Body Lift Surgery (Belt Lipectomy)

A body lift, also sometimes known as a lower body lift, is a procedure where excess sagging skin and fat from the lower abdomen, hips and lower back is removed to help create an improved profile and shape that is lifted, tighter and more attractive. It is not a weight loss technique; although the tissue removed may weigh several pounds. Instead, it is a contouring procedure that is performed to return you to smoother, firmer, better shaped abdomen, hips and lower back. The thighs and buttocks may be improved with the procedure as well.

This procedure is performed in a certified operating suite under general anesthesia. The incision length and pattern are unique to every patient; but in general, a complete lower body lift requires a circumferential incision around the body at the level of the waist. Through this incision, an apron of excess skin and fat is removed and the remaining skin and tissues are repositioned in a lifted, smoother, tighter manner. The exact incisions necessary will be discussed with you in detail at your consultation with your plastic surgeon.

Liposuction is frequently added as an additional part of surgical body lifts to help further improve shape and contour. Occasionally, a lower body lift may be discussed in place of a thigh lift or as a complementary procedure. Your plastic surgeon will walk you through the various options. Many of these procedures may be safely performed in combination.

THE PREPARATION

It is important to work closely with your plastic surgeon. Be prepared to discuss your expectations and desired outcome. Make sure all of your questions and concerns are addressed. Aspirin, Motrin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and some over-the-counter herbal medications must be discontinued at least 2 weeks prior to surgery. These and other drugs and substances may cause excess bleeding and bruising. You can usually begin taking them again after a week or so. Your plastic surgeon will discuss this in detail with you and you will also be given a sheet with a list of common medicines to avoid for a short period. Your plastic surgeon will detail the risks associated with surgery.

THE RECOVERY

Following your body contouring surgery, bandages will be applied to your incisions. In addition, you may be wrapped in an elastic bandage or compression garment to minimize swelling and to support your tissues as they heal. A couple of small drains may be placed to temporarily drain any excess fluid or blood that may collect. You will be given specific instructions on how to care of your incisions and drains, including any medications that you may need to take. Your plastic surgeon’s office will arrange your follow-up. Drains are typically removed after one to 2 weeks. For most plastic surgeons, there are no sutures to remove. It is most common to use absorbable sutures which melt on their own within a few months. You can shower the next day after your procedure but should stay out of the ocean or pool for a week or so. Moderate swelling and bruising can last up to 1 month. Complete resolution of swelling may take much longer. It is important to avoid strenuous activity for 2-3 weeks after surgery to avoid bleeding complications. You may be asked to avoid heavy lifting for 6 weeks. Most people are able to drive after a few days and can return to office work after a week. The specific risks and the suitability of this lipoplasty procedure for a given individual can be determined only at the time of consultation. All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Minor complications that do not affect the outcome occur occasionally. Major complications are unusual.

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