Back Lift Surgery: Are You A Candidate?

Back lift, also known as torsoplasty or back reduction, is a procedure that aims to smooth and contour the back through surgical removal of excess skin and fat. With this procedure, you can permanently reshape your back, although, of course, with time ageing will affect the overall quality of the skin.

In spite of the fact that back lift surgery can effectively get rid of any rolls of skin on the back, scarring remains one of the biggest concerns among patients. In the hands of a good surgeon, however, you might not have to worry too much about it.

What Is A Back Lift?

A back lift is a type of plastic surgery that primarily involves removing excess, hanging skin from the back. It’s an outpatient surgery that’s performed under general anaesthesia and may be combined with other surgical procedures such as liposuction, tummy tuck, and/or breast reduction, lift, or augmentation.

Womans back

It’s important to note that while a back lift can remove both excess skin and fat, it’s not the same as a liposuction. If the rolls on your back are the result of fat deposits, your surgeon might recommend liposuction to address your concerns. However, if it’s excess skin that’s giving the back a “Christmas tree” appearance, a liposuction alone wouldn’t give you satisfactory results.

Who’s A Good Candidate For Back Lift?

People with back rolls who have lost a great deal of weight either through diet or after bariatric surgery may benefit from a back lift surgery. One of the main concerns patients have with them is aesthetics. The conceal the actual contours of the back, turning some to wearing shapewear as a temporary measure.

Woman wearing shapewear

Some might feel self-conscious about the rolls that form when wearing a bra and worry about potential judgment if these rolls were touched during activities such as hugging. Moreover, depending on how much excess skin you have, it might also make having an active lifestyle difficult for you. Rubbing of skin in the folds can also cause inflammation and rashes. If this is the case, you might consider a back lift surgery.

But other than that, in order to be considered a good candidate for back lift surgery, you might also need to be at your ideal weight before the surgery. That’s because if you lose more weight afterwards, you’ll be left with more hanging skin. A body mass index (BMI) of less than 30 might be needed. Additionally, you also need to be in good health to be able to have the surgery.

How Much Is A Back Lift?

In the UK, back lift surgery might cost you somewhere around £10,000. However, the price may vary depending on the:

  • Surgical technique
  • The complexity of the procedure and the areas being addressed
  • The experience and qualifications of the surgeon
  • Location of the clinic
  • Any other procedures you’re getting with the back lift

How Is A Back Lift Done?

Before the surgery, you’ll have a consultation session with your surgeon, who will draw the surgical markings on your back. If you’re getting a “bra line back lift,” where the incision is made along the bra line, the surgeon might also suggest making the markings while you have your bra on.

bare back

That way, they can be more precise in concealing the scar underneath the clothing. After the consultation, you’ll be headed to the operation theatre and given general anaesthesia. As for the procedure itself, there are different techniques, two of which are:

  • Bra-line back lift or bra(strap)plasty – It’s a horizontal torsoplasty in which a horizontal incision is made along the bra-line strap position, and a butterfly-shaped piece of skin is removed, after which the skin is stitched back up.
  • Vertical back lift/torsoplasty – Instead of one horizontal incision, two vertical incisions on the sides of the torso, extending from the armpit and depending on the case, all the way to the top of the hip bone. Therefore, with technique, the scars are more easily concealable.

Your surgeon might place surgical drains on both sides of your back, which may be in place for about a week. However, since it’s outpatient, you can get back to your home or hotel on the same day.

The surgery itself may take anywhere between 3-5 hours, but it can depend on the technique and the size of the target area.

How Long Is The Recovery From A Back Lift?

Recovery from a back lift surgery might take around 2 weeks. However, your aftercare instructions may vary depending on the nature of your job, so make sure to talk to your doctor before going back to work.

You will likely have post-op side effects such as bruising, swelling, pain and numbness after the surgery, but they should get better with time (if not, contact your doctor immediately), and your doctor will probably prescribe medications for their management.

You’ll also be given a compression garment to wear after the surgery to be worn for around a month or so. Since it’s meant to help with the side effects and recovery, it’s important that you follow the instructions of your doctor here as well.

back of a woman

As far as physical activity goes, you may be able to engage in something light after a few weeks, but the gym might have to wait for 1.5 to 2 months. This is also something for which you’ll need to await your doctor’s approval before proceeding.

After about 6 months, when the swelling has resolved, you can see the final contours of your back.


Back lift surgery can certainly be quite effective in improving the overall outline and shape of the back. There are different surgical techniques that can best help you meet your aesthetic goals. And while the results are permanent, keep in mind that ageing and weight fluctuations can still affect them.

If you’re also thinking of having this surgery, make sure to consult a board-certified medical professional who is qualified and has the necessary experience in performing this procedure. Make sure you discuss your needs with them and learn about the procedure itself and its potential complications to make a more informed decision.

Reviewed and approved by Prof. Dr. Fuat Yuksel


Is it painful to get a back lift?

Since a back lift takes place under general anaesthesia, the surgery itself won’t be painful. You can experience pain afterwards, but your doctor can prescribe your medications to help with it.

How do you sleep after back lift surgery?

With the post-operative instructions varying between surgeons, it’s best to talk to your doctor about how you should sleep after a surgical back lift.

What are the scars after a back lift?

Depending on the surgical technique, you might have a horizontal scar across the bra line or vertical scars from your armpit to the hip bone on your back after the lift surgery. Your surgeon will be careful about placing the scars in a way that you can easily hide them. They should also fade with time and help minimise the scarring your surgeon might also recommend silicone gel sheets.

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