What is it? Similar to the way an abdominoplasty tightens and contours the abdomen and hips, a lower body lift tightens and contours the lower back, buttocks and upper thighs. The is most commonly for the massive weight loss patient that has developed extra back skin and sagging of the buttock and thighs. A back lift surgery can take care of this excess skin. After surgery you will have a scar from hip to hip just above the gluteal cleft. Often this is performed as a second surgery after a patient has already had an abdominoplasty. After massive weight loss, there is usually deficient gluteal volume so that the buttocks may still appear flat after lifting all the tissues. A nice round gluteal shape can be restored via fat grafting, or by an auto-augmentation. Please refer to these sections of the website for further information. You will be asked to purchase a compression garment before your procedure. If you're interested in a lower body lift in Houston, visit us at Lift Plastic Surgery.
What happens during surgery? During surgery, you will be placed on your stomach, as well as turned side to side. An incision is made from hip to hip just above the gluteal cleft. Tissue from the back, buttock and upper thighs is undermined and extra tissue is removed unless an auto-augmentation is planned. Liposuction is often added for contouring of the love handles and thighs, as well as to harvest fat if fat grafting is planned. The incisions are closed with absorbable sutures and protected with tape and skin glue. Drains are also placed to prevent fluid build-up. You will then be placed into a compression garment. Depending on your preference, you can either go home or stay a night in the hospital.
What will my recovery be like? Drains usually stay in for 1-2 weeks and are later removed in the office. You will be able to start showering the day after surgery. Postoperatively, you will have some discomfort, almost like muscle soreness after a workout, but it is usually not significantly painful. Additionally, you will not be able to bend very much at the waist and must stay fairly straight for several weeks until the tissues stretch out. You must wear a compression garment at all times other than showering for the first 6 weeks to limit swelling and improve your results. No vigorous exercise or activity is allowed for the first 6 weeks after surgery. Expect that you will have swelling, and this will gradually decrease over the next few months.
What are the risks? With massive weight loss patients, there is generally a circumferential excess of skin, which can be hard to contour completely after a lower body lift. Additionally, tissues tend to look different when a patient is positioned on the operating room table in comparison to standing. Because of this, after surgery there may be a skin fold present in the remaining lower back skin which can give the appearance of an elongated gluteal cleft. If this does occur, it can usually be fixed by another small procedure which re-arranges the tissue in the area.