A Lower Body Lift is a single surgical procedure designed to rejuvenate the central third of the body. The procedure flattens the stomach, elevates the thighs and buttocks, and contours the hips. At the same time, a Lower Body Lift also removes skin circumferentially along the bikini line and is one of the most effective plastic surgery procedures for improving the appearance of the body after weight loss.
Good candidates for Lower Body Lift surgery are patients who have developed much laxity along the abdomen, lower torso, buttocks, and upper thighs. The typical patient is a formerly obese person who has achieved a more normal Body Mass Index (BMI), though non-weight loss patients may have the surgery as well. To be considered for surgery, a patient should be in good health, any medical issues should be well controlled, and he/she should be a non-smoker.
A Lower Body Lift flattens and smoothes the abdomen. During the procedure, an incision is made along the lower abdomen and around the edge of the belly button. The abdominal muscles are tightened from the rib cage down to the pelvis creating an internal corset. This tightening of the muscle layer is essential for creating a flat, contoured abdomen. Excess skin is then redraped downward, removed, and sutured as a fine line. The umbilicus (belly button) remains attached to the abdominal wall and a new opening is made for it. A Lower Body Lift also raises the pubic region, rejuvenating this area as well.
A Lower Body Lift improves the appearance of the thighs by elevating the skin and soft tissues. The benefit is most directly observed along the outer thighs where the upward pull can be the greatest. The effect of removing extra skin and elevating the soft tissue is a smoother, thinner thigh with less wrinkles and cellulite. The extra skin is removed along the bikini line incision.
Redundant fat and skin along the flanks are a common area of concern. Many women and men complain about this hanging over the top of their pants. A Lower Body Lift will directly remove this extra skin and fat creating a more contoured, hour glass figure for women and reduces the flanks for men.
During a Lower Body Lift, the buttocks are elevated and smoothes the skin, while reducing cellulite and wrinkles. Some weight loss patients have a paucity of tissue in this area. While a Lower Body Lift elevates and smoothes buttocks, it may also lead to a flattened appearance. For this reason, some patients may benefit from a buttock augmentation using their own tissue. This can be performed at the same time as a Lower Body Lift.
Liposuction only removes fat. It does not tighten the skin, and it does not improve cellulite. A Lower Body Lift both tightens the skin and improves cellulite. There are also times when irregularities of the thighs appear as fat deposits. However, for many patients this is actually a result of loose skin. This can be especially true following weight loss. For such patients elevating the skin resolves the issue. For others who may have excess fat deposits in addition to loose skin, liposuction maybe considered during the Lower Body Lift surgery.
A Lower Body Lift is a significant surgery. The surgery is performed in the hospital under general anesthesia. Patients will spend two nights in the hospital following Lower Body Lift surgery.
As with any plastic surgery, the recovery following a Lower Body Lift is a gradual process. After two nights in the hospital, patients will go home. During the week following surgery, it is important to rest and relax. It is beneficial to have someone for support and help during this period. During the second week following surgery, patients may begin to lightly progress their activity and will be able to take care of themselves. Most patients will take two to three weeks off from work, depending upon their occupation.
Six weeks following a Lower Body Lift, patients can start to resume exercise. Dr. Shuster recommends that patients start back slowly. While some may be impatient to get back to their routine, a Lower Body Lift covers a large area and it is important to allow these areas to heal.
Healthy living and nutrition are basic tenants of a quality lifestyle. Patients should pay special attention to these factors before and after surgery, to promote postoperative healing.Regardless of the amount of skin to be removed during a Lower Body Lift, Dr. Shuster's goal is to place the incisions as inconspicuously as possible. To accomplish this, he creates a bikini line pattern around the torso so the resulting scar can be easily concealed by swimwear or panties. Dr. Shuster also uses specific plastic surgery techniques that keep all of the sutures under the skin so the final result will be as fine a line as possible. The most important way for a patient to learn about the final results of a Lower Body Lift is to see many before and after images. Please visit our gallery.
As with any surgery, complications are possible following Lower Body Lift surgery. General risks include bleeding and infection. All of Dr. Shuster's Lower Body Lift patients receive prophylactic, intravenous antibiotics prior to surgery in the most clinically established protocol to prevent surgical site infection. The most common complication unique to Lower Body Lift surgery is the development of a seroma. A seroma is an accumulation of fluid under the skin at the site of surgery. This occurs in approximately twenty to thirty percent of Lower Body Lift patients. It is considered a minor complication and typically resolves with no long term effect following treatment in the office. Other complications following Lower Body Lift surgery are possible and are discussed in detail during preoperative appointments.