Can a Lower Body Lift or Breast Lift or Arm Lift LIFT Loose Back Skin? (photo)

I had a lot of fat on my back and have now lost 100 lbs. I see almost no information on getting rid of the loose draping skin on the back. This skin is unattractive, makes tops tighter, and flops up and down when I run. Is this skin taken up/in or pulled with a lower body lift, arm lift, or breast lift? I am meeting with my surgeon August 4 to discuss and I want to be prepared to talk about solutions. I also see very little in the way of pictures or information on the bra line incisions.

Doctor Answers 10


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There are two surgeries that can be done to eliminate the excess skin and fat in the bra strap region.  

The two surgeries that are typically performed include an incision that follows the bra strap line across the middle of your back.  This pulls the lower back skin up and removes excess hanging skin and fat. 

Another alternative is making an incision from the armpit down to the top of the hip and making two vertical incisions.  The benefit here is that theese incisions are typically hidden by your arms when they are down by your sides.


The benefit of the incision that goes across your back following the bra strap line is that it is a shorter incision and may be quicker to heal.  The difficulty with the bra strap incision line is that it is visible and would be visible if you are wearing a low back dress.  

Please see my website for more pictures on a bra strap lift or what I call a torsoplasty. 


Thank you,

J. Timothy Katzen, MD, FACS

Upper Back Laxity After Massive Weight Loss

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Dear 50sgir,

First, thanks for the photos which help us give you are better answer.  A lower body lift will help with the abdomen, the outer thighs, and the buttocks just as an arm lift will help with your arms but none of these procedures will help with the problems you are concerned about in your upper back.  This is due to the zones of adherence in our bodies which are areas where the skin and subcutaneous tissues are firmly attached to the underlying skeletal structures.  On both sides of the lower back, there are zones of adherence that prevent a lower body lift from pulling the excess skin of the upper back down to where it can be removed.  When patients have this problem, an upper back or bra-line lift is recommended to remove the extra skin and hide the incision in the normal bra line position.   This is a very effective technique and one that patients are very happy with their results. Please consult with a board certified plastic surgeon who can help you find the right solution for you.  Hope this helps. 

Loose Back Skin

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First of all congratulations on the weight loss.  

Each of the procedures you mention will benefit your appearance, but none will do much to the excess back skin. 

  • Lower body lift will improve the entire abdomen, and the flanks and lower back, as seen in the fourth photo.  (An in person exam might suggest that the tummy tuck alone would suffice.)
  • Arm lift will correct the hanging skin for the arms as seen in the second photo.
  • Breast lift will improve the breast contour, and will correctly position the nipples and areolae.
  • A bra line back lift is what is needed to improve the draping skin in the back. As the name suggests, it involves a horizontal incision at the bra level. Through this incision the excess skin in question is removed, and the incision is hidden by the bra. Note, though, that every bra and swim top will fit differently and it can be a challenge to purchase swim tops that will hide the scar.  The improvement may be enough to avoid the need for the back portion of a body lift or belt lipectomy. 

Thanks for the question, and for the photos, particularly the addition of the pre-weight loss picture.

Best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Body lift generally does not include arms/back

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A body lift usually does not include work on the arms or back.  A body lift is also referred to as  circumferential body lift = belt lipectomy.  This procedure is essentially 3 procedures in one: extended tummy tuck + waist/lateral thigh lift + buttock lift.  The procedure can taken between 5-7 hours depending on the amount of tissue/skin that needs removal/treatment.  If you are more concerned about your arms and/or back, then you may need to explore an arm lift/back lift.  Please see a board certified plastic surgeon to learn more about your options.

Dr. Sugene Kim

Can a Lower Body Lift or Breast Lift or Arm Lift LIFT Loose Back Skin?

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Thanks for posting great photos. Only way I see is direct excision in that area of the axillae and back. Result will be a scar. Best to discuss in person with a boarded PS 

Upper Body Lift

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There are two different types of upper back excision. These are the bra-line upper body lift and the J-upper body lift.  The bra-line upper body lift reduces vertical back laxity and the J-upper body lift reduces circumferential back/chest skin laxity. Some patients need one or the other while others need both. To learn more about these procedures, please feel free to visit my Plastic Surgery after Weight Loss website section.  I also have many pictures of both procedures. I have also enclosed a youtube video of the upper body lift.


Treatment of loose skin on back

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To treat the loose skin on your back or under your arms, I generally recommend what I call an upper trunk or back lift.  Often this can be performed with a scar hidden along the lateral curve line of your breast.   Others like to place a scar along your posterior bra line.  Which technique will depend on the amount and exact location of your excess skin.  All of this upper trunk or back lift procedures involve some degree of scar to achieve better form.  Please see a board certified PS to learn more about your options.  Hope this is helpful.

Dr. Basu

Houston, TX

Bra Line Back Lift For Upper Back Rolls

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Massive weight loss can impact almost any area of the body. When weight loss is severe, the upper back can be impacted with rolls of excess skin and fat that extend from the tail of the breast across the midline to the opposite side. This roll not only creates a significant aesthetic deformity, but also causes difficulty with how clothes fit. For these reasons, correction of this problem is often a priority for massive weight loss patients.

Breast lift, lower body lift and arm lift procedures will have minimal impact upon excess upper back tissue. In most cases, the procedure of choice to correct this problem is the bra line back lift. This procedure removes excess fat and skin from the upper back. The procedure hides the incision beneath the bra strap area. It's associated with excellent clinical results and high levels of patient satisfaction.

If you're considering undergoing massive weight loss, it's important to consult a board certified plastic surgeon with experience in this area. This surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plan that addresses your anatomic deformity and achieves your aesthetic goals.

Can a Lower Body Lift or Breast Lift or Arm Lift LIFT Loose Back Skin?

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Much like the posterior portion of a lower body lift that extencs transversely across the lower back, we do an upper body lift across the upper back that can be hidden by the bra strap to give a tighter and thinner look in that area. I would have to completely disagree with the consultant that says you will get improvement with the arm or breast lift, or lower body lift.

Lower Body Lift & Arm Lift Can Improve Excess Back Skin

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You appear to be an excellent candidate for a LBL, arm lift, and breast lift.  The first two procedures can definitely improve your excess back skin.  Obtain a consultation with a BC plastic surgeon who is experienced with these procedures with whom you can discuss your options.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

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.