Comprehensive Guide to Lower Body Lift Surgery
- 10 March 2014
- Dr. Nidal (Nick) Masri
For individuals contemplating a lower body lift procedure in Miami, FL, it’s essential that you know what to expect. Not all surgeries and circumstances are equal, of course, and so it’s very important that you learn more about the unique process of each, what the surgery involves, and the many other considerations
that you have before getting started. This complete guide to the lower body lift procedure will help get you acquainted with the surgery.
What is Lower Body Lift Surgery?
The lower body lift procedure is also known as a belt lipectomy. In this surgery, benefits include tightening and sculpting several different regions, including the buttocks, all areas of the thighs, the hips, and even the stomach and abdomen as well. The extent of the procedure you undergo, however, may differ depending on your specific needs and the surgeon you’ve selected (continue reading below for more specific variations).
Excess loose skin will be removed, and liposuction may be performed to remove excess fat as well. Skin is moved up and tightened from the lower body to cover and replace the removed tissue.
In most cases, you will have an incision made around the circumference of your torso, from hip to hip. This will result in scarring, although it’s typically adjusted to an area of your preference and a locale so that it’s covered by a bathing suit, for example. In other cases dealing more primarily with the thighs and butt, an incision may be made from the groin to the knee.
Compared to some other types of procedures, this is a comprehensive, lengthy surgery due to the size of the area being worked with and the sensitive nature of your body’s internal systems in these regions.
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Types of Surgeries and Options
As mentioned, a belt lipectomy or lower body lift procedure may incorporate different components and body areas.
Complete Lower Body Lift: In this procedure, all of the different body areas mentioned above are worked on, including the buttocks, inner, outer and backs of thighs, hips, and abdomen. This essentially means that you undergo a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty, along with a buttock lift and thigh lifts all at once.
Traditional Belt Lipectomy: A stricter view of the belt lipectomy in terms of what it incorporates is more of an extension of a high lateral tension tummy tuck. The incision is extended to go entirely around the lower torso, and the focus is on a patient’s stomach and flank.
Liposuction: Liposuction will often be performed in conjunction with lower body lift procedures depending on your specific circumstances. Some patients only need to remove excess hanging or loose skin, while others may also have a need for liposuction to remove remaining fat stores.
Top Reasons To Get Lower Body Lift Surgery
There are many different great reasons you may want to consider undergoing lower body lift surgery in Miami, FL. Here are a few of them:
- You have undergone extreme or dramatic weight loss after having bariatric surgery. All of this weight loss, a phenomenal plus side for your health and physical appearance, has in turn created a huge amount of excess skin which hangs down over or around your waist, your butt, and your thighs.
- This procedure is a great choice for individuals who are experiencing pain or discomfort as a result of this excess hanging skin. It could potentially restrict mobility, be generally cumbersome, or even lead to painful rashes or infections, chafing, and so forth.
- Getting rid of all of that excess skin will provide a boost to self-confidence for many people. It removes these unsightly bunches of skin, and allows you to wear clothes that you’re most comfortable in, bathing suits, dresses, and more. You’ll look and feel at your best. You’ll be confident whether you’re at the beach, at the gym, or anywhere else.
- After losing so much weight, you really want to be able to see the true results and effects of that. With a belt lipectomy, your true new self and the final outcome from your weight loss and bariatric surgery will be revealed.
- The natural effects of aging and pregnancy or multiple pregnancies may lead to many of the same physical outcomes as extreme weight loss following bariatric surgery. So, even without having undergone a bariatric procedure, you may still be seeking the positive outcomes of a belt lipectomy.
Steps Involved in the Surgery
Lower body lift surgery is a large-scale operation. The surgery itself may last about six hours, although a range of between five and eight hours is common and depends on the work being performed.
Due to the chance of significant bleeding, many patients pre-donate two pints of blood before the procedure is performed, and this is “given back” to them during the procedure itself.
The main incision is made around the lower trunk. This is typically at a level above the pubic region extending on each side towards the hips, before curving award and above to the top of the buttock. The scar, as mentioned, can be adjusted based upon preference and how you wear your clothing and bathing suits.
Excess flaps of hanging skin are removed, and if necessary, liposuction is performed. Remaining skin tissue is repositioned and tightened from the lower body moving upwards.
Depending on the scope of your particular operation, surgeons typically start their work around the buttocks and lower back, before moving around to the front of the body, the abdominal area, and then the thighs.
Hospital stays following this type of procedure are generally for two nights, maybe longer. After you leave the hospital, you’ll need to be cared for at home. There’s a lengthy recovery time before you’ll be able to resume normal activity and exercise.
General guidelines are approximately four weeks into normal activity and six to eight weeks before resuming light exercise. More specifically, your surgeon will advise you in your post-operative follow-ups about when you’re eligible to resume certain activities and how you’re recovery process has been coming along.
