Lower body lifts are a group of surgical procedures performed to enhance the contour about the thighs, hips, buttocks, and lower back. These procedures are typically necessary for situations where there is excess, lax tissue present as a result of significant weight loss as may occur following gastric bypass surgery. Lower body lifts involve the removal of various amounts of skin and fat with advancement or “lifting” of the adjacent tissue in order to restore an optimal smooth, flat contour in the area of treatment. Supplemental liposuction is frequently performed in order to improve the uniformity of fatty tissue thickness and enhance the transition to the adjacent areas. These procedures are typically performed under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis in a State Licensed, Nationally Accredited Ambulatory Surgical Facility (see ‘about Keystone Surgery Center’). Operative and post-operative recovery times vary based on the extent of the original contour deformity. However, most patients can comfortably return to routine daily activities about two weeks following surgery. Skin re-draping and contour restoration are facilitated by the use of a compression garment following surgery.
For many patients, restoration of appropriate lower body proportion through a lower body lift may be the solution to restoring harmony with upper body dimensions, thereby allowing clothes to fit properly. In this way, enhanced body image and self-confidence are possible.
When considering a lower body lift, or indeed any cosmetic procedure, be sure to select a qualified, experienced plastic surgeon, certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). As a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 15 years of clinical practice experience and member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (The Mark of Distinction in Cosmetic Plastic Surgery® ASAPS), Dr. Robert Kimmel welcomes the opportunity to help you achieve your goals for cosmetic enhancement and enjoy a happier, more confident lifestyle.
Although Dr. Kimmel completely customizes these combination procedures to fit the needs of the individual patient, there are some general guidelines involved in recovery. Parts of these procedures, such as the lower incision that wraps around the body, require lengthy recovery times. You can expect your recovery to take from one to two months, and you probably won’t be able to drive for about one full month, due to the hip incision. Here’s a list of timeline milestones, although these can vary with different patients.
One thing to consider before opting to have a lower body lift is to arrange someone to help you full time around the house for the first two weeks after your surgery. You can’t do any lifting or push for four to six weeks. If you have small children, a spouse, friend, or relative will need to take over for a couple of weeks.
This isn’t to paint a gloomy picture, but it is important to remember that Dr. Kimmel is going to be performing three procedures in one surgical session. You’ll have an involved recovery, but it is only a single recovery.
You can expect moderate swelling in your abdomen area. This will last from six to nine weeks. Try and limit your salt intake, as this can lead to prolonged swelling that would otherwise resolve.
Any time an incision is made a scar forms. This is simply the healing process. That said, lower body lifts with Dr. Kimmel create some lengthy incisions and subsequent scarring. These will look quite angry and red in the early part of your recovery, but don’t worry; that is normal. Dr. Kimmel works hard to place your incisions where they can be hidden under clothing. As long as you try and limit the pressure placed on your incisions they will become less and less noticeable, fading as much as possible in about one year. After your surgery, we will discuss various products that you can apply to your incision scars to help them heal as inconspicuously as possible.
This is a major surgical procedure, so it involves all of the risks associated with surgery: reaction to anesthesia, excessive bleeding, poor wound healing, infection, fluid accumulation, and the potential development of blood clots.
Specific to lower body lifts, there is a risk of asymmetry and uneven incision healing. There can be burning along the incisions, but this typically passes as the nerves adjust. There is a risk of persistent pain and swelling beyond the usual timeframes. You may develop persistent swelling in the legs. There can also be recurrent looseness of areas of your skin.
However, Dr. Kimmel is a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive training and experience. His expertise minimizes the risks involved with these surgeries.
You’ll need to follow our protocols at Keystone Surgery Center prior to your surgery. These include stopping the taking of blood thinners, anti-inflammatory medications, and most supplements for at least a few days prior to your surgical session. If you smoke, you’ll need to stop for at least two weeks prior to surgery and two weeks afterward, as smoking affects incision healing by decreasing circulation.
Your main preparation for these procedures with Dr. Kimmel is to prepare for your recovery. This is no time to be the Lone Ranger; it’s time to call in family and friends to help out around the house. Remember, you can’t do any lifting or push for four to six weeks. For the first two weeks, you’ll be mostly in bed.
Heading into your lower body lift, you’ll need to fill your pain medication prescriptions and really set up a recovery nest where you can hunker down and lay low. If your bedroom is upstairs, you may want to sleep downstairs for the first couple of weeks. Get plenty of entertainment ready: books, Netflix, an iPad, and anything else to help pass the time. The key to a successful recovery is taking it easy and letting your body focus on healing. This thought needs to guide your preparations for your surgery.