A lower body lift, also known as a belt lipectomy, is a combination of a tummy tuck and thigh lift. Patients who have lost a significant amount of weight, usually through bariatric surgery, may want a lower body lift to eliminate loose, sagging skin that interferes with their daily activities.
Other common reasons for wanting a lower body lift are aging, which loosens the skin, as well as a pregnancy that leaves the woman with stretched, loose skin on the lower body.
Other patients may want a tummy tuck and also tighten the skin on their thighs.
A lower body lift removes the extra skin on the lower body and also lifts the tissue on the trunk, chest, arms, and legs to greatly enhance your appearance. After the procedure, the skin will be tighter and firmer and it’s easier to engage in exercise and other activities.
This procedure can address skin regularities in these areas:
- Lateral thighs
- Pubic region
A lower body lift usually removes a lot of skin and also involves redraping the remaining skin and tissue. It also can tighten the abdominal muscles and may incorporate liposuction to make the thighs and torso more balanced.
Dr. Smita R. Ramanadham is a double board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in lower body lifts She will perform your lower body lift with the skill and artistic sense necessary for the best, natural-looking result, as well as to minimize visible scarring.. Dr. Smita also performs other facial and body cosmetic procedures in the New Jersey, New York City, and Tri-state areas.
Lower Body Lift Procedure
A typical lower body lift takes three to five hours to complete. The procedure can change from patient to patient but the general steps are:
- Your surgeon will place you in the pre-op area where they and the anesthesiologist will check your blood tests and medical history to make sure you’re ready for the surgery.
- Your surgeon may give you anticlotting and anti-embolism drugs at this time.
- They will put markings on the skin they plan to remove.
- After they put you under general anesthesia, they will drape your body and remove the extra skin needed. The surgical team will closely monitor you for excessive blood loss.
- After the necessary skin is removed, the surgeon will close the incisions in several layers. Drains are inserted to remove any accumulating fluid.
- When the surgery is complete, the team will extubate you and put you in the recovery room.
- They may keep you overnight to monitor your condition and pain level.
Lower Body Lift Benefits
There are many potential benefits of this procedure:
- The elimination of loose, baggy skin on the stomach and lower body that can happen from aging or major weight loss
- Achieving tighter and firmer skin on the belly, buttocks, thighs and flanks
- More attractive body contours
- The ability to fit in snug clothing again
- Enhanced self-confidence
- Better body contours
Ideal Candidates For Lower Body Lift
Anyone who has excessive loose skin on the lower abdomen and legs, as well as relaxed abdominal muscles may benefit from this procedure. A lower body lift most often is performed on patients who have lost a lot of weight through bariatric surgery.
Other ideal candidates are older people whose aging process is causing loose lower body skin. Women who have had several pregnancies also may benefit.
People who aren’t good candidates include those with major heart and lung issues or liver and kidney failure. Those with diabetes may qualify for the procedure if the condition is well managed.
Surgery Preparation For Lower Body Lift
A lower body lift is a major surgical procedure, and your surgeon will do a complete medical evaluation to ensure you’re ready. They also will check your lower body for scars or other issues that could complicate the procedure.
Your surgeon will give you detailed pre-op instructions to ensure you have a safe and effective surgery. Some general guidelines include:
- Stop smoking at least one month before and after the lower body lift to improve healing
- Don’t take medications that thin the blood at least a month before and after surgery
- Take medications your surgeon prescribes as directed
- Wash your incisions and clean them according to the surgeon’s instructions
- Drink plenty of water during recovery
- Eat a balanced diet after surgery to speed up recovery
Lower Body Lift Risks And Complications
If the procedure is performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon, most patients have good results with a lower body lift. But it is a significant surgery, so there is a risk of complications and side effects:
- Appearance may not be what you expected
- Internal bleeding
- Blood clots
- Edmea or fluid build-up in the treated areas
- Loss of skin sensation
- Swelling in the legs
- Skin is still loose
- Significant scars
- Fat necrosis under the skin
The surgeon will discuss all risks before you go ahead with the lower body lift. It’s important to understand all the risks so you can decide if the potential benefits are worthit.
Lower Body Lift Recovery
The lower body lift is usually an outpatient procedure, but the surgeon may keep you overnight for observation. You will experience moderate pain in the first week, but this can be controlled with prescription pain medication.
It’s also important to wear your compression garment for four to six weeks to make the skin adhere to your new, slimmer shape.
You should take at least two weeks off from work and restrict your daily activities for at least a month. Most lower body lift patients need to limit exercise and other strenuous activities for six to eight weeks.
Swelling will be significant at first but will dissipate after a few weeks. Swelling should be gone after four to six months.
