What is a lower body lift? This procedure sculpts the abdomen, flanks, buttocks, lower back and outer thighs to correct loose or sagging skin following massive weight loss. An incision is extended like a belt around the lower abdomen, sides and back to help address loose skin in all of these regions. This procedure can dramatically improve the contour of the waistline following massive weight loss.
A lower body lift may be combined with several other procedures following massive weight loss:
- Breast lift (mastopexy). Patients with excess breast skin and downward-pointing nipples may wish to consider a breast lift or mastopexy to raise the breast tissue and nipples to a more youthful position. This is particularly common in individuals who have undergone massive weight loss.
- StratticeTM-assisted breast augmentation and breast lift (augmentation mastopexy). Some patients may benefit from additional breast volume, tightening of the breast skin, and repositioning of the nipples to a more youthful position. This may be best achieved with both a breast lift and a breast augmentation at the same time – the so-called augmentation mastopexy. Unfortunately, the breast skin quality is often poor following massive weight loss, making it less likely to support the weight of a breast implant. To prevent the breast implants from dropping down too far, or “bottoming out,” a material known as acellular dermal matrix or StratticeTM is placed as an internal hammock to support the implant and reduce the chances of bottoming out. Strattice can also be used to correct post-surgical bottoming out and some other breast deformities if these have already occurred.
- Male breast reduction (for gynecomastia). Male breasts can also develop loose, droopy skin after weight loss. This form of gynecomastia is usually treated with a combination of excess skin removal and Vaser ultrasound-assisted liposuction.
- Buttock augmentation. The lower body lift may flatten the appearance of the buttocks. To correct this, buttock augmentation – typically performed with fat grafting – can be an option for the patient.
- Total body lift. Although the lower body lift will address the front, sides, and the buttocks, it does not address redundant skin in the armpit and bra strap areas. To correct these areas, a second incision extending from a male or female breast lift through the armpit region and to the bra strap areas is performed. This upper body lift will tighten loose skin in these areas, and when combined with a lower body lift comprises the so-called total body lift. The total body lift is the most powerful cosmetic procedure available to contour the trunk after massive weight loss.
Anesthesia: A lower body lift is performed with the patient under general anesthesia.
Length of procedure: 4 to 5 hours.
Estimated recovery time: You can return to work after 4 to 6 weeks and should avoid vigorous activities for 6 to 8 weeks. Visible bruising should clear up within 2 weeks, and swelling begins to resolve within 4 weeks. To learn how to prepare for a lower body lift and what to expect afterwards, click here to download our patient instructions.
Side effects: Common side effects include bruising, swelling, a few spitting sutures, and some numbness, itching, and spasm of the abdomen, lower back, and sides. Drain tubes lasting 10 to 30 days are placed, and you will be required to walk gently flexed at the waist for about 5 days after surgery. An injectable blood thinner called Lovenox® is generally used for at least 10 days after surgery to prevent blood clots. On occasion, delays in wound healing may occur. Click here to download a detailed consent form from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons that lists the risks and benefits of body lift procedures.
Before-and-after photos of body lift results: Click here
To schedule a consultation with one of our plastic surgeons, contact our St. Louis office by phoning 314-996-8800, requesting your consultation online, or emailing us today.