What is A Bra Strap Excision (Upper Back Lift Surgery)?
Upper Back lifts, or Bra Strap Excision, are common plastic surgery procedures for patients with excess upper back and outer chest skin and fat that can hang over the bra strap and blunt the upper waist and back contour. This surgical procedure is performed through a back an incision which can extend to the breast fold scar. A Bra Strap excision will tighten and shape the back, waistline and outer chest allowing patients to feel more comfortable in clothing and bathing suits. Dr. Trussler has significant experience with Bra Strap surgery and the first step in contouring the back and outer chest is discussing your goals of the procedure during a consultation.
Bra Strap Excision Candidates
Bra Strap Excisions are ideal for healthy, non-smoking male and female patients who have a significant amount of excess, hanging skin in the back and outer chest area. Patients should be at a stable weight and have a comfortable diet and exercise routine prior to considering any body contouring procedure.
What Are The Different Upper Back Contouring Techniques?
There different types of upper back contouring procedures which are designed to address each patients different degree and location of excess skin and fat. Patients who present for Bra strap surgery are typically frustrated because no matter how much exercise or weight loss they do the excess skin just won’t go away and hangs over the bra strap. The solution is to remove the excess skin and contour the upper back contouring with liposuction in combination with skin excision Dr. Trussler offers multiple techniques for bra strap excision (Upper Back Lift):
Mini Bra-Strap Excision
Mini Bra-Strap Excision utilizes a short outer chest incision in the breast fold to remove sagging skin in the outer breast and chest. This technique can be combined with liposuction to contour the entire outer chest, but is recommended to the patient with only limited outer chest and breast excess skin.
Standard Length Bra Strap Excision
Full Bra-Strap utilizes a curved back incision on each side of the back scar at the top of the upper back crease which is extended into the outer chest to remove excess skin along the entire mid and upper back. This procedure tightens and shapes the back, waist and outer chest and breast.
Extended Bra Strap Excision ( Modified Upper Body Lift)
Extended Bra Strap Excision (Modified Upper Body Lift) combines a curved incision from the upper back along the bottom of the breast, which is extended along the outer chest to remove excess skin along the entire upper back and chest region. This procedure tightens and shapes the upper back, waist, and outer chest, as well lifting outer breast and chest rolls. It can be extended along the chest to be combined with a breast lift (mastopexy) in women or chest contouring in men.
Considerations Before Upper Back Lift Surgery
Bra Strap Excisions can help tighten and contour the upper back and chest. Patients should be healthy, non-smoking and at a stable weight prior to considering this procedure. The extent, location and condition of the excess arm skin all factor into the decision of scar pattern for a Bra Strap Excision. Liposuction is applied to the upper back and outer chest to help shape and contour the lower back and waist line. Most patients with a significant amount of excess skin are amenable to the longer Bra Strap scar. This scar is the most difficult factor to accept when approaching any body contouring procedure. Dr. Trussler will give his honest opinion on the right scar pattern for your individual back contouring procedure and with time and active scar care, these scars will fade. The beauty of a bra strap excision is that the scar can be hidden within the bra strap and bathing suits for coverage.
Many patients do inquire about other body contouring procedures at the time of consultation. Bra Strap Excision is commonly performed in conjunction with chest, breast, abdominal, and/or arm contouring procedures and is typically applied to address outer chest skin excess after abdominal contouring.
Expectations of Upper Back Lift Surgery
Realistic expectations are important when considering Bra Strap Excision surgery. Dr. Trussler will listen to your goals and factor into the extent and location of excess back skin to help come up with a body contouring procedure that is right for you. No matter what incision type of Bra Strap Excision is performed there will be a scar. Scar quality and how the scar heals depends on what is done before, during and after Bra Starp surgery. Choosing the right incision type for your body and Dr. Trussler’s surgical experience to help with scarring, but good nutrition, smoking cessation, avoidance of sun, limiting activity, and active scar care all help to improve the healing process. Dr. Trussler will provide detailed instructions for your Bra Strap Excision procedure.
Upper Back Lift Surgical Procedure
Bra Strap Excision surgery usually takes two hours to complete and is done under general anesthesia in the operating room. The areas of skin excision and the incision placement are typically marked during the pre-operative appointment. The procedure is commonly started with liposuction of the upper back and waist to help thin the fatty deposits of the back and help release the excess skin. Varying lengths of incisions are used to remove skin depending on the type of Bra Strap Excision performed.
Mini Bra Strap Excision
Mini Brachioplasty utilizes an incision in the outer chest breast fold and places the scar in the lower chest or breast fold.
Full Bra Strap Excision
Full Bra Strap Excision utilizes an incision on the upper aspect of the back to remove the skin from within the bra strap which leaves a curved scar in the bra strap region. Ideally, this scar is not visible with a bra or bathing suit on.
Extended Bra Strap Excision (Modified Upper Body Lift)
Extended Bra Strap (Modified Upper Body Lift) combines the curved incision from the central back along the bottom of the chest similar to the full bra strap excision but then extends the incision down along the outer side of the chest to help contour the breast and outer chest. The scar is similar to a full bra strap but crosses into the breast fold and arches down along the breast. This can connect with a central breast and chest scar.
All Bra Strap Excision incisions are closed with two to three layers of absorbable sutures. Drain tubes may rarely be used in the modified upper body lift but are typically not needed in other Bra Strap procedures. Compression garments are used to help limit bruising and swelling after the procedure. Most patients can go home the same day after this procedure.
Recovery and Post-Op Care Upper Back Lift Surgery
After any type of upper back lift procedure, patients will likely experience mild soreness and swelling for a few days. The incisions are typically dressed with surgical glue and compressive foam and ACE wraps are used to help limit swelling and bruising in the area. Surgical drains are typically not used in this procedure unless in some cases of upper body lifts.
The bra straps will be supported in a soft compression garment for about three weeks or until healed. Any stitches will be removed after one or two weeks. Most patients will be able to return to work within a week, although exercise and other strenuous activity should be avoided for about three weeks. Dr. Trussler will provide you with specific instructions for your individual recovery.
The results of an upper back lift are visible immediately after surgery and will continue to improve as swelling subsides and scars fade. The upper back and waist shape will evolve over a three month period especially in the cases of significant skin and fat removal. Scar treatment will be initiated at the 3-week visit and may be continued for 3 to 6 months after the operation, or until the scar softens and fade.