David B. Reath, MD
Knoxville, TN (865) 450-9253
HKB Knoxville Staff

Body Lift

Breaking News! Dr. Reath and one of his patients are all over the national news, including USA Today, discussing arm lift surgery. Here is the video.

Here is Dr. Reath’s blog where he gives a behind-the-scene recount of how it all happened.

Armed And Fabulous: How Our Patient Made National News

Each year as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) releases the procedure statistics from the previous year, they look for some procedures where there has been a change in what’s being done, and perhaps a story to go with it. This year one of the operations we are talking about is the Arm lift, … Read more »

About Body Lifts

scalesIf you’re watching shows or reading magazines articles about plastic surgery, you’re hearing more and more about body lifts. As we travel around the country to attend plastic surgery meetings, more sessions and discussions are about body lifts, or surgery following (massive) weight reduction. And, in the practice, we are both recommending and performing more body lifts. So what is this all about?

Statistics regarding obesity in our country, and in our state are very troublesome. In a twenty-year period, from 1985 to 2005, the prevalence of obesity in the adult population of Tennessee has risen from less than 10% to between 25 -29%! Quite an increase in a relatively short period of time. There are many factors that contribute to this including changes in portion sizes in our diet, the amount of fast food we eat, and decreases in the amount of exercise we are getting. All in all, this is not great news.

Dr. Reath & Dr. Walker

David B. Reath, MD is renowned for his surgical skills and his commitment to public education. Practicing in Knoxville, Tennessee since 1986, his personal approach with patients is what truly sets him apart. He is proud to welcome Jessica V. Walker, MD to the practice.

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Dr. Reath and Dr.Walker

However, many people are fighting back.  Some patients have had excellent success with massive weight reduction through lifestyle changes: that is to say diet and exercise.  Others, who have not been able to slim down in this way, have chosen the way of bariatric surgery, or weight reduction surgery such as gastric bypass surgery.  Both approaches have helped some people lose anywhere from 40 or 50 pounds up to over 100 or even 150 pounds! These patients have noticed tremendous improvements in how they feel, what they can do, and in how they look.  This type of accomplishment is quite literally life changing.

However, as the pounds come off, there can be a large amount of loose, excess skin left behind.  Unlike smaller amounts of fat reduction which can occur in men and women who have had modest weight gain with pregnancies, massive weight changes will leave behind skin in both the front and the back of the torso (not to mention other places such as the chest, arms, and legs). So, whereas a tummy tuck might be sufficient for modest weight changes, a more involved operation is needed for the massive weight reduction patient who has excess skin in the front, on the sides, and in the back.  This is where the body lift comes in.

It is important to understand that a body lift is not meant for weight reduction; it is best suited for men and women that are in relatively good shape. A body lift is not recommended for you if you still have many pounds to drop or if you plan on becoming pregnant again.

Safety First

You should have a BMI of 30 or less to be a good candidate for these procedures. Here’s a handy BMI calculator so you can see if you are in the safe range to consider plastic surgery.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Calculator for Adults

BMI is a number calculated from a person's weight and height. BMI provides a fairly reliable indicator of body fatness for most people and is used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems.

feet inches

Your BMI is

  • Underweight (Below 18.5)
  • Normal (18.5 - 24.9)
  • Overweight (25.0 - 29.9)
  • Obese (30.0 and above)

Your weight ( pounds) is in the category for adults of your height ( feet, inches)

To learn more, visit the CDC's Healthy Weight website

Body Lift Before & After Photos

Body Lift
 Before & After Photos


This feature contains nudity. Please click OK to confirm you are at least 18 years of age and are not offended by such material.



Good to Know: A recent study by the Ford Foundation found that people who had plastic surgery to remove their excess skin after gastric bypass surgery were able to keep many more pounds off than people who did not have plastic surgery. In the video, Dr. Reath discusses some of the reasons for this.

The Body Lift Operation

A central body lift (sometimes called a circumferential body lift) treats the excess skin in the mid torso all the way around the body. This includes the abdomen, hip rolls, upper buttock and lower back.  In the front the abdominal muscles are tightened and the excess skin is removed, as would be done with an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck.  In some individuals this can amount to ten or twelve pounds of skin and fat.

Note: A body lift does not treat excess skin on the inner and outer thighs or the upper back bra line area. Those are different operations.

The results can be quite dramatic.  And the improvement in a person’s lifestyle, once all this excess skin has been removed is fantastic.  There will be a scar that runs around the body, but the front, sides, and back are treated at the same time giving an improved overall result. While this operation is mainly done in the hospital with a one or two night stay, some patients can have this done on an outpatient basis.

In the past, this operation has really been reserved for the patient with massive weight reduction.  However, many people are concerned not just with the appearance of their abdomen, but about how they appear all the way around the body.  And for some, the circumferential body lift may be a good option for lesser degrees of skin excess or laxity, whether or not they have had massive weight changes.

As with all things, this is not for everyone. Helping our patients manage a speedy recovery is one of our primary missions. Some patients who are candidates for this wish to break this up into two operations.  First do the tummy tuck, and later do a buttock thigh lift.  And this can also give a great result.  For others, the scar is a concern.  Generally, however, experience has shown that this is a very effective procedure with the benefits far outweighing the scar.  And, most importantly, patients have been very pleased with the result.

