Upper Body Lift

Many people who lose significant amounts of weight find they still don’t feel comfortable with their chest and upper back regions. The area from just below the neck to the bottom of the ribs is called the “upper trunk” or “thorax”.

Reasons to Choose Upper Body Lift Surgery

The best candidates for upper body lift are those who have developed a series of problems due to the process of massive weight gain and subsequent massive weight loss deflation in the area of the upper trunk. This process can be easily understood by using a “lampshade analogy,” as seen below.


The top of the lampshade is equivalent to the bottom of the neck and the bottom, which in the normal lampshade, is located at the crease that runs underneath the breasts, whether in the female or male. This crease is called the “infra-mammary crease”. As can be seen in the lampshade analogy and the real figures below, the expansion and subsequent deflation of the upper truncal skin and fat lead to these tissues falling down to a much lower level. The human lampshade has two areas that restrict the skin and fat from falling, and they are located over the sternum (or breast bone) in the front, and the spine in the back. These areas are called zones of adherence, which act like hooks, preventing tissues from free falling. The overall descent of the skin and fat, in combination with the action of these zones of adherence, lead to the observed deformities seen in the human upper trunk.


As can be seen above, the problems include an improperly positioned infra-mammary crease, which leads to the development of “breast rolls” in the front and “upper back rolls” in the back. This descent or dropping out of the infra-mammary crease occurs both in the male and female.

FAQ About Upper Body Lift in Orange County

Below are some frequently asked questions about upper body lift at UCI Plastic Surgery in Orange County. If you have questions that are still unanswered, please call or email our offices to reach our friendly staff.

How do I prepare for Upper Body Lift surgery?

Your surgeon will examine your body and upper trunk. They will discuss the variables that may affect the procedure, such as your age, the size and shape of your body, the amount of fat and the quality of your skin. It is always advisable that you are in good health and that you are at a stable weight. Exercise will always be good for your general health, but, unfortunately, fat and skin do not have muscle within them, so they are not improved by exercise. Smokers should quit smoking prior to pursuing surgical therapy.

How does upper body lift surgery work?

To understand Upper Body Lift surgery it is important to understand what the shape of “normal” is. The key to understanding the upper trunk is determining the position of the infra-mammary crease. The normal shape of the infra-mammary crease is an upward sweep, whether in the male or female, as seen by the yellow arrows below.

To create an appealing reconstruction of the deformities created by weight gain and massive weight loss, it is important to place the infra-mammary crease, a very important landmark, in its normal anatomic position. Once it is lifted to the proper position, the entire chest is put in proper proportions.

Whether it is a male or female an Upper Body Lift accomplishes the following:


  • Lifts the infra-mammary crease to its proper position
  • Eliminates upper back rolls/excess
  • Eliminates breast rolls
  • Eliminates upper arm excess (in those who need it)
  • Allows us to build a breast upon a properly placed infra-mammary crease, which may be:
    • a breast reduction (in males or females)
    • a breast lift with or without implants (in females)
    • a breast augmentation (in females)

Why should I choose UCI Plastic Surgery for my Upper Body Lift?

The plastic surgeons of UCI Plastic Surgery bring a wealth of experience to Southern California in the arena of Upper Body Lift surgery.

What can I expect after an Upper Body Lift?

You will most likely stay overnight in the hospital after an Upper Body Lift.  Once you go home, you will be expected to keep your arms elevated for two to three weeks if the Upper Body Lift contains an arm reduction or brachioplasty.  Otherwise, you are to reduce your activities to limit tension on the incisions.  Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication, as you will feel some pain for first few days.


The results that you will get from an Upper Body Lift usually lead to a significant improvement in the upper truncal contour.  Some typical results are shown below.


Note the appearance of a muscular chest, which is surgically created.


What are the risks of Upper Body Lifts?

As with any surgery, there is always a possibility of complications, including bleeding, infection, fluid collection, fat necrosis, blood clots, wound separations, or reaction to anesthesia. The procedure will leave noticeable, permanent scars, and, in some patients, especially those with a tendency for poor healing, may end up with wide or raised scars. Numbness and sensory changes may also occur around the area of the scars.

Do alternatives to an Upper Body Lift exist?

If the problem is caused by excess fat, and not loose skin, you may be a candidate for liposuction. Especially if your skin elasticity is good, a plastic surgeon at UCI Plastic Surgery may be able to perform liposuction to achieve your goals.

If you’re ready to discuss Upper Body Lifts in Orange County, please contact the Orange County plastic surgery offices of UCI Plastic Surgery. We are located in the city of Orange, just a short drive from Anaheim, L.A., Santa Ana, Garden Grove and other communities of Southern California. Call (949)-999-2411 to get started on your upper body lift transformation.