A lower body lift is a surgical procedure performed by our plastic surgeon to remove excess skin and fat from the abdomen, hips, and lower back, to lift the buttocks and outer thighs and to tighten the underlying muscles of the abdominal wall. This comprehensive procedure is normally performed after an individual loses excessive weight, either through their own weight loss plan or after gastric bypass or bariatric surgery.
Significant weight loss over a short period of time (12-18 months) can cause the skin to lose elasticity, causing large amounts of excess hanging skin which affect personal appearance and personal hygiene.
- Best Candidates for Body Lift
- What to Expect at Your Consultation
- How a Body Lift is Performed
- Recovery from Body Lift
Best Candidates for Body Lift
The best candidates for the procedure are men and women who have lost large amounts of weight, are close to their total weight loss goal and are bothered by loose skin in the abdomen, hips, thighs, under arms and buttocks.
While a body lift will accomplish major reshaping of the body, patients who have undergone extensive weight loss or gastric bypass surgery usually have numerous areas of concern and may require several procedures.
Procedures such as breast lift and/or breast augmentation address the loss of breast volume and droopiness; arm lift addresses hanging skin under the arms, thigh lift addresses loose skin of the inner and outer thighs and, lastly, facelift and eyelid procedures treat loose skin around the face and eyes.
What to Expect at Your Consultation
At an initial consultation with Dr. James Matas, you will have the opportunity to discuss concerns you have about your figure and the goals you’d like to achieve through plastic surgery. To determine whether you are indeed a good candidate for body lift surgery (and potentially other ancillary procedures), Dr. Matas will examine the areas of excess skin, perform a review of your medical history, and assess your overall physical and emotional health. You will likely be asked to provide information about prior surgeries, medical conditions (past and current), pregnancies, and any plans to become pregnant in the future. Also, be ready to list all of the supplements, vitamins, and herbs you take, along with any prescription and over-the-counter medications you are on. It is important for Dr. Matas to be aware of anything you are taking that can impact your blood pressure and clotting abilities. Knowing the frequency of your alcohol consumption and tobacco use are also very important, as these substances can have a significant effect on your ability to heal following this type of plastic surgery procedure.
Our practice also uses the Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine candidacy for procedures such as body lift, liposuction, and tummy tuck. BMI is calculated using your height and weight measurements, and the CDC provides an online BMI calculator that can make it easy to obtain your BMI. To be a suitable candidate for the previously mentioned body contouring procedures your BMI must be 30 or under. Having a BMI of 30 or less provides the best outcome both from a safety and aesthetic perspective. If your BMI is higher, Dr. Matas prefers to conduct his initial consult when you are at 30 or close to this ideal BMI.
After reviewing your medical history, Dr. Matas will consider the condition of your anatomy and evaluate your priorities to develop a comprehensive body contouring plan that aligns with your desired outcome.
How a Body Lift is Performed
First, incisions are made beginning at the back of the waist in the lower back region.
Excess skin and fat are removed from the back area, and drains are placed beneath the skin to control excess fluids and swelling. Heavy-duty sutures close and tighten the affected areas. Once the new contour has been achieved from the back, you are turned over to address the front abdominal area.
Next, the incision is carried around from the back area over each hip. An extension of this incision extends from hipbone to hipbone and is positioned just above the pubic area. The last incision is made around the navel.
In order to access the musculature of the abdominal wall, the skin and fat layer must be lifted from about the pubic hairline to just beneath the bra line. Using permanent sutures, these muscles can be repaired and/or tightened. The lifted skin and fat is then stretched back down over the muscle and the excess is removed. The navel can then be repositioned and stitched into place. Drainage tubes are positioned beneath the skin to minimize fluid buildup. Finally, the incisions are closed carefully using several layers of sutures and surgical staples.
A sterile dressing is applied over the incisions, and an abdominal binder is placed around your waist. This binder helps support your incisions during healing, decreases swelling and holds your abdominal muscles in a supportive manner.
Lower body lift surgery takes about 6 – 7 hours to perform under general anesthesia. It is performed in our accredited surgical facility or a hospital, and requires an overnight stay with an experienced nurse monitoring you and your medications.
Recovery from Body Lift
To reduce swelling and discomfort during the first several weeks, our licensed massage therapist will utilize a special massage technique that can help release fluid and increase mobility.
Most patients feel well enough to return to light work within two weeks. Bruising and swelling should continue to subside over several weeks, and as this happens your levels of activity and exercise can gradually be increased. You should abstain from vigorous exercise for six to eight weeks post-op.
Initially, your scars will appear red; however, they should lighten in color and flatten over the first year. You should avoid direct sun and tanning beds to prevent visible scar tissue from darkening. Body lift scarring is permanent, but it can usually can be hidden under most clothing and bathing suit styles.
Your New Look
After body lift surgery, you will notice a dramatic improvement to your body shape and contour, specifically in the hips, thighs, back and abdomen. With 5 to 15 pounds of extra skin removed, you will feel lighter and be able to move around more freely. Your physical activity level will increase, as well as your motivation to be socially and personally active.