Lower Body Lift: A Surgical Solution For Excess Skin and Fat after Massive Weight Loss
So, you have your diet in check, you’re active, and taking good care of yourself. Maybe you decided to get weight loss surgery, and have now reached your ideal weight. Sadly, many women and men who embark on the weight loss journey and lose a massive amount of weight end up with unpleasant reminders of their former weight; excess skin.
An overhanging skin apron, droopy love handles, saggy belly, and irregular thigh skin can all prevent you from embracing the body you’ve worked so hard for. Excess skin can also stop you from reaping the cosmetic benefits of weight loss and makes you second guess yourself when it comes to wanting to show off the new and improved you. So, how can you get rid of excess skin after losing weight?
The lower body lift offered by our plastic surgeons combines; a tummy tuck, butt lift, and thigh lift, and is aimed at patients who have a lot of excess skin around their; abdomen, hips, buttocks, and thighs. The surgery removes all the sagging skin and stubborn fat in these areas and tightens it to give you the body contour you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
Body Lift Guide
Get the Guide to Skin Reduction Surgery after Weight Loss.
Learn more about Body Contouring
What is a lower body lift?
A lower body lift is a cosmetic surgical procedure that removes excess skin and fat from your; belly, hips, thighs, and buttocks. This in turn tightens up these areas giving your torso a smooth contour. It can be described as a combination of both a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) and thigh lift. The lower body lift is sometimes called a;
- “360” lower body lift
- “circumferential” lower body lift
- Or “belt lipectomy”
It removes the overhanging skin rolls from all around your lower torso, including the sides and the back. The lower body lift targets the whole circumference of your lower belly, groin, buttocks, hips, and thighs. The goal is to sculpt your middle body by removing as much excess tissue as possible. This procedure can be done alone or as part of a full mummy makeover, which can include; breast augmentation surgery, arms reduction (Brachioplasty), upper body lift, liposuction, and facelift. However, these are usually done on separate occasions.
What does a lower body lift include?
The belt lipectomy targets the middle part of your torso. As previously mentioned, it includes a tummy tuck, butt lift, and thigh lift. The tummy tuck removes the excess overhanging skin (called “skin apron”) and stubborn fat on your lower belly, groin, and on your sides (loose love handles).
In addition to removing all the excess skin, the tummy tuck part of the lower body lift tightens your whole belly to smoothen out any irregularities leaving you with a smooth and more toned midsection. The butt lift pulls the saggy skin on your buttocks to smoothen it and outline its contour better. While the thigh lift tightens the skin on the front, back, and sides of your thighs. The excess skin is removed, and the remaining thigh skin is tightened giving a more cosmetically appealing look.
All of these are included in the lower body lift and, together, they will give your torso and thighs a straight contour, all around, without the irregularities or excess saggy skin.
Who needs a circumferential lower body lift?
The lower body lift is reserved for patients who have a lot of excess skin, who won’t get the full cosmetic benefit if they do a single procedure like the tummy tuck or thigh lift. A belt lipectomy might be for you if you’ve:
- Had bariatric surgery and subsequent massive weight loss
- Lost a lot of weight quickly through diet and exercise
- Given birth and it has caused extreme weight fluctuations and stubborn excess tissue around your torso.
- Got thin layers of stubborn fat on your belly, hips, thighs, and buttocks and some are overhanging and forming skin rolls
- Or, if the overhanging skin is causing you mobility restrictions, skin irritation or infection
- And, the excess skin is disturbing your self-confidence and positive body image
These are generally the reasons people opt for a lower body lift. During your consultation, your plastic surgeon will tell you if a lower body lift is for you. Or, if you should consider other procedures instead.
What are the pros and cons of lower body lift?
- It’s an all-in-one procedure to tighten your belly, hips, butt, and thighs.
- Restores your self-confidence and positive body image. Especially when you wear tight/fitted clothing
- Not only does it deals with recurrent rashes and skin irritation that is a result of overhanging belly skin but mobility restriction as well.
