A lower body lift, also called a “belt lipectomy”, is a procedure used to reshape the abdomen, flanks, buttocks, and thighs. This procedure is significantly more complex than a tummy tuck alone, as it addresses other areas in addition to the abdomen. As our bodies change with time, the skin loses elasticity and characteristic changes in body shape occur. In women this tends to be more noticeable in the inner and out thigh regions and the lower abdomen. Men are somewhat different, with typical changes occurring in the central abdomen and flank regions. This procedure is designed to remove excess or sagging skin and fat around the mid-body region. A body lift restores a more youthful appearance and a more appealing body contour. Liposuction may also be performed in conjunction with a body lift to further sculpt the mid-section.
Reasons to choose a body lift:
There are many components to consider prior to deciding to undergo a body lift. These depend significantly on each individual’s specific body habitus and what they would benefit from the most. On initial consultation, the doctor will discuss what your “concern areas” are and will address each accordingly. In general, the incision is made completely around the waist, excess skin and fat are removed, and the upper thigh, buttocks and abdominal skin are redraped and sutured back together. There is an incision around the belly button, and multiple suction drains may be placed during surgery. The procedure can take up to 6-8 hours depending on the extent of surgery which is tailored to meet each individual’s specific needs.
After surgery, you will be required to wear supportive garments during your recovery. These garments are left on for several weeks, and only removed for showering and cleaning the garments. Supportive garments are worn to minimize bruising and swelling after surgery, they also help to support the healing wounds. Pain is controlled with oral pain medications. Recovery time varies with the extent of the procedure. Patients are encouraged to ambulate the day after surgery, and are usually back to light activity about 7-10 days later. Most are able to return to work full time after about two weeks. It may still take up to three months to fully heal and see the final results. While complications are infrequent, patients can minimize potential problems by following the post-surgical instructions specified by your surgeon. The final results may not be apparent until all swelling has resolved which may take up to a year for this type of procedure
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
The amount of pain that any particular patient will have after surgery is dependent on their pain tolerance, the type of procedure performed, and the methods used by the surgeon to control pain. Postoperative pain is subjective and will vary considerably from person to person. The average patient undergoing a lower body lift procedure will usually require a few days of pain medication to treat the feeling of discomfort. Over a 7 to 10 day period most people resolve the majority of their acute postoperative pain. Although some pain may persist after this period of time, it is usually not severe enough to require significant doses of pain medication.
The scar created by a Lower Body Lift goes around the entire trunk in the shape of a “thong bikini”. Scarring quality is variable and mostly dependent on the patient’s genetic makeup. It is usually covered by the patient’s underwear, although not in all cases.
Immediately after surgery some patients will have a feeling of tightness in the abdomen, sides and back. There will be swelling and obviously pain as discussed above. Most patients have to walk slightly bent at the waist for at least one week, if not longer. Because this is an extensive operation, most patients will need a few weeks to regain their strength and activity level.
Almost all body lift procedures are performed under general anesthesia. Some plastic surgeons will combine the general anesthetic with epidural anesthesia, mostly to manage postoperative pain. It is important that the facility that the procedure is performed in is an accredited facility where the type of anesthesia utilized is allowed.
Usually patients will have drains, plastic tubes that drain blood and body fluids, from the areas that were operated on. They will stay in place for a variable amount of time, from a few days to weeks
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