Achieve the look you want through body contouring

Body contouring surgery removes excess skin and reshapes your body after you’ve lost a lot of weight. If you’ve dieted or had bariatric surgery, such as gastric bypass, you may be excited about your weight loss but unhappy with extra skin, which can hang loosely on your body.

Body contouring surgery treats problem areas to help you get the look you envisioned when you set your weight loss goals. Plastic surgeons at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center offer tailored solutions such as liposuction and upper and lower body lifts, as well as nonsurgical rejuvenation procedures — all conveniently located in Columbus, Ohio.

Types of body contouring

At the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, you can choose from a number of body contouring options, including liposuction, lifts and other procedures. They’re done by experienced, board certified plastic surgeons in Columbus and at nearby outpatient locations.

Who’s a good candidate for body contouring surgery?

To be a good candidate for body contouring, you should have healthy lifestyle habits and understand what the surgery can and can’t do.

Liposuction may be right for you if you:

  • Are in good health
  • Are not obese
  • Don’t abuse drugs or alcohol
  • Don’t have a life-threatening illness
  • Don’t have a medical condition that can affect healing
  • Don’t smoke
  • Have firm, elastic skin and good muscle tone


Liposuction surgery removes fatty deposits from parts of your body, such as your abdomen, thighs and buttocks. During liposuction, plastic surgeons loosen fat and remove it using a suction device. The procedure can trim your body and improve its contours (shape) and proportions.

Plastic surgeons perform liposuction at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center locations in Columbus and at nearby outpatient clinics. Surgeons may perform liposuction alone or combined with other cosmetic surgery procedures, such as a facelift, tummy tuck or breast reduction.

Although liposuction removes fat, it’s not an effective treatment for cellulite — the small dimples or lumpy appearance of thighs, hips or buttocks. It’s also not a substitute for healthy weight loss through diet, nutrition and exercise.

The plastic surgeons at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center use liposuction to treat parts of the body, such as:

  • Abdomen and waist
  • Back
  • Buttocks
  • Calves and ankles
  • Cheeks, chin and neck
  • Chest
  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Thighs
  • Upper arms

Who’s a good candidate for liposuction?

Liposuction may help alone or with other body contouring surgeries if you have stubborn fatty deposits that don’t go away with diet and exercise. Your doctor will examine you and evaluate your medical condition, lifestyle and health history to determine whether liposuction is your best treatment option.

Liposuction may be right for you if you:

  • Are a nonsmoker
  • Are not obese
  • Don’t have a substance abuse problem
  • Maintain a steady weight, within 30% of your ideal weight
  • Have firm, elastic skin
  • Have good muscle tone
  • Have no serious health conditions

Types of liposuction include:

  • Laser-assisted liposuction – Your Ohio State surgeon makes a small incision and inserts a thin laser fiber to deliver low-energy waves to fatty pockets. The waves of energy melt fat so your doctor can suction it out through a small tube called a cannula.
  • Ultrasound-assisted liposuction – The surgeon makes a small incision and inserts the cannula to deliver ultrasonic waves that dissolve fatty deposits. The liquified fat is sucked out through the cannula.

What is body contouring and how is it done?

Body contouring removes sagging skin and fatty deposits, and reshapes your body, including areas not treated by liposuction. Each body contouring procedure targets a specific part of your upper, middle or lower body.

Your Ohio State plastic surgeons can focus on one or two problem areas, or treat many parts of the body in one procedure. Options include “the Mommy makeover” — a tummy tuck, arm lift, thigh lift and buttock enhancement. Your Ohio State Wexner Medical Center plastic surgeon has advanced training and applies specialized expertise, including steps to minimize scars.

Body contouring surgery is not painful. It is usually done under general anesthetic, so you won’t feel anything during your procedure. After surgery, doctors prescribe medication to minimize discomfort.

Ohio State doctors may perform body contouring surgery at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, or at one of our outpatient clinics in central Ohio or nearby locations. More extensive, combined operations, such as a lower body lift, typically require an overnight stay at one of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center hospitals in Columbus.

Your Ohio State doctor and care team provide specific details about your scheduled procedure. Your surgeon will discuss before and after images that are specific to your procedure. The doctor will tell you how to prepare and what to expect.