- It’s a lengthy operation with a lengthy recovery time
- You will have a circumferential scar along your bikini line
- You will have to stay in hospital for 3-5 days post-surgery for recovery and observation.
To most women and men who request a lower body lift, the disadvantages are generally acceptable and the cosmetic and psychological gains are definitely worth it. The belt lipectomy scar is intentionally made along the bikini line. This is to minimise its visibility even when in swimwear.
Who is a good candidate for a circumferential lower body lift?
A belt lipectomy is a major surgical procedure, as a result, there are certain criteria that you need to meet. In order to be a good candidate for surgery you must meet the following criteria:
- Generally, you are in good health and don’t have any major health issues. For Example, heart or lung disease.
- Your weight has been stable for the past 6 months to 1 year with no significant fluctuations. In other words, the surgery can only be done once you have finished losing weight.
- Smoking cigarettes can impair wound healing and ruin surgical outcomes. Therefore, you need to be a non-smoker or if you are you need to be willing to quit 4-6 weeks before your surgery.
- You do not suffer blood coagulation problems or take blood thinners.
- You have reasonable expectations for the cosmetic outcomes of your surgery
- You’re willing to accept a thin scar along your bikini line
Keep in mind that your plastic surgeon will give you clear instructions on how you can prepare for your lower body lift. If you have any medical conditions or are on any medications, your plastic surgeon will consider this when planning your surgery.
How is a belt lipectomy done?
The circumferential lower body lift is done in a hospital operating room with highly experienced staff.
First, an accredited anaesthetist will give you IV medications to put you to sleep (general anaesthesia), so that you won’t feel anything. The lower body lift takes around 4 hours to complete, however, this may be more or less depending on your anatomy and how much excess tissue there is to remove.
Then, an incision is done along your lower belly, just above your pelvic line. This incision is extended along your sides until reaching the back; basically all-around your torso. Your plastic surgeon will first work on your belly fat and overhanging skin. They will cut out the excess skin on your lower belly and hips, and remove all the excess tissue below. The remainder of your belly skin will be pulled tight together to smoothen out any irregularities.
After concluding the tummy tuck, you will be placed on your belly. The excess skin on your lower back and buttocks will be cut away along with the stubborn fat. The skin from your lower back will be pulled downward, and the skin from your buttocks will be pulled upward, giving your butt a smooth contour. Often, lipofilling (fat injection) is done to make your butt perkier, rounder, and fuller. In addition to a flat belly, hips and tighter buttocks, the lower body lift also flattens and tightens the saggy skin on the front, sides, and back of your thighs.
Can a belt lipectomy be combined with other surgical procedures?
A circumferential lower body lift can be combined with lipofilling or liposuction to obtain better results.
- In most patients, liposuction is needed to sculpt the target areas and achieve a firmer and smoother outline.
- Liposuction means literally sucking the fat from under your skin. This gets rid of cellulite and stubborn fat deposits and helps you achieve a younger, healthier look.
- In most lower body lifts, liposuction is essential to obtain great results.
- Liposuction is done using a device that looks like a metal rod. The device is inserted under your skin during surgery to suck out excess fat.
- Lipofilling means injecting fat into your buttocks to make them rounder, firmer, and fuller. This procedure can be done in combination with the lower body lift to emphasize your bottom.
- While the belt lipectomy outlines your buttocks and removes the excess saggy skin in that area, in a lot of cases the butt is flat. Thankfully, lipofilling can help fix this.
As far as other body lift procedures or a full mommy makeover, these can be done either before or after but not in conjunction with your lower body lift. This can include;
- Breast implants
- Upper body lift
- Back lift
- Arm lift
- Brow lift
- And, neck lift.
What to expect during recovery?
A circumferential lower body lift is a major surgical procedure and you will need some time to recover after having it. Once you wake up from anaesthesia, you will be taken to the surgical ward where you will be looked after by specialised nursing staff. Your surgeon will likely leave a couple of drains in your wounds to drain out any fluid or blood that may accumulate. You will be given intravenous pain killers to help control the pain as well as, antibiotics to prevent infection. You should expect to stay in hospital for 3 to 5 days for monitoring.