It is our hope that none of us would have to deal with the after effects of massive weight reduction. What’s best is to be in reasonable physical shape by exercising and eating appropriately.  However, the statistics show that many people will struggle with their weight. And for those who have battled obesity and won, it’s great to have the circumferential body lift to take care of the skin that’s left behind.

Dr. Reath has just written an excellent blog all about body fat. He explains what can and cannot be treated and why.

Is Liposuction Good for Weight Loss? Your Ultimate Guide to Body Fat & Plastic Surgery

The majority of my plastic surgery practice here in Knoxville is body contouring surgery, which is changing the shape of my patient’s bodies. Inevitably this means dealing with fat. We all have it. We all need it. Some have less than they want; most of us have more than we want. Frequently we get questions … Read more »

Body Lift Pricing

It is difficult to give you pricing for circumferential body lift surgery because the cost varies so widely from patient to patient. The price range for most patients is between $14,00 and $17,000. If you just want an abdominoplasty or just want a buttock thigh lift, the price is about half of that. The cost is dependent on the amount of skin and fat to be removed and the time it will take in the operating room.

During your consultation, you will be given a surgical quote that will detail these costs based on your particular needs. It will include surgery fees, anesthesia, any overnights, all follow-up visits, recovery garments, and our exclusive recovery kit.

For pricing on arm lifts only, visit our arm lift page.

Our Surgical Recovery Kits are a great personal touch.

Patients tell us that the recovery kits we include with their surgeries are an area that really sets us apart. Each recovery kit contains items hand-picked to make your recovery faster and more pleasant. People who have had surgery with other doctors are amazed that we include these kits at no charge for all of our surgery patients.

Not our patient? No problem!

We have lovingly put together a kit of everything you’ll need during your tummy tuck recovery specifically for patients of other plastic surgeons. You’ll appreciate the extra post-surgical binders because you won’t be feeling like doing much laundry. Even better, the price of the kit is much less than if you bought each item separately.
Body Lift
Recovery Products
Visit our online store.Shop Now

Our staff has just written an amazing free eBook based on suggestions from some of our patients. The Plastic Surgery Planner is 40 pages of best practices with everything you need to know about planning for your plastic surgery and recovery. It’s a must-read for anyone planning to have a body lift. It’s a free download.
Plastic Surgery Planner Tips to Manage a Speedy Recovery Download Now

Body Contouring After Weight Reduction Podcast

You may find the following “Today In Plastic Surgery Podcast” helpful in your research.

Body contouring following major weight reduction can improve body image by removing excess sagging skin and fat, resulting in a more normal body appearance, with smoother contours.

In this podcast, an ASPS Member Surgeon discusses the plastic surgery options available to people who have experienced massive weight changes.

Also, his patient, Sue, describes her experiences going from a size 58 to a size 18 through bariatric surgery, and then to a size 8 via a series of procedures known as body contouring.

Click on the icon to listen.

Good candidates for body contouring are:

  • Adults of any age whose weight has stabilized
  • Healthy individuals who do not have medical conditions that can impair healing or increase risk of surgery
  • Non-smokers
  • Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic goals for what body contouring can accomplish
  • Individuals committed to leading a healthy lifestyle including proper nutrition and fitness

Great Resources for Your Research

  • So you can be better prepared for your consultation, we have prepared a list of important plastic surgery questions you will want to ask your doctor before you have your surgery. If your consultation is with Dr. Reath or Dr. Walker, please feel free to print this out and they will be happy to go over everything with you during your visit. Top Ten Questions to Ask Your Plastic Surgeon
  • Even though the majority of cosmetic surgery patients are pleased with their results, the decision to have a procedure is a big one. It is normal to have questions, and it’s important to answer them honestly. In the end, you want to be completely comfortable with your decision. So, are you clear about your motivations for surgery? Are your expectations realistic? Test yourself by answering these important questions. How to Know if You Are  Ready for Plastic Surgery.

The Latest Health and Fitness Posts from Dr. Reath's Blog

  • Introducing Jessica V. Walker, M.D.

    From the Blog

    Introducing Jessica V. Walker, M.D. Click here to get the latest on Dr. Walker! As most of you know, there have been some big changes in my practice. We are now HKB Knoxville, and I will be retiring in January 2023. But the biggest news is that we have a new plastic surgeon, Dr. Jessica … Read more »
  • Important Letter From Dr. Reath

    From the Blog

    For the last 35 years, I have enjoyed the practice of plastic surgery in Knoxville, Tennessee. It is my pleasure and privilege to have been entrusted with your care. In order for my practice to move ahead, I am partnering with a group of plastic surgeons in Charlotte, whom I respect and admire. This change … Read more »
  • My Top 10 Most Important Blog Posts (So Far)

    From the Blog

    Back in November of 2009, I started my Facebook page, got my first smartphone, and wrote my first blog post. Since then, we have been honored with over 11,500 facebook fans, and our practice YouTube channel has 276 videos with over 950,000 views. Pretty amazing, right? Now, twelve years later, I have written over 300 blog … Read more »

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