Lower Body Lift
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 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 can I prepare for a lower body lift?
Preparation for this surgery is mostly about preparing for your recovery. When Dr. Saltz combines a tummy tuck, thigh lift, and buttock lift into a single surgery session, you’ll be happy there’s only a single recovery, but that recovery will be involved. You need to prepare for that.
First, you’ll stop taking anti-inflammatory medications, aspirin, blood thinners, and most supplements because they can all lead to increased bleeding. If you smoke, you’ll need to stop at least six weeks prior to and for a few weeks after, as smoking impacts your circulation negatively, which impedes healing. Better yet just stop for good as a part of these major changes you’re making.
Before you can have a lower body lift with Dr. Saltz, your weight will need to be stable for a few months. If you’ve had bariatric surgery, we will work with your bariatric surgeon to determine weight goals and final weight plateaus. This is important because extra weight loss will only create additional sagging, loose skin down the road.
You’ll need to plan for someone to drive you to your surgery and drive you back home afterward. And then you’ll need someone to help out for at least a week, better yet two.
If you have young children, you need complete help with them for at least two weeks. You won’t be able to lift anything much heavier than your TV remote for a few weeks. You won’t be able to climb stairs. No laundry. No cleaning. You need to take it completely easy, preferably for two full weeks, and then take it slowly from there.
You’ll need to prepare your recovery nest. If you sleep upstairs, this will likely need to be downstairs. Make this area as comfortable as possible. Stock it with the remote, like many good books as you can find, lots of pillows, and a comforter or two.
Anything you need to do, from filling your pain medication prescription to any household matters, needs to be completed before you head in for your surgery. You should have nothing to do and little to worry or stress about when you return home.
To that end, elicit meals from friends and relatives that can be frozen and used. You can make these beforehand, too, of course, but that’s much less fun! Fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins assist in healing, so the fridge should have plenty of them. Salt increases swelling, so avoid it.
Bottom line? Think of making your recovery as comfortable and as easy as possible. That will guarantee the best final results. After all, you’ve been through, why rush things?
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 push 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 results can I expect from my lower body lift?
Your results will be immediately visible, despite the swelling and bruising. They will continue to slim down as your swelling resolves. Still, your body needs time to adjust to the new, much slimmer you; this can take up to two full years to fully be realized. Your muscles need to adapt to their new positions, your skin tightens down as much as possible, and your scars begin to fade.
A lower body lift is typically the final piece of the puzzle for people who have gained and then lost a great deal of weight. The weight has been gone, whether through bariatric surgery or not, but the loose, sagging skin that remained was completely depressing. This trio of procedures that address the abdomen, thighs, and buttocks gets rid of the extra loose skin, bringing it in line with your new slimmer contour beneath.
How long will my results from a lower body lift last?
These are permanent changes. The excess skin and fat Dr. Saltz have removed are gone for good. As your body adapts to its slimmer contours, everything will continue to firm and tighten. All of this doesn’t have an expiration date. If you maintain a healthy weight, make exercise and movement a part of your life, eat a nutritional diet, and make real changes in your life, you’ll enjoy the new slimmer, firmer you for the rest of your life. Our patients usually redefine who they are through their new slimmer selves. How great is that?
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.
What are the potential risks involved with a lower body lift?
These are major surgeries. All of the risks that are part of any surgery apply to lower body lifts: poor wound healing, reaction to anesthesia, excessive bleeding, infection, fluid accumulation, and fat necrosis.
Particular to the three procedures involved with lower body lifts, these are the risks:
- Numbness or other changes in sensation due to the muscle and tissue repositioning
- Pain that persists
- Recurrent looseness of areas of skin
- Persistent swelling in the legs
- Skin discoloration and/or prolonged swelling
- Asymmetry of results
- Uneven incision healing
- The possible need for revision surgery
- Development of blood clots
Is a body lift surgery safe?
There is some risk involved with a major surgery like a lower body lift; there is no getting around that. But there is more risk in first not losing the weight, and second, not losing the loose sagging skin after you have gone through bariatric surgery.
This is where Dr. Saltz, as a board-certified plastic surgeon with decades of experience, makes a difference for his patients. Because he has extensive experience in reconstructive surgery, along with cosmetic surgery, large-scale procedures such as a lower body lift are not new to him. His training, expertise, and experience are something our patients from Salt Lake City, Park City, and other locales the world over rely on to deliver exactly the results they hoped to achieve with their surgeries.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
If you’re interested in learning more about body lift surgery please contact us today. We will discuss your needs and concerns, and determine your best course of action.