Once you’re well and can take oral medications, you will be discharged home. If your drains are still draining out fluids when you’re discharged, they might be left in for a few more days. When you go home, you will need to stay in and rest for 4 to 6 weeks. During this period, you should avoid any strenuous activities. You will also need to wear a compression garment.
Furthermore, you will have some bruising and swelling around your wounds. These will get better with time, however, it might take a few months before swelling completely subsides.
Will a lower body lift leave a scar?
Yes, a belt lipectomy leaves a fine scar. The scar is along your bikini line, right above your pubic bone and it extends around your whole circumference to your back. The lower body lift scar is thin and can be hidden under your underwear. So, even if you’re wearing a swimsuit or revealing clothes, it won’t be visible. Over the years, your scar will likely fade away and become less apparent. However, in many cases, it is still noticeable.
What are the complications of belt lipectomy?
Cosmetic procedures are generally safe. However, every surgery has risks and complications. Some complications that can occur after a lower body lift include:
- Seroma: This is when fluid accumulates in your wound. Your surgeon usually inserts drains in your wound to prevent this.
- Hematoma: When blood accumulates in your wound.
- Wound infection: On rare occasions, your wounds might develop a bacterial infection. Pre- and post-operative antibiotics and proper wound care can prevent this.
- Numbness: Sometimes, minor nerves might be damaged from extensive tissue removal. This can lead to temporary numbness in the areas around your wound
- Anaesthesia complications: These will be explained to you in detail by your anaesthetist before surgery.
Your plastic surgeon and anaesthetist will explain in detail all the risks and possible complications and make sure that you understand them before going to the operating room. If you have any questions, queries or concerns make sure you voice them to your surgeon.
How much does lower body lift costs?
The cost of a lower body lift varies. This is due to the variables of each patient, including;
- Your specific case/body.
- The amount of excess skin, and where its located.
- Whether or not you’ll have lipofilling or liposuction.
- Where you want to have surgery.
The cost of cosmetic procedures should not be an obstacle preventing you from getting the body you want. There are a lot of comfortable financing options available for you to choose from.
Will Medicare cover a circumferential lower body lift?
If your overhanging abdominal skin is restricting your mobility or causing you certain skin conditions like irritation, redness, or infection, you might be eligible for a partial rebate by medicare or health insurers. These conditions are considered as necessitating surgery and are therefore covered.
A Guide to Medicare and Health Insurance
More frequently asked questions (FAQs) about belt lipectomy
How painful is a lower body lift?
- The circumferential lower body lift is a major procedure. You should expect some degree of pain after surgery, but nothing that can’t be handled by conventional painkillers.
How long does a lower body lift take?
- The belt lipectomy takes around 4 to 6 hours to complete. This depends on how much excess skin you have, and whether or not you will have lipofilling or liposuction.
How long do you wear a compression garment after a lower body lift?
- After a belt lipectomy, you should wear a compression garment for 4 to 6 weeks.
- Compression garments help speed up healing, tighten your skin, and reduce swelling.
How do you reduce swelling after a lower body lift?
- Swelling after a belt lipectomy is normal. To reduce swelling, your surgeon will put drains in your wound.
- You will also need to wear a compression garment for a few weeks while recovering.
How much weight do you lose with a lower body lift?
- A belt lipectomy is not a weight loss procedure.
- Your weight must be stable for at least 6 months before surgery.
- However, a lower body lift will still reduce your weight, since skin and fat are being removed.
- The amount of weight you lose after a lower body lift depends on how much excess skin and fat is cut out.
Is a lower body lift worth it?
- We can confirm that nearly all our patients are extremely satisfied with their lower body lift.
- They report that it has restored their confidence and positive body image and made them more comfortable with their bodies.
- You can check online reviews on body lifts on realself.com to see for yourself.
Further Reading – Medical Sources: