An Upper Body Lift or Bra Lipectomy is an operation performed to address excess skin rolls and associated fat, in the upper and middle part of the back around the bra strap area – these problem areas are often referred to as bra rolls.
Problematic bra rolls are essentially excess skin with or without excess fatty tissue along the mid and upper back region, that extend along the sides of the chest wall. These areas of excess skin can be mild to severe for individuals that have undergone significant weight loss. A Bra Lipectomy scar pattern varies depending on the severity of the excess skin. However, the scar pattern typically extends from the back, through to the front of the chest wall, under the bust area. This scar pattern is near circumferential or fully circumferential.
For individuals that have lost a significant amount of weight, the primary concern is often the excess skin left behind, which carries permanent functional and aesthetic concerns. Therefore, a Bra Lipectomy essentially tailors this area by removing the excess skin, creating far more functional and aesthetic contours – helping to create a scooped in mid-trunk and waistline region.
A Bra Lipectomy would typically involve a scar at the level of a bra strap that is circumferential, or near circumferential.
Within the field of Plastic Surgery, the term ‘Bra Lipectomy’ can be interchangeable with many other surgical terms. Furthermore, other surgical procedures exist that are similar to a bra lipectomy with slight variations in the car pattern. It is important to identify the descriptive surgical terms and their associated technical differences. Some of the other commonly used terms for the Bra Lipectomy, and other operations that are similar to a bra lipectomy include:
After massive weight loss, all parts of the body are affected by excess skin, with some areas more problematic than others. It is uncommon for excess skin problems to be isolated to a single region of the body. Therefore, the reconstructive decision process must be tailored to address everyone’s specific concerns. As such, the surgery (and its associated scars), are dictated by the issues that need addressing. The areas of concern that need to be assessed when determining the precise surgical pattern include:
Assessing these areas will establish the best surgery plan (and associated scars), to achieve the optimal functional and aesthetic outcome. The potential scar patterns include:
The above Bra Lipectomy variations will be discussed with Dr Dona and a surgical plan will be created to best address your concerns.
A Bra Lipectomy procedure, along with any other post-weight loss procedure, require an individualised surgical plan. Individuals that have experienced massive weight loss, will experience excess skin and tissue, in varying degrees and areas of the body, with the most common areas of concern being the arms, breast, back, tummy and thighs – therefore it is not uncommon for these patients to request and require surgery in these areas.
Some operations that are often combined with a Bra Lipectomy include various extended Tummy Tucks, including Fleur-De-Lis or Dr Dona’s custom Open Book Tummy Tuck.
A Bra Lipectomy can also be combined with Breast Reductions and Arm Reductions (Brachioplasty).
Ultimately the patient’s general health, logistics and finances are all considered in determining what is the appropriate surgical pathway to take to address all areas of concern. Typically, more than one operation is required in a staged manner to ensure a safe and effective pathway to address all areas of concern.
A Bra Lipectomy is performed in a Private Hospital, under General Anaesthetic.
When you return home, you will be encouraged to be up and as mobile as possible. However, you always want to listen to your body and mobilise within a range that is comfortable for you.
You are placed in a garment immediately after surgery, that will help to manage your swelling. You will need to wear your garment for at least six weeks. You can expect to see a significant reduction in the initial swelling, within the first one-two weeks, following your surgery. In addition, it is not uncommon to see a slight difference in the swelling, from one side to the other.
We will advise you to refrain from bathing or swimming until at least three weeks following your surgery.
There is no set sleeping position that is advised following your surgery –you can sleep in a position(s) that you are most comfortable in. However, you may find that sleeping on your back to be the most comfortable for the first few weeks.
Leave your dressings intact until your first post-operative appointment. Generally speaking, your first appointment will be scheduled no later than the day following your hospital discharge. Within your first post-operative appointment, one of our friendly and caring post-operative nurses will inspect your wounds and administer light therapy treatment, aimed at optimizing your recovery. Our post-operative nurses will continue to see you, at least three times per week for the following few weeks, and of course, will be available to answer any questions, in-between your in-clinic appointments.
It is very common after surgery to experience bloating and constipation. This is because you have just had surgery and therefore, you will be less mobile. In addition, you will be administered strong pain medication which causes slowing of the bowels. You will be encouraged to consume plenty of fluids, maintain a high-fiber diet, along with some gentle laxatives (such as Movicol), to help restore your normal bowel habits.
You will be given Movicol whilst in hospital and are encouraged to continue with the above measures at home until your normal bowel habits return.
Every hospital patient, especially surgical patients, will be at increased risk of developing DVT’s in their legs. Therefore, we undertake a number of measures to reduce this risk which include:
You should not consider driving for the first two weeks after surgery. After this time, you should only drive if you feel safe doing so.
You will be able to return to a light office or a desk role at approximately two weeks post-surgery. Light hospitality work may be possible at four weeks post-surgery. Any employment that involves heavy lifting or straining must be avoided for six weeks.
At six weeks post-surgery, you can gradually return to normal training and physical activities. Consider the first six weeks after surgery as RECOVERY, and after six weeks, consider all activities as REHABILITATION. Undertake any physical activities that you wish to do and be guided by your comfort and strength, which will slowly improve.
You can return to sexual activity at any stage with the following understanding:
It will take at least six months before you are feeling “normal” and able to do all the things you could before surgery. It will be at this stage that we assess your final surgical results from a contour and form point of view. However, the scars will take at least 12-18 months before they have matured.
A Bra Lipectomy can take anywhere from three to five hours.
Pain is subjective which means that everyone has a different experience after surgery, from moderate to significant discomfort. You may experience localised pain at the site of your incisions, but also nerve pain (shooting pains and burning). To ensure that you are kept as comfortable as possible, you will be provided with pain medication during your stay in Private Hospital, and when you return home.
Most patients will spend at least two days in Private Hospital and will be medically fit to return home at this stage. Although, some of our patients will benefit from another day or two in Private Hospital.
It is recommended that you have someone with you at home for at least the first week for general day-to-day care.
Whenever someone is having an anaesthetic, no matter what it’s for, then things can potentially go wrong. That is why no surgery should be considered “minor”. Of course, whilst the chances of the following potential problems occurring are extremely small, you still need to know about then:
All these potential problems are standard for any operation, although some operations and some patients have an increased risk of developing them.
Other specific potential complications may include:
Surgery after massive weight loss is like dress making – the surgeon is the tailor, and they need to tailor your skin to fit your smaller body. With dressmaking, once its “done” you often need to have a second fitting for some minor adjustments to make it fit just right. Surgery after massive weight loss is very similar.
Bra lipectomy surgery is of course many times more complex than dressmaking. The skin and tissues are not static and rigid objects. They swell, they stretch, they shrink, they sag etc. In addition to this, the underlying body is also changing.
So as a surgeon, Dr Dona is crafting, sculpting, and reshaping everything that’s 3D and not static, whilst at the same time making sure that he doesn’t push things too far and make it too tight and increase the risk of wounds not healing and breaking down.
With all this in mind, after everything settles and swelling starts to settle and things “relax” into position, it’s normal for things to be nowhere near as tight as they initially were. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for patients to require further surgery to “fine tune” the results, just like you would for a second fitting of a tailor-made dress. This is especially the case in quite large transformations.
So, you should not undertake any surgery, especially these larger transformations, if you’re not prepared or willing to have further surgery, and the potential time off and costs involved.
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