A lower body lift is a combination of surgical procedures done to remove excess skin and fat that is leftover from weight loss. Significant weight loss from strict diet and exercise or by bariatric surgery often leads to large amounts of excess, drooping skin and some fat in the abdominal, flank, and back areas that cannot be repaired except by surgery. A lower body lift uses a circumferential incision, usually placed lower than a belt lipectomy incision. A belt lipectomy addresses the waistline, whereas a lower body lift addresses the waistline and lifts up sagging buttocks and lateral thighs. Through a horizontal incision on the lower abdomen and hips, continuing around the back circumferentially – excess skin and subcutaneous fat are removed from the abdomen and lower back. Also through this incision, abdominal wall muscles are sutured together to improve abdominal contour and finally the buttock and lateral thighs are lifted up to a more appropriate location. This “lift” of the lower body has the secondary benefit of improving the contour of the lateral thighs. There are no sutures to remove as they are all internal. The resultant scars are a horizontal scar all the way around the waistline and a small scar around the belly button. Surgical drains are usually used. The total operating room time varies depending on the number of additional body contouring procedures such as liposuction and/or brachioplasty. At Gulf Coast Plastic Surgery, the lower body lift surgery is performed by Drs. Butler, Leveque, and Patterson, as members of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the Florida Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Medical Association, and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS,) your doctor is uniquely suited to performing this surgery. This superior level of expertise, coupled with an innate ability to understand and relate to patients, makes Gulf Coast Plastic Surgery the premier center for cosmetic, plastic, and reconstructive surgery in the Gulf Coast area.

Typical Timing/Age

25-60 years old

Problem

Excess skin and subcutaneous fat of the abdomen & lower back as well as falling (lax) buttocks and lateral thighs.

Goal

To improve lower body, buttock and lateral thigh contour.

Facility

An outpatient surgical center or hospital.

Preparation

The first step of planning your lower body lift surgery is a consultation with your doctor. The timing of the surgery can be important since there is some recovery time involved. Discuss your lifestyle and obligations with your doctor to determine the best way to achieve a peaceful surgery and an optimum recovery. It is important to note it is recommended that patients be at a stable weight and healthy. Patients should be at a stable weight, healthy, nutritionally-replete with good protein stores and cannot be using any nicotine-containing substances. Preparation for a lower body lift procedure may take as long as a couple of weeks, depending on a patient’s current lifestyle. your doctor will need to see a complete list of current medications – including herbal supplements – before the surgery. Some of these medications, for example, aspirin, may need to be discontinued for anywhere from a few days to a week prior to the surgery. Patients are encouraged to have reached a weight loss plateau for a minimum of 3 months, preferably 6 months.  Your doctor will work with you to combine the best lower body lift techniques based on your specific body and your goals.

Anesthesia

General anesthesia

Procedure

The lower body lift removes excess skin and remaining fat from the waistline and lifts up sagging buttocks and lateral thighs. Abdominal wall muscles may be sutured together to improve contour and the buttock and lateral thighs are lifted up. Surgical drains are typically used.

Recovery

In most cases, patients go home after surgery. No hospital stay is required. Drain tubes are usually removed 7-10 days post-op. Sutures are dissolvable so no suture removal is required. Most patients return to non-strenuous work 2 weeks following surgery. Most swelling is typically gone within 3-6 months with bruising subsiding around 2-3 weeks.

Positioning

After a lower body lift, you will need to be cognizant of undue tension on the incision because bending forward or backward may place too much tension on the back or front incisions, respectively.

Assistance

You will need someone to help take care of you after surgery as you will not be able to lift children, heavy items, etc.

Walking After Surgery

You are encouraged to walk around as much as possible to help reduce the risk of DVT and thromboembolism.

Showering

After 48 hours you should remove your dressings and take a shower.

Exercise

2 weeks for light exercise. 4 weeks for regular exercise. 6 weeks for abdominal exercises.

Sex

Wait 4 weeks because you don’t want to stress your incisions or increase your blood pressure during the early healing period.

Work

1-2 weeks depending on your type of work.

Swelling

Can persist for 3-6 months

Bruising

Usually subsides after 2-3 weeks

Risks & Complications

Hematoma, Seroma, Infection, Poor scarring, Dehiscence, Delayed wound healing, Skin necrosis, Asymmetry, Numbness, Thromboembolism, Contour irregularities, Need for revision, Complications related to anesthesia.

Lower Body Lift

 

Performed by: Dr. Butler, Dr. Leveque, Dr. Patterson

*Cosmetic Surgery National Data Bank: Statistics 2013. (2014). Aesthetic Surgery Journal / the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 34(1 suppl), 1S-22S.doi:10.1177/1090820X14542571

 

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