Scars on the lower body will be permanent, but the surgeon will make them so they are as hard to see as possible. They will fade considerably after 12 months and can be hidden by your clothes.
If you want a lower body lift, you will go through an extensive recovery. Why not have other procedures simultaneously and get everything over at once?
Popular procedures that patients sometimes choose with a lower body lift are:
Lower Body Lift FAQ
Common lower body lift questions include:
How Long Will It Take To See Results
The swelling from a lower body lift will last a few months, so you won’t see all the benefits right away. But you’ll begin to see tighter, more supple skin on the abdomen and lower legs after a few weeks.
What Is The Recovery Like For A Lower Body Lift?
The recovery takes several weeks as a lot of skin is removed. You also will have drains that are removed after about two weeks.
While you can’t engage in vigorous exercise for six to eight weeks, the surgeon will want you walking as soon as possible.
Should I Get A Tummy Tuck Or Lower Body Lift?
A lower body lift is usually needed to remove extra skin and fat from the stomach, hips, flanks, buttocks, and thighs.
If your loose skin and fat is limited to the abdomen, you may only need a tummy tuck.
How Much Weight Can I Lose From A Lower Body Lift?
It varies but many patients lose between 10 and 20 pounds from a lower body lift.
How Long Does It Take To Recover?
Most patients can go back to their regular activities about about a month, and most take at least two weeks off of work.
Will I Wear A Compression Garment After A Lower Body Lift?
Yes. The surgeon will give you a compression garment to reduce the initial swelling and bruising.
How Long Will It Be Until I Can Stand Up Straight?
You will be bent over at first as the abdomen is healing, but most patients can stand fully upright after a week.
How Do I Sleep After A Lower Body Lift?
It’s best to sleep on your back and keep the legs and head elevated to reduce swelling.
What Should I Eat After A Lower Body Lift?
Drink a lot of water to flush toxins from the body and eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, and healthy protein to speed up the healing process.
What Is Included In This Procedure?
A lower body lift blends a tummy tuck and thigh lift to remove extra skin on the stomach, thighs, flanks and hips. The surgeon also may use liposuction to remove fat from these body areas.
When Can I Smoke After A Lower Body Lift?
You shouldn’t smoke at all, but it’s necessary to not light up for at least six to eight weeks after surgery. Nicotine and tobacco use constrict the blood vessels, which complicates the healing process.
Can I Tan After A Lower Body Lift?
It’s important to stay out of the sun or the tanning booth for several months after this procedure. UV rays may darken your scars. If you do need to go in the sun, make sure you wear a good sunscreen and limit exposure as much as possible.
How Much Will A Lower Body Lift Hurt?
It’s done under general anesthesia, so there is no pain during the procedure. The early recover has some moderate pain and discomfort, but it can be managed with prescription pain medication.
After one or two weeks, you probably will only need over-the-counter pain medication, if anything.
How Do I Know I Need A Lower Body Lift?
If you have lost a lot of weight and have loose skin in the lower body, a lower body lift is probably the best solution.
Liposuction can remove some of the fat, but only a lower body lift can remove excessive loose skin. If the loose skin is only in the abdomen, you may only need a tummy tuck.
Can I Have A Lower Body Lift Before Having Children?
You can, but you may stretch the skin of the abdomen again if there is another pregnancy. For this reason, it’s usually a good idea to wait until you are finished building your family to have a lower body lift.
Can I Tighten The Loose Skin On My Own?
If you only lose 30 or 40 pounds, your skin may retract on its own. But in the case of massive weight loss, the skin usually cannot adhere to your slimmer self without surgical intervention.
Will My Insurance Cover A Lower Body Lift?
If the procedure is done after major weight loss, your insurance may cover part of the procedure. But talk to your health insurance company for more information.
Can I Use Any Surgeon To Do A Lower Body Lift?
If you don’t use a board-certified plastic surgeon, there are significantly higher risks. It’s legal for any surgeon and even MDs who aren’t surgeons to perform plastic surgery. But that doesn’t mean it’s safe or will provide optimal results.
Check that your surgeon is board-certfied and has an extensive track record with lower body lifts.
Is A Lower Body Lift Worth It?
When a lower body lift is done correctly, it will remove the extra skin that usually is left from significant weight loss, whether the cause was bariatric surgery or diet and exercise.
Recovering from a lower body lift takes time and you will have scars. But those can be well hidden. If you have significant loose lower body skin from weight loss or another cause, or have loose skin from aging or pregnancy, a lower body lift could be the answer.
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How Does A Lower Body Lift Work? (2021). Accessed at https://www.healthline.com/health/lower-body-lift
Lower Body Lift Overview. (2021). Accessed at https://www.healthline.com/health/lower-body-lift#outcome