Bra-line Back Lift (Thoracoplasty)
Aging and weight fluctuation can lead to rolls and skin folds of the back, even in the fittest patients. Many women are frustrated when they work hard to diet and exercise consistently and their rolls don’t budge. These skin folds occur because there are strong tethering bands from the deep tissue of the back to the skin. When gravity and time inevitably cause skin to sag, the tethered areas create creases and the skin in between forms a roll. Younger women may also notice rolls after weight gain because fat accumulates between the tethered areas. Patients complain that they have difficulty finding clothing that flatters them and hides the skin folds. Many women are too self-conscious to wear bathing suits.
The bra line back lift is a procedure that removes excess skin and eliminates all of the skin folds from the shoulders down to the lower back. The incision goes from inframammary fold (below the breast) on one side to inframammary fold on the other side and is placed so that it can be completely concealed beneath a bra strap, hence the term “bra line back lift.” Some patients also have fullness of the lower back. The bra line back lift can be combined with SAFE liposuction of the lower back to help contour the waist and accentuate the buttocks and hips. For patients with rolls and minimal skin laxity, liposuction of the entire back may be a better option. In this case, the tethering bands are release with a specialized cannula and fat is removed.
The bra line back lift incision is closed with buried dissolvable sutures so no suture removal is necessary. Typically, a drain is not used. Recovery is fairly easy and most patients return to their usual activities very quickly after surgery, just avoiding strenuous exercise in the first few weeks and then gradually resuming full activity.