A well-toned body and smooth contours can, for some people, be the end result of a lot of hard work and exercise. For others, dramatic weight loss, weight fluctuation, or the effects of natural aging can result in sagging skin in areas below the waistline. If loose, sagging skin is keeping you from the body you want, you may be a candidate for a lower body lift. Call Dr. Usal Cosmetic Surgery Center in Paramus, NJ today to discuss your options.
When Should You Consider a Lower Body Lift?
If you’ve recently undergone dramatic weight loss due to bariatric surgery or dieting and you’re dissatisfied with your body’s appearance, you may want to consider the procedure. Additionally, consider surgery if overhanging skin on your lower body restricts your mobility or causes painful chafing, rashes, or infection.
Ultimately, you should consider the procedure if the leftover sagging skin on your lower body is hurting your self-confidence and you feel your mood would improve from such a procedure. The surgery isn’t just about removing sagging skin; it’s about you feeling good about you.
What Makes Someone a Good Candidate?
Once you have achieved a healthy weight or undergone bariatric surgery, you may find that you’re still frustrated with your appearance due to excess skin along the lower abdomen, relaxed abdominal wall muscles, and loose and wrinkled skin along your thighs and buttocks. This procedure can dramatically improve your problem areas.
Aside from displeasure with the look of your body, excellent candidates also have had stable weight for about a year with no further weight loss expected. For the best results, body contouring surgeries shouldn’t be done right after you lose weight. The period of time in between weight loss and surgery will allow your skin to shrink as much as possible and for your nutrition to be stabilized and optimized–two factors that will positively influence your recovery.
How Is the Procedure Performed?
A complete lower body lift treats the buttocks, abdomen, waist, hips, and thighs in one procedure. It’s often included in the set of procedures performed during a mommy makeover.
A lower body lift works by extending the hip-to-hip incision used in a tummy tuck so it goes completely around the lower torso. This allows your surgeon to lift or resuspend the thighs and tighten the buttocks, all while performing a traditional tummy tuck. The total length of the incision depends on how much extra skin is removed as well as the location.
Outline of a Typical Procedure
Your surgeon begins by creating a circumferential incision that extends around your torso. Your surgeon will use the incision to remove an apron of excess skin and fat below it and reposition and tighten your remaining tissues. The remaining skin in your buttocks and thighs will be pulled upward so underlying tissues are suspended and tightened.
Once your surgeon finishes addressing your back and sides, you will be repositioned on the operating table so your front side can be treated. Now, your surgeon will either combine the procedure with abdominal contouring (tummy tuck) or an inner thigh lift (if your abdomen doesn’t require contouring). You’ll discuss these options with your surgeon beforehand during your consultation.
Finally, your incisions will be closed and drainage tubes may be inserted to control stretching and swelling. Sutures located deep within the underlying tissues help form your body’s new contours. Incisions are closed using sutures, skin adhesives, or tapes.
What Are Your Options?
While a lower body lift typically includes procedures that improve your buttocks, abdomen, waist, hips, and thighs, it’s possible to tailor the surgery to fit your specific needs. This results in a number of procedural options from which you can choose. Some will benefit you, while others may not. It all depends on your specific needs and desires. You will discuss these options with your surgeon at your consultation.
Lower Body Lift Combined With Liposuction
A patient may sometimes benefit from liposuction in addition to the lower body lift to achieve an optimal contour. Liposuction can smooth and contour parts of your body separate from the effects of your surgical procedure, making for a more balanced, aesthetically pleasing contour.
Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
If the results you desire require more than lower body work, your surgeon can perform an abdominoplasty during your procedure. If your abdomen doesn’t require any additional work, your surgeon can instead add in an inner thigh lift.
Pre-Procedure Weight Loss or Liposuction
The way the procedure works is by lifting and suspending the lower body to the skin closure created during surgery. Excessive weight in the thighs and buttocks at the time of the procedure may reduce or prevent a long-lasting effect of the surgery. In cases like this, your surgeon may recommend additional weight loss before you undergo your procedure.
If additional weight loss before your procedure is difficult or impossible, your surgeon may instead suggest you undergo liposuction to remove excess fat from the areas before undergoing excisional body lifting.
Can You Choose the Area for Scar Placement?
The scar associated with the procedure extends around the circumference of your torso and is designed to be hidden beneath your underwear or bikini bottoms. However, it can be placed a bit higher or lower depending on your personal preference. If you have issues with scar placement, make sure to bring them up at your initial consultation.
