Patients who have lost a great deal of weight from dieting, exercise, or bariatric surgery (gastric bypass surgery) often incur the secondary problem of excess skin in localized areas of the abdomen, buttocks, thighs and back. In order to get the slim, toned body with lovely contours that they worked so hard for, a surgical procedure such as the body lift may be required. A lower body lift is appropriate if you are near your ideal weight and may precede or follow an upper body lift procedure.
Good candidates for body lift surgery include:
- Men and women with significant soft tissue looseness in multiple body areas
- Healthy individuals without medical conditions that can impair healing or increase risk of surgery
- Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic goals for what body lift surgery can achieve
- Individuals committed to leading a healthy lifestyle, including proper nutrition and exercise.
At your consultation, Dr. Sabry will do a complete medical history and physical exam, including weight to determine whether you are a candidate for a body lift, or for a less invasive procedure which would still allow you to meet your appearance goals. He will examine your abdomen, and lower body, the quality of your skin, the location of any existing scars, the amount and location of any excess skin and fat. He will photograph you and take detailed measurements. He will discuss your motivations, the possible risks and complications, as well as realistic expectations. Once you both have a clear understanding of the risks and potential outcome, Dr. Sabry will devise a specific procedure plan that is right for you and that you both agree on. If you are a smoker, you will be asked to quit smoking for 6-8 weeks prior to your procedure.
As you approach the date of your surgery you will have a comprehensive preoperative visit in our office approximately two weeks before your surgery. A complete list of “dos and don’ts” will be reviewed as well as the pre and postoperative instructions and any questions that remain will be answered. You will be directed to avoid anything that has a blood-thinning effect (aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamin E etc.) for two weeks before surgery. You will be asked to minimize alcohol intake. Basic blood work for preoperative testing will be ordered.
The lower body lift addresses the buttocks, lower abdomen and outer thighs. Body lift surgery involves making an incision at the waist or slightly below it and removing excess skin and closing the skin under some tension. The incision length and pattern depends on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed. Most commonly, a body lift treats both the abdomen and the back area and is therefore circumferential. The circumferential incision around the body removes an apron of excess skin and fat, and repositions and tightens tissue. Abdominal muscles are tightened and the abdominal skin re-draped. Support sutures deep within the skin help form the new contours. Dr. Sabry may perform liposuction for further contouring. The navel is often repositioned. Small drainage tubes are inserted and maintained in place for a few days. Lower body lifts are performed in the hospital and a hospital stay of 2 to 3 days may be necessary.
Dr. Sabry may schedule your overall skin reduction in stages, perhaps over a period of years. Often only one or two areas of the body are addressed at one time. Dr. Sabry will make recommendations about the best strategy to address all of your needs in the safest and most efficient manner.
Surgical dressings are removed two days after surgery. Discomfort will dissipate over a week or two after the surgery. Dr. Sabry will prescribe pain medication for you to take after you return home. You will need to wear compression garments for a few weeks after the surgery. You may be directed to follow a special diet. Your activity will be determined by the progress of your healing. Once the drains are removed, movement will be easier. Full healing of the circumferential incisions may take four weeks or even longer.
Wound separations may occur, delaying wound healing (but rarely requiring further surgery).
You will need to take at least two to three weeks off from work and restrict normal activities for four to six weeks. You may be able to resume exercise at eight weeks. Your scars are permanent and will start to fade within the year. Dr. Sabry will see you for post-operative visits. He and our staff will answer any questions you may have about your recovery, as well as your overall health and well-being.
All surgical procedures carry some risk. Under Dr. Sabry’s expert and meticulous care all measures are taken to minimize the potential. Although they rarely occur, risks associated with body lift surgery include: infection, swelling at the incision site(s), fluid accumulation, blood clots, changes in the sensation of the skin such as numbness and pain, poor wound healing, abnormal scarring.