Are There any Complications or Risks Involved?
A belt lipectomy is a major procedure, and the standard risks of surgeries and the usage of anesthesia apply here. There is no such thing as a surgery without risk, however, modern practices for safety and cleanliness, improved technology and so forth have all worked to reduce the generic risk of surgery.
As mentioned, this procedure also has a risk of significant bleeding while it is performed, which is why many doctors have their patients pre-donate their own blood to be used for intra-operation transfusions.
Smoking adds to the risk factors of this procedure. For smokers, it is recommended that they stop smoking for at least six weeks prior to a lower body lift being performed. Drinking also adds to the risk factors of this procedure.
Nerve injury and a loss of sensation is possible with a lower body lift to the large area of tissue being rearranged. It is common for sensation in these areas to be lost for several months or up to a year before returning. However, some patients may have permanent sensation loss or reduction.
A fluid collection is possible, known as seromas. Drains are utilized during recovery to help remove this fluid. However, after the drains are removed, seromas are still possible, and must be drained utilizing a needle. This is generally quick and painless however will require additional medical appointments.
Before undergoing a lower body lift procedure, it’s very important that you understand the scope of the procedure itself. As mentioned, this is a major surgery. There will be substantial pain with post-operative recovery. You don’t want to be caught off guard about this, you need to be prepared to deal with the pain, with limited mobility after your procedure as you heal, and so forth.
You’ll need to stay several nights in the hospital, take off time from work, and be prepared to not engage in any serious physical activity for at least four to six weeks. Hospital stays are typically two or three nights.
The scarring which results from this procedure is another major consideration. While it can be hidden in the bikini line so it’s not visible while you’re wearing clothes, it’s a large scar which you’ll carry for the rest of your life. If this makes you uncomfortable, and more uncomfortable or unhappy than the excess skin itself does, then this procedure likely isn’t for you.
Also, remember that this type of surgery is to be utilized after all or almost all of your weight loss has been completed. You want to be close to your final maintenance weight, which means it may be least 18 months from the time you have your bariatric surgery until you undergo a comprehensive lower body lift. You need to be a stable weight and done with your weight loss before you undergo this surgery.
Additionally, if you are younger and still planning on becoming pregnant once again, then it is not recommended that you undergo a belt lipectomy. Remember that while the outcomes of this procedure can be dramatic, there is no such thing as absolute permanence. The normal effects of aging and wear and tear on your body will still occur over time.
How to Choose a Surgeon or Clinic?
Choosing your surgeon for a lower body lift in Miami, FL is always a very important step of the process. Your initial consultation will reveal a great deal, not only about what you can expect from the procedure itself, but also from the surgeon and his or her team, their various recommendations, what types of post-operative care they provide, measures they take to prevent complications, and more.
You certainly want to choose a surgeon who has a great deal of experience performing the type of surgery you’re looking for, and having a successful track record. Do not hesitate to directly ask a surgeon about his experience, or to do extra research online where you can view ratings of surgeons and their clinics, as well as find more details about educations, certifications, satisfaction and success rates, and more.
Remember that a lower body lift may incorporate multiple different procedures essentially wrapped into one. Choose a surgeon who is specifically well-versed in the exact scope of the operation you’re seeking. Some surgeons may recommend only certain aspects of this procedure, may recommend breaking this procedure up into several smaller surgeries, or may do everything at once. Be clear on what your surgeon actually recommends and how that matches with your own preferences and needs.
Ultimately, you want a highly skilled and experienced surgeon with a great team around them. You also want to feel comfortable with the surgeon, their recommendations, and how you are able to interact with them. It’s important that you trust the surgeon you choose, and feel as if you have an open line of honest communication with them.
Cost of Lower Body Lift Surgery
The 2012 national average for a lower body lift procedure was $8,085. Due to the large scope of this operation, this is the single most expensive form of body lift or other cosmetic surgeries. This cost only represents the surgeon fees, and what you actually pay will be substantially higher when you factor in hospital stays, testing, post-operative care and recovery, anesthesia, and so forth.
Generally, insurance companies will not cover this procedure, which is seen as elective rather than necessary. However, certain aspects of this procedure may be eligible for insurance coverage due to medical concerns.
Remember, while as a consumer you’re prone towards saving money, don’t skimp on your surgeon and the clinic you choose. In this case, it’s always of paramount important to choose quality, experience and skill, rather than bargain basement or budget. Consult with the clinic you’re choosing about the potential for payment or financing plans, or what other types of options may be available to you.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully you’ve learned more about lower body lifts and what this type of surgery really entails. It’s a major surgical procedure, which results in pain, scarring and substantial recovery time. However, it is the procedure which perhaps will make the biggest positive difference in your life following a period of extensive weight loss. Lower body lift procedures offer dramatic outcomes, and huge changes to your physical appearance and your overall comfort with yourself and your body, as well as your personal self confidence and body image.