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Thomas P. Sterry, MD

Upper Body Lift

Upper Body Lift

If you've lost a significant amount of weight, you may have gotten something you didn't bargain for—loose skin drooping from your arms, chest and upper back. Perhaps you're even wearing a larger blouse or shirt size than you would otherwise just to accommodate all that sagging skin. Visit Dr. Thomas Sterry for upper body lift plastic surgery in NYC to become more comfortable and confident after your impressive accomplishment.

To find out what procedures may be right for you, request a consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Sterry in Manhattan or call (212) 249-4020.

You've lost the weight! Let an upper body lift free you
from the loose skin left behind.

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Dr. Thomas P. Sterry

An upper body lift is a single operation performed by New York plastic surgeon Dr. Sterry which combines an arm lift, an upper back lift, and a breast lift (mastopexy).

An upper body lift can smooth and streamline your arms, chest and upper back—and let you enjoy the true benefits of your weight loss—in one cosmetic procedure.

Upper Body Lift FAQ

What is an upper body lift?

An upper body lift is an arm lift combined with removal of the loose skin hanging from the armpit next to the breast. If there is excess skin hanging from the upper back—something my patients call ‘back boobies’—an upper body lift trims that area as well.

In women patients, an upper body lift also includes a breast lift or breast reduction

An upper body lift for men typically includes male breast reduction.

Who is a candidate for an upper body lift?

Anyone who has lost more than 100 pounds should really think about an upper body lift, not just an arm lift. By treating the whole upper torso at the same time as one aesthetic unit, you get the best possible result.

Do all plastic surgeons perform upper body lifts the same way?

No, there are differences in where the incisions are placed. Some plastic surgeons connect the armpit incision with an incision going straight down the side of the chest. That incision is harder to hide and doesn't go along any of the natural body lines.

Other plastic surgeons use a Z-shaped scar when performing an upper body lift. Theoretically, that helps to ensure that a scar contracture will not develop which could hinder you from raising your arms above the head.

The drawback of a Z-shaped scar is that the tissue at the tips of the Z sometimes dies. In that case, the patient needs to frequently change the wound dressings for a month or two while the scar slowly heals.

Where do you place the incisions for an upper body lift?

I can sometimes limit the scar in the upper back so it doesn't touch the midline—so a woman can still wear backless fashions. A bra will definitely cover it.

The scars on a woman's breasts from a breast lift or breast reduction are also concealed by a bra. The scars from a male breast reduction are placed beneath the breasts.

The arm lift scar is placed on the inner side of the upper arm.

I am careful to place upper body lift incisions where the scars will be least conspicuous. I use only absorbable sutures so no stitches need to be removed, and I never use staples.

Does an upper body lift replace liposuction?

No, an upper body lift is not a substitute for liposuction. However, I may perform the two procedures in combination, but not on the exact same areas of the body.

It's important to understand the difference between what an upper body lift does and what liposuction does. An upper body lift makes your body look younger by tightening the sagging skin associated with aging or weight changes.

By contrast, liposuction re-contours the body by removing fat—but it does nothing to remedy loose, sagging skin. In fact, liposuction alone can make loose, sagging skin worse because it removes volume from the tissues.

Does an upper body lift require a hospital stay?

Yes. An upper body lift is an inpatient procedure that takes 6-8 hours. You can expect to spend one night in the hospital.

What kind of anesthesia is used for an upper body lift?

An upper body lift is performed under general anesthetic, so you will be asleep for the entire procedure.

How is an upper body lift performed?

If excess skin needs to be removed from the upper back, I start the procedure with the patient lying face-down. Once that portion of the surgery is completed, a sterile dressing is applied to the wounds and the patient is turned over onto his or her back. Then I complete the upper body lift by operating on the breasts, and finish with the arms.

What should you expect immediately after surgery?

After an upper body lift, you will typically have four drains: two in the back and two in the breasts. The breast drains are removed the next morning. The back drains need to stay in for 3-5 days.

How long is the recovery after an upper body lift?

You can typically resume your normal activities in 2-3 weeks after an upper body lift, depending on how active a lifestyle you lead. In the beginning, you will need to avoid strenuous activity. The more closely you follow your post-operative instructions, the smoother your recovery will be.

What results can you expect from an upper body lift?

After an upper body lift, you will be free of the excess, hanging skin on your upper back, arms and chest—so you'll be proud to wear short sleeves, sleeveless tops and form-fitting clothing.

Welcome from Dr. Sterry

Thomas Sterry, MD, describes what makes his practice unique and shares his professional philosophy.

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Dr. Thomas P. Sterry

Thomas Sterry, MD, is a board-certified New York City plastic surgeon with over a decade of experience. At his inviting, boutique-style practice in Manhattan, he focuses on each patient's unique needs and aesthetic goals so that he can provide the most attractive and natural-looking outcomes possible.

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