What is a Lower Body Lift after Weight Loss?
A lower body lift after weight loss is a plastic surgery procedure, and there is much debate as to whether it is a cosmetic or a reconstructive plastic surgery. The lower body lift improves the shape and tone of the underlying tissue that supports fat and skin. It also removes excess sagging fat and skin.
A lower body lift after massive weight loss restores the normalcy of body contours in a way that exercise alone cannot do. Excess sagging fat and skin are removed to treat conditions caused in part by poor tissue elasticity. A body lift is one of the most common body contouring procedures after massive weight loss.
As described in the book Body Contouring Surgery after Weight Loss (required reading!!), a lower body lift after weight loss surgery is a combination of plastic surgery procedures. Although technique will vary by plastic surgeon, the lower body lift typically corrects a sagging abdomen, the contours of a groin that may sag into the inner thigh, buttocks that are low, flat, or unevenly shaped, and the outer and posterior thighs.
Typically the lower body lift treats sagging buttocks, abdomen, waist, hips, and outer thighs in one plastic surgery. However, some plastic surgeons may stage the procedures. Incision patterns vary but commonly a circumferential incision around the body is used to remove the “belt” of excess skin and fat.
Often, the procedure is called a belt lipectomy or circumferential body lift. Whatever the name, with this one incision the body lift is a comprehensive plastic surgery that can produce dramatic improvements in appearance and functional movement.
Who is a Candidate for a Lower Body Lift after Weight Loss?
A lower body lift after weight loss may be appropriate for an adult who has maintained a stable weight after bariatric surgery or has achieved major weight loss from dieting. You may read all about my body lift, “Plastic Surgery with Dr. Joseph F. Capella.”
Good candidates for a body lift plastic surgery are people who are healthy and without medical conditions that may impair healing or increase risk of surgery. Women who are not going to become pregnant. People who do not smoke or have diabetes or heart problems. People with significant visceral fat and sagging skin in the lower body. And finally, people who can afford the $12-15k cost of a body lift, whereas the plastic surgery often is considered cosmetic and not covered by medical insurance.
What to Expect from a Lower Body Lift Recovery
Body lifts require an extensive incision. The circumferential incision around the body removes an apron of excess skin and fat and tighten the abdomen, groin, waist, buttocks, and thighs. Your plastic surgeon will try to place this in areas covered by most panties and swimsuits. Again, the technique varies by plastic surgeon, but one common incision pattern resembles the outline of a bikini.
Deep support sutures in the underlying muscles help to form the new contours of the body after a body lift plastic surgery. Sutures, skin adhesives, tapes or clips close the incisions. Pain is to be expected and can be controlled with medication.
Initial wound healing may take 7-14 days. You will be ready to return to work after two-three weeks unless you have a job that involves heavy lifting or vigorous activity. Healing will continue for several months as swelling dissipates and incision lines improve.
What to Expect from Lower Body Lift Results
The results of a body lift are visible almost immediately. However, it will take at least 6-months, and may take as much as one to two years, for the final results of the body lift procedures to fully develop.
There is no other method of body contouring that can restore body shape, skin appearance, and skin tone as effectively as a body lift.
You may wish to read, “18 Insider Tips on Plastic Surgery.” As well, visit the American Society of Plastic Surgeons website to view a gallery of body lift before and after photos and or view my body lift before and after photos. There are several good online patient communities where you can discuss body lift after weight loss with people just like you. These communities include the plastic surgery support forums on BariatricPal, ThinnerTimes, ObesityHelp, as well as the body lift reviews on RealSelf.
Living larger than ever,
My Bariatric Life