What Are the Incisions and Scars Like?
The incision your surgeon uses for the procedure will produce a permanent, noticeable scar around your entire lower body. The scar is generally placed low on the stomach and just above the pubic hair area, extending outward toward your hip bones. At the hip bones, the scar slowly curves upward toward the top of your buttock crease to meet the incision from the other side.
The placement of the incision and the subsequent scar is determined by how you wear your clothing, your personal preference, and how easily it can be hidden.
Meeting Your Surgeon
The first thing you’ll experience as part of your procedure is the initial consultation with your surgeon. At your consultation, you will be able to discuss your cosmetic goals with your surgeon and be evaluated as a candidate for surgery. Your surgeon will also clarify what the procedure can do to move you further toward your aesthetic goals.
Also, your surgeon will discuss with you which additional or alternative procedures or treatments (if any) you may consider.
How to Prepare for Your Procedure
Thorough pre-operative instructions will be provided by your surgeon and any questions you may have will be answered. A detailed medical history will be taken and a physical exam will be performed to ensure you’re fit to undergo cosmetic surgery.
Reach and Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a stable weight is an essential element in ensuring you enjoy the best possible results following surgery. Trying to lose weight after your procedure and the recovery period can negatively affect your results. If you’ve undergone bariatric surgery to lose weight, your cosmetic surgeon may want to consult with your bariatric surgeon before your lower body lift.
Cease Using Tobacco Products
If you smoke, you will need to quit at least six weeks before undergoing surgery. Smoking, vaping, or using other tobacco products can hinder the healing process by constricting blood vessels, making circulation more difficult. To properly heal from surgery, your circulation must be the best it can be.
Avoid Blood Thinners
Prescription medication, aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory medications, and herbal supplements can lead to an increase in bleeding. It’s critical that you let your surgeon know any and all medications, supplements, or vitamins (whether prescription or over-the-counter) that you take regularly so that their safety can be assessed and an alternative suggested if necessary.
Preparing for Home Recovery
This procedure is extensive and will require several weeks of rest and recovery post-surgery. You must avoid lifting heavy objects and you may be unable to drive or complete household chores. You will probably require assistance if you have small children to care for.
Knowing that you’ll have a relatively long recovery period, it’s best to make arrangements for your care and any assistance you may need well in advance of your procedure.
What to Expect the Day of Surgery
On the day of your procedure, you’ll receive medications to keep you comfortable. General anesthesia is commonly used for this procedure, though for some patients local anesthesia combined with sedation may be an option. An anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist will be present to administer sedatives or general anesthesia and assist in monitoring you during the procedure.
Various monitors will be set up which will be used to check your heart, blood pressure, pulse, and the amount of oxygen in your blood. This is done to help ensure your safety during surgery.
Once everything is set up and you’ve been anesthetized, your surgeon will follow the plan you both discussed before surgery. Once the operation begins, your surgeon may decide to combine techniques or change a technique to ensure the best result. It’s important you feel comfortable with your surgeon’s decision making, so be sure to ask any and all questions you have before your procedure.
The recovery associated with this procedure occurs in stages. Most patients should expect to take four to six weeks to recuperate from surgery, after which you should be able to return to work and other activities. Your surgeon will provide you with comprehensive post-operative care instructions that you and your caregiver must strictly adhere to.
In the Short Term
You may be kept for the first few days of recovery so you can be monitored and receive specialized nursing care. You’ll be given medications to aid in any post-surgical discomfort when the anesthesia wears off and while your body heals–especially for the first few days.
The nurses at the facility will help you care for your surgical drains and get used to walking again post-surgery. You’ll probably notice some redness and swelling around the surgical site during this period. This is a normal facet of healing.
Your incision will take several weeks to fully heal. It will be at least six to eight weeks before you can resume exercise, though you may be able to engage in gentle movement or short, slow walks during the interim.
Talk to Us Today
A lower body lift is a procedure intended to remove loose, sagging skin from your body below your abdomen. The areas it targets include the buttocks, groin, and thighs. Often, the procedure is combined with a tummy tuck or liposuction to improve body contours and help you achieve the results you desire.
If you have any additional questions, or if you feel the procedure is right for you, visit us at Dr. Usal Cosmetic Surgery Center in Paramus, NJ today. The body you want is within reach.