Body contouring lift procedures

The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center body contouring lift procedures include:

Arm lift

Arm lift body contouring surgery reshapes your arms and eliminates sagging skin. The arm lift is a same-day surgery done at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center in Columbus or at nearby outpatient locations.

  • During your arm lift treatment
    • Your anesthesiologist delivers a general anesthetic.
    • Your surgeon removes excess skin through an incision that’s made from the armpit to the elbow.
    • The doctor tightens remaining skin, for a more toned and taut appearance.
    • Arm lift surgery typically lasts one to three hours.
  • After your arm lift treatment
    • You can expect some bruising and swelling in the days following your arm lift.
    • Many patients resume normal daily activities within two weeks.
    • You should avoid strenuous activity for at least one month.

Buttock lift

The buttock lift body contouring procedure corrects sagging skin and reshapes the buttocks. A buttock lift can give the buttocks a more athletic and smoother look, and can help reshape your figure after weight loss.

  • During your buttock lift treatment
    • The anesthesiologist gives you general anesthesia so you are not awake and don’t feel anything during the surgery.
    • Your surgeon makes small incisions at the top of the buttocks or, in some cases, in the hips or groin region.
    • The doctor surgically removes excess fat and skin.
    • The doctor lifts and tightens remaining skin to give the buttocks a taut, youthful look.
    • Buttock lift surgery usually takes three to six hours.
  • After your buttock lift treatment
    • Swelling and bruising are common after a buttock lift.
    • You’ll need to wear a compression garment, which protects and supports skin and helps to speed healing.
    • Healing continues over several months.
    • In most instances, you can resume normal daily activities after about three weeks.

Lower body lift

A lower body lift is sometimes called a circumferential tummy tuck. If you have this body contouring surgery, your doctor will remove extra skin and fat from your midsection. The surgeon corrects sagging skin in the buttocks and abdominal areas, including “love handles” or flanks, as well as your inner and outer thighs.

Lower body lift surgery typically takes several hours to complete under a general anesthetic. Since it’s an extensive operation, it usually requires a hospital stay at one of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center locations in Columbus.

Your doctor will tell you what to expect before and after your specific procedure.

  • During your lower body lift treatment
    • Your anesthesiologist delivers and manages anesthesia so you’re asleep and won’t feel anything during the procedure.
    • Your surgeon removes excess skin and fat through an incision from the beltline down to the inner thighs.
    • The doctor reshapes remaining skin and pulls it taut, giving your entire midsection a more fit appearance.
  • After your lower body lift treatment
    • During your recovery after a lower body lift, it’s normal to experience bruising and swelling.
    • Doctors prescribe medication to relieve discomfort.
    • Over the following few weeks, swelling begins to go down and bruises fade.
    • You’ll wear a compression garment for a few weeks after surgery for protective support and faster healing.
    • Plan ahead and allow at least two to four weeks of rest.

Thigh lift

After weight loss, it’s common to see extra skin and fat on your inner and outer thighs. A thigh lift corrects this by tightening and improving the tone of the underlying tissue that supports your fat and skin in these areas. Thigh lift body contouring makes your thighs look smoother and more fit.

Thigh lift procedures may be done at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center hospitals or in an outpatient clinic in Columbus or other convenient locations. During a pre-surgery visit, your doctor will tell you how to prepare and what to expect.

  • During your thigh lift surgery
    • You receive a general anesthetic from the anesthesiologist.
    • Your surgeon makes incisions from the bikini line down to the thighs.
    • The doctor removes excess skin and fat and reshapes remaining skin for a more contoured look.
    • You’ll awaken after about two hours.
  • After your thigh lift surgery
    • Expect some bruising and swelling in the days following your thigh lift surgery.
    • You’ll wear compression garments for support as you heal.
    • Many people who have lower body lift surgery resume normal daily activities after two to three weeks.
    • You’ll need to avoid strenuous activity for several weeks after your lower body lift.

Face and neck lifts

These body contouring lift procedures correct sagging skin on your face and neck. Surgeons may include related procedures, such as:

Tummy tuck surgery

If you have sagging and overhanging abdominal skin, a tummy tuck can help. Doctors sometimes consider an abdominal procedure called panniculectomy for certain obese patients.

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