If you’ve lost a good deal of weight or simply have more sagging skin on your lower body than you want, a lower body lift with Dr. Saltz could be a great procedure for you. A lower body lift is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen, hips, outer thighs, and buttocks. The procedure creates a dramatic transformation of the mid and lower body.
What Is a Lower Body Lift?
Clinically known as a belt lipectomy, a lower body lift begins with the incision used in a tummy tuck, but rather than stretching from hip bone to hip bone the incision wraps around the entire lower body in a circumferential method. Once Dr. Saltz has made the incision he removes fat, tightens underlying muscles where appropriate, and removes excess skin. A lower body lift is basically a combination of a tummy tuck, thigh lift, and a buttock lift.
Who Is a Good Candidate for a Lower Body Lift?
A lower body lift addresses sagging skin more than fat removal. These are the characteristics of a good candidate for this procedure:
- You have lost a significant amount of weight. The weight loss can be from gastric bypass surgery or lifestyle changes, but it has left you with sagging skin that can no longer tighten down to your new slimmer body contour.
- You have loose skin around the abdomen, outer thighs, and buttocks. This loose skin can be the result of weight loss, pregnancy and childbirth, or simple aging.
- Your overhanging, loose skin is restricting movement, or is chafing and leading to painful rashes and possible infection.
- You have relatively thin layers of fat below the skin in the hips, thighs, abdomen, and buttocks.
- Your weight has been stable for at least a year, and you don’t plan on losing any additional weight. Ideally, a patient should wait two years after a massive weight-loss program to allow the skin to shrink back down as much as possible.
Lower Body Lift vs. Liposuction
The goals are different for each procedure. While both aim to give the patient a slimmer contour, a lower body lift specifically targets loose, sagging skin. Liposuction removes unwanted fat pockets, but doesn’t remove sagging skin. In most lower body lift procedures, Dr. Saltz will add liposuction to remove fat pockets in certain areas.
How Is a Lower Body Lift Performed?
A lower body lift involves extensive surgery, basically combining three surgeries into a single procedure. A lower body lift changes the buttocks, abdomen, waist, hips, and thighs during one surgery, making for a single recovery period. During your consultations with Dr. Saltz, the two of you will discuss your incision preferences, but the incision locations depend heavily on how much extra skin needs to be removed and where it is located. You will also discuss the degree to which liposuction will be included to remove pockets of fat in the various areas. This is especially true in the abdomen area.
While there are variations depending on the needs of each patient, this is a general blueprint for a lower body lift:
- Dr. Saltz will first mark the incision lines with you standing in front of a mirror. This will mark the upper and lower boundaries where skin and tissue will be removed. The goal is to make the incision as low as possible to allow the future scar to be hidden beneath clothing.
- The incision made is basically where a full tummy tuck incision is made, from hip bone to hip bone, sagging lower in the middle. But this incision wraps around the entire body, making a full oval. Below this incision, Dr. Saltz removes a section of excess skin and fat. He then repositions and tightens the underlying tissues, so as not to put too much strain on the surface incision (this can stretch the scar).
- With the patient on his or her side or stomach, the lower skin on the buttocks and thighs is then pulled upward to connect with the initial incision. The underlying tissues will be suspended and tightened. This completes the back and sides.
- When addressing the patient’s front, there are two options: combine a lower body lift with a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), or combine a lower body lift with an inner thigh lift. The second option is more likely if the patient doesn’t have excess abdominal skin or has already had a tummy tuck. These options will also be discussed during your consultation.
- Once the abdomen and inner thighs have been addressed, Dr. Saltz closes your incision in multiple layers, again to control stretching. The key here is to place deep support sutures within the underlying tissues. Drains are then placed where needed to minimize fluid buildup.
What Will My Lower Body Lift Recovery Entail?
A lower body lift is a major surgery involving large areas of the body. You’ll likely spend at least two days in the hospital. You can expect a recovery of 4-8 weeks, depending on the variations in your procedure. Patients will need to miss work for 3-4 weeks, and are advised not to drive for one full month. One key component of your recovery is to wear compression garments diligently for the weeks prescribed after your surgery. These garments help reduce swelling, support the suspended tissues, and smooth and flatten the skin.
It’s important to plan on having full time help at home for the first two weeks post surgery. You can’t do any lifting or pushing for 4-6 weeks. If you have small children a spouse, friend, or relative will need to fully take care of them for at least two weeks.
This is not an easy recovery, but you have to remember you’re only dealing with a single recovery despite having basically three procedures done at once.
What Will Scarring Be Like Post Surgery?
Your scarring is permanent and will look quite angry at first, but these scars will fade in about 12 months. Dr. Saltz will do all he can to place the incisions where the scars can be hidden under clothing.
How Long Will My Results Last?
The incredible changes made with your lower body lift surgery are permanent. Your scars will fade and your skin will tighten down to its new, much slimmer contours. Your tummy will be flatter, and your thighs and buttocks higher and firmer. As you age, your skin will relax somewhat naturally, but this is happening all over your body.
Your new slimmer contours can define a new you, especially if you commit to a new healthier lifestyle of exercise and better dietary choices.