A clinical review of total body lift surgery

Aesthet Surg J. 2008 May-Jun;28(3):294-303; discussion 304-5. doi: 10.1016/j.asj.2008.03.001.


Background: Until 2001, body contouring surgery after massive weight loss was uncoordinated, with few patients achieving compete rehabilitation.

Objective: The authors report a 5-year, retrospective, 75-case clinical review to determine the effectiveness, reliability, and safety of single and multistage total body lift (TBL) surgery.

Methods: Between January 2001 and June 2006, 59 single-stage, 15 two-stage, and 1 three-stage TBL surgeries were performed, involving a total of 605 separate procedures. Outcomes and complications were compared among all TBL patients and a contemporaneous published series.

Results: Three representative cases are described. Overall, in patients under 55 years of age with a body mass index of less than 30, there was no significant difference in the choice of procedure (ie, single-stage TBL [95% confidence interval, 1.236-2.302] or multiple-stage TBL [95% confidence interval, 1.687-4.892]; P = .1882). Although there was no significant association between major complications and the number of procedures performed in this cohort of patients, there were increased wound healing problems following multiple-stage TBL (P > .5). Single-stage TBL surgery averaged 8.4 hours. Two-stage surgery took 7.4 hours for the first stage and 4.6 hours for the second stage, for a total of 11 hours. Banked blood transfusions for single-stage surgery were 1.5 per single-stage case and 0.78 per multi-stage case. Seventy-six percent of the patients experienced complications, mostly related to wound healing. All preoperative and postoperative Pittsburgh rating grades improved.

Conclusions: TBL is customized for individuals who desire a comprehensive approach to improvement of their loose skin. The rate of complications was high and comparable to other published series. There was no difference between the complications of the single-and two-stage patients. While there was an observable reduction in deformity and a high rate of satisfactory aesthetic outcomes, this high number of complications indicates a need to improve clinical performance.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bariatric Surgery / adverse effects
  • Blood Transfusion / statistics & numerical data
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dermatologic Surgical Procedures*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / methods*
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss*
  • Wound Healing*