Lower Body Lift
While losing a large amount of weight via exercise and diet, or bariatric (weight loss) surgery, is an accomplishment, it may come with unwanted side effects. It is not uncommon for weight loss patients to have leftover, loose skin that no longer contracts well over the body following their surgery. This loose skin can hang over the body, creating an unattractive appearance or even causing physical discomfort. The only effective solution for loose skin is surgical treatment.
Lower body lift, also known as belt lipectomy, removes excess, sagging skin and fat and improves the underlying tissues for smoother and sexier body contours. The plastic surgeons in the Franciscan Health network are skilled and experienced in performing lower body lift surgery on the thighs, buttocks, abdomen, waist and hips to restore a pleasant appearance.
Lower Body Lift Candidates
Lower body lift is ideal for patients who have excess, loose skin due to a significant amount of weight (either through diet and exercise or bariatric surgery), genetics or the natural aging process. The skin may appear on the hips, sides and fronts of the thighs, inner thighs, abdomen and lower back. Candidates may also experience frequent chafing, rashes or infections from the overhanging skin.
Patients should be close to their ideal weight, be in good overall health and not smoke. They should also have realistic expectations from lower body lift, and understand the risks and possible complications that come with surgery. Prior to surgery, the plastic surgeon will discuss the details of the procedure, including risks and possible complications, in detail.
About the Procedure
A lower body lift is typically performed as an outpatient procedure, under general anesthesia. The specific details of the procedure will depend on the patient’s unique needs and goals. For instance, liposuction may be performed in conjunction with a lower body lift in order to remove stubborn fat deposits that are resistant to weight loss efforts. Incorporating liposuction can also achieve smoother contours in the lower body. The incision patterns used will depend on the specific treatment areas. For a thigh lift, an incision may be made in the inner thigh to excise loose skin and pull the remaining skin taut. To remove skin and fat in the buttocks, waist, hips and thighs, an incision will be made in a pattern similar to a bikini line. The surgeon will reposition the underlying tissues and pull the skin taut before closing the incisions with sutures or stitches. The treatment area will be dressed with bandages and a compression garment will be placed on top to support the healing tissues. Drains may be placed at the incisions to draw out fluids.
Recovering from a Lower Body Lift
Patients should expect to take one to two weeks off from work and their regular routine. During this time, patients may notice swelling and bruising in the treatment area. Tenderness and soreness are normal and can be alleviated with oral pain medication. Strenuous activities, including exercise, bending and lifting heavy objects, should be avoided. Over time, the incision scars will fade, and most of them can be concealed by natural skin creases and clothing. Once the residual swelling has gone away and patients are fully healed, they will notice a smaller figure and more attractive contours.