Preparing For Surgery
The area of tissue removal for the lower body lift includes the lower abdomen from the pubic area to the belly button and along the flanks and thighs. The width and location for skin removal is adjusted according to each patient’s body shape. Those with excess outer thigh and buttock tissue will have a wide-area skin removal in those areas. Patients with skin excess at that flanks and lower back will have the skin removal directed at those areas.
At Connall Cosmetic Surgery, we have a team of professionals to prepare you for your procedure. Thorough preoperative preparation is critical for a successful and pleasant recovery.
Once you have decided to proceed with the surgery, our team will begin preparing you. We will see you for a preoperative evaluation in our office about three weeks before your surgery. We will ask you that you stop taking certain medications, especially those such as aspirin that can affect bleeding.
We will also ask you to stop taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy as those has been associated with increased risk of blood clots after surgery. In addition, if you smoke cigarettes, we will ask that you quit cigarette smoking in the weeks before surgery. This is critical, as cigarettes have severe adverse effects on tissue healing and put patients at increased risk for wound healing problems after surgery. Indeed, the wounds from a lower body lift procedure are long and thick and can be difficult to heal. To ensure an optimal chance for healing, variables before surgery such as cessation of cigarette smoking and a good nutritional status must be optimized.
With a lower body lift the skin of the flanks, upper/outer thighs and upper buttocks is removed. This creates tapering of the waistline and elevation of the outer thigh and buttocks. In patients with flat buttocks, the buttocks can be augmented with the patient’s own upper buttocks fatty tissue.
Lower Body Lift Procedures Details
At Connall Cosmetic Surgery and the Meridian Center for Surgical Excellence, we have extensive experience in performing lower body lift procedures. We feel that our experience and integrated team approach gives our patient the best chance of an optimal outcome.
There are multiple terms that may used to describe a lower body lift procedure. These include a circumferential abdominoplasty and belt lipectomy.
For Dr. Connall, we categorized all of the circumferential procedures as lower body lifts. However, the procedure is tailored to the individual patient’s need. In some cases the skin removal may be emphasized at the waistline. In other cases the skin removal may emphasize the outer thighs and buttocks. These are significant procedural differences which are tailored to the individual patient. Our experience with all of the variations of skin excess and body forms allow us to provide optimal results for all types of lower body lift patients.
Anesthesia for a Lower Body Lift
A lower body lift is a lengthy and complex procedure. We performed the lower body lift using general anesthesia. Therefore, you will have no pain or awareness during surgery. However, we use a rapid recovery anesthetic technique so that our patients are awake immediately after surgery. The general anesthetic is augmented with local anesthetic use in the abdominal region and with the use of pain pump catheters which deliver numbing medicine to the abdominal tissues. With our experienced anesthesiologists we can provide a surgical course so that the patient is in optimal condition immediately after surgery.
After a lower body lift the abdomen is flat and the front of the thighs is elevated. The scar is usually positioned within the desired bikini line so that one can wear his or her desired clothing choices postoperatively without revealing the lower body lift scar.
Lower Body Lift And Our Surgery Center
Like all of our procedures, we perform the lower body lift at our affiliated surgery center, the Meridian Center for Surgical Excellence. The Meridian Center for Surgical Excellence was designed with lower body lift surgery procedure in mind. Therefore, the surgery center is equipped to provide optimal support for our patient, the anesthesiologist and surgical team. The operating room itself was designed to facilitate the performance of this complicated procedure. A key to the designed feature is the heating system which allows marked and rapid heating of the operating room. In some surgical environments, lower body lift patients will become hypothermic during surgery. In our facility, we take multiple measures including maintaining the operating room temperature at 80 degrees during surgery to ensure that the body temperature remains normal during and after surgery. Maintaining normal temperature certainly improves the comfort of the patient after surgery, but is also critical to minimize bleeding, swelling, bruising and infection. We are proud to have the opportunity to perform these procedures at the Meridian Center and to provide our patients with the comfort of knowing they are being cared for in a state-of-the-art facility.
Lower Body Lift Technique
A lower body lift is a circumferential procedure. Therefore to prepare you for surgery, the skin around the body from the collar bone to the ankles must be prepared while you are standing in the operating room. After that, you are positioned on the sterile operating table. You are then gently placed under general anesthesia.
The key incision for the lower body lift is placed along the lower abdomen and flanks and just above the buttocks. This incision and the areas for skin removal are designed with long-term aesthetics in consideration. The incisions are guided based on markings that are placed immediately before surgery (drawing these markings after you wear your favorite underwear) so that the incisions are designed to keep the scar within the underwear line. With this approach most of our patients can wear low-rise pants without having exposure of their scars.
The procedure starts with treatment of the right side, with the patient lying with the left side of the body down. We perform body jet liposuction of the flanks, back and thighs, as needed. Incisions are then made and the excess tissue from the buttocks and flanks are removed. If a buttock augmentation is being performed, the fatty tissue in the area of the incisions is preserved. A “pocket” is created at the central area of the buttocks and the fatty tissue is rotated and positioned in this pocket. The incisions are then closed with multiple layers of very strong absorbable sutures. The patient is then positioned with the left side up and an identical procedure is performed on the left flanks and buttocks.
Finally, the abdomen is treated. Liposuction of the pubic area and upper abdomen are performed if needed. The abdominal skin and fat are lifted off the abdominal muscles to the ribcage. Then, the abdominal muscles are visualized fully. In nearly every case, the abdominal muscles are tightened in the midline using a strong permanent suture. This muscle tightening creates a firmer and flatter abdomen. The skin is then draped below the groin and the extra skin is trimmed and removed. Multiple drainage tubes are placed and the incisions are closed with multiple layers of strong dissolving sutures. Finally, an opening in the skin is made for the bellybutton and the belly button is then sutured into its new position in the skin.
The incisions were then dressed with tapes and soft gauze dressings. In some cases, an abdominal binder is loosely placed to hold the dressings in position.
After a lower body lift the flanks, outer thighs and buttocks are reduced and tightened. The scar is usually positioned low so that it falls within the bikini line. In patients that undergo simultaneous buttock augmentation, the central buttocks will have improved shape and projection.
Recovery From Procedures
The recovery begins at the Meridian Center for Surgical Excellence. There you will recover from your surgery so that you have good pain control and can take oral medications. Next, you are transferred to the Rest and Recovery center at Legacy Meridian Park Hospital. Legacy Meridian Park Hospital is less than a mile from the Meridian Center for Surgical Excellence. You will recover for at least one night at the rest and recovery center. There you will have assistance with management of your drains, bladder catheter, medications and assistance with your first steps out of bed.
The lower body lift procedure is a major commitment in time and energy postoperatively. Expect to need at least two to four weeks to recover from this procedure before you can return to basic work and home activities. After four to six weeks you may resume light exercise and after six weeks you will resume full activity.
See The Results Of My Lower Body Lift
After your lower body lift you will find that your tummy is flat and the pubic area and groin areas are elevated into normal positions. Also, your waistline and flanks will be flat and smooth and the outer thighs and buttocks will be elevated. The results are very dramatic and life-changing for most patients and usually greatly exceed the results that can be accomplished with an abdominoplasty alone.
There will be significant swelling of the lower abdominal tissues in the first three months after surgery. However, usually after six months the swelling has resolved and the scars have faded and the patient can fully enjoy his or her new body.