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Body, Thigh & Buttock Lift

Lower body, buttock and thigh lifting procedures are used to elevate the lower body, buttocks and thighs while excising redundant tissues. Excess skin and fat are removed and the remaining tissues are tightened to produce a more attractive body contour. The skin laxity and poor tone may be related to the normal aging process and genetics, pregnancy, or significant weight loss. Frequently, patients who have lost large amounts of weight benefit greatly from these procedures. After you've done the hard work and shed the pounds, the skin frequently remains loose and excessive. No matter how hard you try, you can't alter your skin's elasticity. A body lift is the answer. Those who have suffered the effects of gravity or pregnancy may also enjoy the results of a lifting operation.

Who is a good candidate for a body lifting procedure?

The ideal candidate for a body lift is someone who has excessive, loose thigh skin along with sagging buttocks but is not obese. Usually, people who have lost a large amount of weight through either dieting and exercise or weight loss surgery, such as a gastric bypass, are excellent candidates for a lower body lift. It is not an ideal procedure for those who are presently obese. Although a significant amount of fat is removed during a body lift by means of liposuction and direct excision, it is more difficult to remove the necessary amount of skin in an obese patient because of the increased weight and stress on healing. Therefore, the ultimate aesthetic result is compromised and the risk of wound complications increases. The patient need not be thin before undergoing a body lift, but the operation must be individualized and carefully planned for each person to avoid a problem. A consultation with Dr. Vath, Dr. Wolfe, or Dr. Steinwald at the Center for Cosmetic Surgery in Golden, Colorado can best help you determine if a body lift can benefit you.

How is a body lift performed?

The excess skin and fat is removed at the hip level so as to hide the scars beneath your bikini or underwear. There are two types of body lifts. One entails a lifting of the buttocks and outer thighs tapering off into the inner thigh region. This is best performed on a patient who has minimal laxity of the abdomen or has already had an abdominoplasty. The second type involves combining the buttock and outer thigh lift with a tummy tuck. This is the more common approach since most people with laxity of the thighs and buttocks also have a loose abdomen. Once the redundant skin and fat is removed, the remaining tissues are tightened and sewn together.

Are other procedures performed at the same time as a body lift?

A lower body lift elevating the thighs and buttocks is often done simultaneously with an abdominoplasty to completely rejuvenate your mid and lower torso. This is often the best approach for most people.

What type of scarring is incurred?

The final location of the scars is individualized to each patient. Marking prior to surgery takes approximately one hour in order to ensure a satisfactory position of the scars based upon your clothing. Generally, the scar extends from just above the buttock crease, slightly curving upward and forward over the hip and around to the groin region. When the procedure is combined with an abdominoplasty, the scar continues down into the pubic hair in the same way a tummy tuck alone is performed. Most patients find the scar a very acceptable trade-off for getting rid of all the loose skin and tightening up the lower body. The scar is initially firm and red, but over several months will fade and smoothen to become a fine white line.

How long does the surgery take?

The operation takes between four and six hours, depending upon your specific needs.

Will smoking affect my recovery?

Smoking has tremendous negative affects on wound healing. The small vessels that supply blood to the tissues shrink up and prevent the necessary nutrients for healing to get to the wound. Wound complication rates and skin death are much higher in smokers. Additionally, the rate of wound infection is also significantly increased in smokers because of the impeded blood flow. Therefore, a patient needs to stop smoking for a minimum of two weeks prior to surgery to decrease the risk of these complications.

What kind of anesthesia is administered?

General anesthesia is the preferred method of achieving adequate sedation and pain control during a body lift. You will be entirely asleep for the duration of the procedure and awaken in recovery before you know it. Board-Certified anesthesiologists administer the anesthesia and care for you before, during, and after surgery so that you have a comfortable and safe experience.

What is the recovery period for a lower body lift?

The first night after surgery, you are cared for by nurses in a comfortable, safe setting. This way, you may receive IV pain medication and fluids if necessary while you get through the toughest period. You will feel mid-body tightness and discomfort which will gradually subside over the first one to two weeks. Elastic compression garments are worn for several weeks followed by a couple weeks during times of activity. Usually, patients are able to return to non-strenuous work activities after two weeks. Low impact exercise can begin around four weeks after surgery and by six weeks, activity is unrestricted.


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