For many people with loose, sagging skin and misshapen body contours, exercise and a healthy diet are not enough to achieve their desired look. Aging, sun damage, cellulite, genetics, pregnancy and significant fluctuations in weight may contribute to poor skin elasticity and can result in sagging of the abdomen, buttocks and thigh areas. These issues can be addressed with a lower body lift procedure which helps to achieve a firmer, more youthful-looking body.
A lower body lift, also known as a belt lipectomy, is a surgical procedure which removes excess skin or fatty tissue. More extensive than just a tummy tuck, the lower body lift is performed on the lower torso and upper legs and re-sculpts the abdomen, hips, back, buttocks and outer thighs.
Candidates for lower body lift surgery are those who have experienced any of the following:
- Significant weight loss which changes body contours: Weight loss can be a result of diet and exercise as well as Gastric Bypass Surgery.
- Loose skin around abdomen, outer thighs and posterior buttocks: This can be a result of aging, pregnancy or significant weight loss. Patients sometimes refer to the hanging skin as feeling like they have a tire around their waist.
- Excess fat tissue: Fat deposits existing in one or more of these areas: stomach, outer thighs, hips and/or posterior buttocks.
- Abdominal muscle separation: The muscle in the stomach is separated and no amount of exercise can join it back together. The muscle must be surgically tightened.
The steps of the body lift procedure differ depending on the needs of the patient. In general, to remove the skin and fat an incision is placed around the entire lower body, in a circumferential fashion. Skin and fat are removed, the stomach muscles are tightened and the incision is closed to tightly contour the body. The stomach area is typically addressed first, followed by the buttocks and thigh areas.
A lower body lift is a major surgical procedure and requires significant recovery time. Most patients can typically return to work in 2 to 4 weeks. Activities such as exercising can be resumed between 6 to 8 weeks following surgery.
As with every surgical procedure, lower body lift surgery has risks and potential complications. These include:
- Fluid accumulating under the skin (seroma)
- Small skin separations
- Reduced sensation in the treated area
- Bleeding (hematoma)
- Blood clots
- Unfavorable scarring
- Skin discoloration
- Recurrent looseness of skin
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications