Introduction to Body Lift Surgery
Body lift surgery includes upper body lift procedures (see arm lift and breast uplift/male breast reduction), a lower body lift (often called a belt lipectomy that targets the lower back, upper thighs, groin area and lower stomach) and inner thigh lift. These procedures are designed to remove the excess skin and fat that often remains after significant weight loss. Sthetix offer many different individual upper body lift procedures that include the ones mentioned above as well as a single lower body lift surgery.
The lower body lift consists of an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) that extends to also remove the skin around the hips and back. The procedure lifts up the pubic area, outer thighs and the buttocks, getting rid of excess skin in the abdomen and back. This can leave you with tighter skin and muscle, eliminating hygiene issues and resulting in a more toned and healthy appearance.
Who is suitable?
Many of our patients who come to us for lower body lift surgery have recently lost a significant amount of weight (either through diet and exercise or weight loss/bariatric surgery) and are left with excess skin around the stomach, hips, thighs and back. The lower body lift surgery is a major procedure that carries more risks than most and as a result, we’d like to make sure that you are fully prepared.
Due to the weight loss that often occurs before the surgery, we like to ensure that our patients are not malnourished. We may therefore check a patient’s nutritional status and overall health to make sure that their body can heal properly after the procedure. It is also important that you have maintained a stable weight for at least 12 months.
Before lower body lift surgery
Before surgery, there are several things we require so that your procedure goes as smoothly as possible.
One of the most important things is to stop smoking as smoke introduces toxins into the blood that can increase the risk of healing problems, skin loss and complications. We also ask that smokers stop at least 6 weeks before their surgery date and don’t start again until wounds have completely healed.
We also ask patients who are undergoing this procedure to stop taking oral contraceptive pills (alternative methods are fine), aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs. This is because some of those pills can increase the risk of bleeding. And finally, we ask that patients do not take off-the-shelf herbal medicines or nutritional supplements.
To ensure that you are fully prepared for the surgery, we will ask you to attend a medical examination at a pre-operative assessment clinic where certain tests may be carried out to ensure your safety during anaesthesia and surgery.
The procedure and risks
This procedure is carried out under a general anaesthetic, lasts 3-5 hours and usually requires a 2-3 night hospital stay.
A lower body lift involves an abdominoplasty that extends around to the hips and back. During this procedure, excess skin and fat is removed from the stomach, hips and back and that in turn lifts the pubic area, outer thighs and buttocks. During this surgery, we will try to make sure that the scars are in areas hidden beneath underwear. Sometimes liposuction alongside this surgery can be a very useful tool to remove excess fat and ensure an even result and desirable body shape.
Due to incisions being all the way around body, this procedure carries a higher risk of complications than most surgeries. After the surgery, it is normal to expect some bruising but other risks can include infection, bleeding, haematoma, pain, wound breakdown, asymmetry, wrinkles and folds of skin, skin loss, unevenness and wide, lumpy, red or visible scars.
Aftercare and results
As your wellbeing is our number one priority we offer a comprehensive and personalised aftercare package, all included in your treatment.
After you are discharged, we will provide you with post-operative care instructions and you will have 24-hour access to trained staff that will be on hand to advise you should you have any questions or concerns.
After the surgery, we will arrange appointments for follow-up examinations with your surgeon to monitor your progress and check that you are recovering well (it usually takes 4-6 weeks to recover and heal from this procedure).
2 weeks after surgery, one of our trained staff will see you and check on your progress. Your surgeon will see you after 6 weeks for a follow-up and (if necessary) for subsequent appointments until you are fully recovered. These follow-ups are standard and will be provided at no extra cost.
In the unlikely event of a problem, we will make arrangements for you to be seen by trained staff, and if needed, by the surgeon who performed the procedure. As all our surgeons live and work in the area, it is always possible to see your surgeon at short notice. Our surgeons don’t leave the country or local area after operating and on the rare occasion that a surgeon has to leave the local area for other commitments, we will always arrange for another trained plastic surgeon from our team to provide you with comprehensive care.
In the unlikely event of a complication directly related to your surgery, we would provide or arrange further surgery and/or treatment at no extra cost for up to 1 year.
How long will it take to recover?
It usually takes 4-6 weeks to recover and heal from this procedure.
When can I return to work?
Depending on the surgery, most people can return to work 3-4 weeks after lower body lift surgery.
When can I drive?
We recommend that you don’t drive for at least a month after the procedure. Your surgeon will be able to advise you on when it is safe to drive.
When can I exercise?
We recommend gentle exercise (short walks) after 1 week. Your surgeon will be able to advise you on when it is safe to introduce more strenuous exercise. It's important to walk around the house regularly and avoid long periods of inactivity after being discharged from the hospital, as this helps to reduce the risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis).