Lower body lift is a cosmetic surgery procedure designed to improve body contour by removing excess skin and fatty tissue from the lower back, outer thighs, buttocks and abdomen. During this procedure, the muscles of the abdomen are also tightened and fatty deposits are repositioned and sculpted with liposuction. This surgical solution addresses irregular contours, excess fat and loose, sagging skin. A patient that chooses to investigate this procedure may simply have loss of elasticity due to aging changes or often has experienced a significant weight loss resulting in skin laxity or perhaps draping skin. The abdominal area may have muscle weakness that has left the patient with an overhang of skin and stretched abdominal muscles, resulting in a prominent “pooch”. The lower back may have skin folds or “back fat” and the buttocks may seem low and shapeless. Incorporated into lifting the lower body is a combination of several procedures that usually includes an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), an outer thigh and a buttock lift. The anticipated surgical result is a flatter abdomen, narrower waistline, reduction of lower back folds and lifting of the outer thighs and buttocks.

Although lower body lift is an excellent procedure for many patients that experience skin overhang or laxity, it is not a solution for obesity. Body lift should be postponed until the patient has reached and maintained a realistic body weight for at least 3 months.

Procedure

Dr. Hand performs the lower body lift procedure at our Marin County outpatient surgical facility or at Marin General Hospital. This procedure is always done under general anesthesia and usually is completed in 4 to 6 hours. Dr. Hand will mark the anticipated area of skin removal prior to the procedure so that the scar will be able to be hidden beneath undergarments.

The surgical procedure begins with an abdominoplasty which corrects the lax abdominal muscles and tightens the abdomen skin while recreating the “belly button”. The patient is repositioned in order to correct the back, buttocks and outer thighs. Liposuction will be performed in order to sculpt remaining fatty deposits prior to the final skin tightening. All areas of skin excision will be carefully and meticulously sutured and drains will be placed under the skin to evacuate any fluid that may ooze after the procedure.

Recuperation and Healing

Immediately after the procedure a dressing and a surgical garment will be applied and are to remain undisturbed for 2 days. Although minimal walking is encouraged after the first day, the patient needs to avoid prolonged periods of walking or standing for the next 2 weeks and will require some help doing day to day chores and activities at home. Exercise may be resumed 6 weeks after surgery. Oral pain medications are prescribed for pain management.

The scars on the back and abdomen will remain red for the first 2 to 3 months and will usually fade over the next year. Although the surgical scar will never disappear completely, it becomes very acceptable for most patients. Most swelling has resolved between 6 weeks and 3 months after surgery.

Other Options

Liposuction may be an alternative surgical procedure utilized for a patient that has good skin tone and localized fatty deposits only. Often, skin contraction occurs and skin reduction is not necessary.
After massive weight loss, there are many surgical procedures that the patient may benefit from. Some of the most common procedures covered individually on this site include:

  • Arm lift (brachioplasty) a procedure that is used to correct sagging skin of the upper arm caused by aging changes or weight loss.
  • Medial thigh lift to remove excess skin of the inner thigh if large folds and sagging skin are present.
  • Breast lift with or without breast augmentation to rejuvenate the breast to the desired shape and size.
  • Breast reduction to lift sagging large breasts to an appropriate size for the recontoured body.