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Body Lift

Body lift is a surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fatty tissue from the abdomen, flanks, and back.  It will also tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall.  A body lift is not a surgical treatment for being overweight.  Overweight individuals who intend to lose weight should postpone all forms of body contouring surgery until they have reached a stable weight for at least 6 months.  If you have had a bariatric procedure, you should be at least a year out from your procedure as well.  A body lift is done on patients who have lost a significant amount of weight and have laxity of the skin of the upper and lower abdomen, laxity of the muscles of the upper/lower abdomen, and have excess skin of the flanks, abdomen, and back.  This procedure not only removes the excess skin and fatty tissue, it would also tighten the muscles of the upper and lower abdomen, and bring the belly button out through a new hole.  The skin and tissue of the back can either be removed, or used to enhance the buttock area.  There are variations and different types of body lifts that can be done.  Again, Dr. Lovelace will perform a personal consultation with you to determine which type of body lift is right for you.

What are other names for this procedure?

Circumferential lower body lift, or 360 degree abdominoplasty

How much pain will I have? 

Moderate

What will it cost? 

A price quote detailing the fees for the facility, anesthesia, any postoperative garments, and surgeon will be given at your consultation.  Prices will vary depending on the time that is needed to do the procedure, and the complexity of the procedure.  Dr. Lovelace will perform a personal consultation to determine what the right procedure is for you.

What is the hospital/surgery center time?

Surgery will be approximately 5-8 hours as determined on a case by case basis.  Typically this is done with an overnight stay at the hospital.

What is the recovery?

Sutures that are placed are usually dissolvable and will not need to be removed.  You will likely have drains that will stay in place for 1-2 weeks.  These drains help prevent hematomas and seromas.  You will be placed in a compression garment after your surgery, and told to wear this at all times for 8 weeks, and then only at night as long as tolerated.  You will be expected to start walking immediately after surgery to help reduce the risk of blood clots.  On average patients return to light duty work 1-2 weeks after surgery.  You will be able to return to non-strenuous activity approximately 1-2 weeks after surgery.   Approximately 8 weeks after surgery, strenuous activity will be allowed without restrictions.  Scars will flatten and fade between 3 months and 2 years after surgery.

What medications should I take or avoid taking with my surgery?

You should not take any blood thinners or anti-inflammatory medications for a week before your procedure, and you should hold all over the counter supplements a week before surgery.  This will help reduce the risk of bleeding intraoperatively, and help reduce the risk of postoperative hematoma (collection of blood).  If blood thinners are prescribed for you by your cardiologist or primary care physician, you should get clearance from them to hold these medications before they are discontinued.  Dr. Lovelace may elect to give you blood thinners in the perioperative period depending on your risks.  She may also request that you have a filter placed to help catch possible large clots.  You should hold all hormones 6 weeks before surgery.  Birth control pills should be held 6 weeks before surgery as well.  Of course you should make sure to use alternative forms of birth control during and after this time.  Hormones and birth control pills put you at a higher risk of blood clots.  These clots can go to your lungs and cause serious illness or even death.  We call this a pulmonary embolus.  Steroids should be weaned off at least a month before your surgery, and this weaning process should be set up and cleared by your prescribing physician.  Dr. Lovelace and the staff will go through your list of medication, and let you know what exactly you need to do with your medications preoperatively.  Make sure that you bring all of your medications with you to your consultation.  You will usually be given your prescriptions for your postoperative medication on your preoperative visit so that they can be filled and at your house when you get home from surgery.

Will I need clearances from any other physicians?

Depending on your age and medical issues, Dr. Lovelace and her staff will set you up with your primary care physician, cardiologist, etc. for clearance prior to your surgery.  At that time any necessary labs, EKGs, or chest x-rays will be done.  If any hernias are suspected, she may want to get a CT scan preoperatively as well.

What are the risks?

The risks of a lower body lift include bleeding, infection, scarring, hematoma, seroma, need for drains, asymmetry, poor cosmesis, need for further surgery, dog ears, contour irregularities, fat necrosis, dehiscence, intra-abdominal/intrathoracic injury, bowel injury, umbilical/skin necrosis, umbilical malposition, numbness/hypersensation, dehiscence, relaxation of skin, continued excess skin, stretch marks may not all be removed, weight gain/loss/pregnancy can change result, nerve/vessel/muscle injury, persistent edema, fullness of the mons, flap loss, cardiac/pulmonary/stroke/DVT/PE events, death, etc.