According to Dr. David Hing, body contouring is a term describing the use of liposuction and removal of skin to enhance the shape of the body. Liposuction involves the removal of fat below the skin through small incisions to thin the layer of fat padding that lies between the skin and muscle. Patients that have extra padding but do not have extra skin can benefit from this.
If you have extra skin, as determined by your plastic surgeon, liposuction will thin the fat layer but may create more looseness in the skin. Liposuction can be used in the neck, arms, abdomen, buttocks, hips and thighs. Those patients with extra skin may require removal of not only the underlying fat but also removal of extra skin on their body surface. This requires much longer incisions than liposuction. An example of this technique is the abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, in which an incision made from hip to hip across the pubic area is used to remove fat below the belly button as well as fat in this area. Either of the two techniques can be used alone or in combination to address a patient's specific issues and individual anatomy.
A body lift is a specific type of technique used in body contouring. Body contouring is the more general, inclusive term for all the techniques. A body lift refers to removal of skin and fat from either the upper body or lower body in order to remove extra skin and fat that is being pulled down by gravity. In the upper body, extra skin and fat
may create folds in the armpit area, below the breasts, or extending from the lower chest to the back. Removal of this skin and fat is done through incisions through the skin. The incision edges are brought together with surgical sutures, which lift the sagging skin upwards, to smooth the contours in the upper body. In the lower body, the extra skin and fat may be present in the buttocks and back of the thighs, hips and outer riding breeches part of the thighs, front of the thighs, or inner thighs. The lower body lift removes the extra skin and fat in these areas through incisions that reach from the back around the waist to extend into the inner thigh. The looseness of the skin and fat is
removed so that pulling the edges of the wound will lift the lower thigh tissues and tighten them. The specific design of the body lift will depend upon each individual patient's anatomy.