The lower body lift is the most comprehensive skin tightening technique that is performed on patients with loose and sagging skin around the midsection. The procedure targets excess skin on several areas of the body, including the stomach, flanks, hips, back, and buttocks. Bay Area Plastic Surgeon John R. Griffin has experience performing the lower body lift on patients who have accumulated excess skin in this region.
Lower Body Lift Candidates
The majority of patients who undergo the lower body lift are those who have lost a significant amount of weight from diet, exercise, or bariatric surgery. Upon reaching their goal weight, these patients have an excess of loose and wrinkled skin around the midsection. When a more targeted procedure, such as the traditional or extended tummy tuck, is not expansive enough to tighten and remove all of the accumulated skin, the lower body lift is the appropriate surgical approach.
In order to be considered a suitable candidate for the lower body lift, patients should be within their ideal weight range, in relatively good health, and not smoke (or be willing to quit smoking for a period of time before and after surgery).
Lower Body Lift Techniques
The lower body lift, also called the circumferential body lift, involves the creation of two incisions. The first incision runs from hip to hip across the front of the body, curving down below the bikini line, and then around the backside. The second incision runs along the patient’s front and backside at waist level. These incisions enable Dr. Griffin to tighten the abdominal skin and underlying muscles; remove excess skin on the back, flanks, and buttocks; and allow for moderate tightening of the thighs (patients with more severe skin laxity on the thighs can undergo thigh lift techniques to improve this area).
Lower Body Lift Procedural Steps
Lower body lift surgery is one of the most involved and complicated procedures. It takes four to five hours to perform, and includes the following steps.
- A surgical pen indicates the location of the incisions
- Antibacterial solution is applied to the midsection
- The patient is put under general anesthesia
- The two circumferential incisions are made
- The skin is separated from the muscles
- The muscles are tightened with sutures
- The skin is re-draped to create a smooth appearance, and excess skin is removed
- The skin is sutured together over drains
- Bandages are applied
Lower Body Lift Recovery
Since lower body lift surgery involves a significant removal of skin, it is associated with a longer recovery period than most other plastic surgery procedures. Most patients will take two to three weeks off of work. For the first few days, the patient will rest and take pain medication on schedule. When the patient feels ready, typically within a few days, he or she should take light walks around the house to encourage circulation and reduce the risk of blood clots. As patients heal, they can slowly return to most activities.
During this time, most patients will have drains in place to collect excess fluid. Drains may be removed after about 10 days.
For the first six weeks after surgery, patients should wear a compression garment to reduce the risk of complications and improve post-operative results. Patients should also avoid any strenuous activity at this time.
Lower Body Lift Side Effects
Patients often experience a higher degree of side effects after lower body lift surgery. These side effects include:
Lower Body Lift Risks
Lower body lift is associated with a risk of complications, including:
- Poor reaction to anesthesia
- Blood clots
- Permanent nerve damage and loss of sensation
- Slow wound healing
- Unfavorable scarring
- Excessive bleeding
- Over or under correction
Lower Body Lift Results
Most swelling subsides by six weeks after surgery. It is at this time that patients can truly see the results of the surgery and the skin will have a much smoother appearance. Scars will be visible at this time, but they will continue to fade over the course of the first year after surgery. The results of body lift surgery can be expected to last 10 years or more for patients who maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Lower Body Lift Consultations
To schedule a lower body lift consultation, contact Dr. John Griffin today.