Body lift surgeries are becoming more popular. They may be considered for several reasons, such as significant weight loss, aging or pregnancy. This is done to remove excess skin and tighten the body. The end result is a more contoured body. Before having this surgery, patients should look into recovery so that they know what to expect and can properly prepare.
Why it is Done
When you body is not as taut and youthful as it once was, this can cause issues with your confidence. A body lift is an option to help you get back that pleasing aesthetic. The following are reasons why thousands of patients choose to have a body lift every year:
Dramatic weight loss that has caused you to now have excess skin
Lower body overhanging skin that causes rashes, chafing, infection or movement restrictions
Below the skin in the thigh, buttocks, hip or abdomen there are layers of fat that are relatively thin
Sagging lower body skin is causing you distress
Once you get to the hospital for your body lift, the surgeon usually marks your body and takes some additional photos. After this is done, anesthesia is administered. This typically is the general type so that you are able to sleep during the procedure.
Once the anesthesia is completed, the surgeon begins making the incisions. The patterns for these usually depends on where the excess fat and skin are and the goals you discussed with your surgeon. In general, the incision made resembles a belt you wear low on your waist encircling your body.
The surgeon then starts to remove the excess skin so that your remaining skin can be repositioned. This may also involve changing the location of your belly button. The final step is closing the incisions. In most cases, sutures are used. These may be reinforced with skin adhesive and surgical tape.
You may have drains when you wake up to collect the excess fluid or blood. These are only in place temporarily. Bandages may also be present.
Healing and Recovery
Once the procedure ends, you are put into a recovery area. Nurses and other healthcare professionals will monitor you. While some people go home that day, there is typically a hospital stay at least overnight. However, it may be as long as two to three days. This typically depends on how extensive the body lift was and how well you are healing during the first few days. Once you do go home, you will need to have someone with you. There are many restrictions in the early phase of recovery, so you will need help at home.
Once you are home, you usually have pain medication your doctor prescribed. It is imperative to take this exactly as your surgeon says. Do not skip doses and wait until your pain is too much to take a dose. You should also not take doses early. If your pain is significant even with the medication, contact your surgeon. In most cases, these medications can be taken with some food if you experience nausea with them. Dietary changes might also be suggested and should be followed.
Approximately two days after surgery, surgical dressings are usually taken off. This is done either at a follow-up visit or at the hospital if you are still there. Do not remove these until your surgeon says you can unless you are instructed to change them. Once these dressings are removed, you can usually bathe as usual. You should only take showers and avoid sitting in a bathtub of water. Gently dry the incisions well after bathing.
Unless you are showering, you are generally instructed to wear a compression garment. This helps to protect your incisions and should be worn for as long as your surgeon recommends.
Most patients are told to start walking as soon as possible after a body lift. Your post-operative healthcare team will likely start getting you up while you are still in the hospital. While you want to walk as much as is comfortable, do not lift anything over five pounds and avoid excessive movement.
Throughout your total healing and recovery period, you should be on the lookout for any complications. Most patients recover without issue, but it is still important to know what these are. Should you experience any complications, it is important to contact your surgeon. Risks may include:
- Anesthesia reactions
- Fluid accumulation
- Fat dying below the skin
- Legs swelling persistently
- Skin loss
- Unfavorable scarring
- Wounds healing poorly
- Skin sensation changes, such as numbness
- Persistent pain
- Skin becoming loose again
- Skin discoloration
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Pulmonary or cardiac issues
- Suture problems
Before getting back to your normal routine, you should typically plan for four to six weeks of recovery. By the time you get to this point, any bruising and pain are typically gone, or mostly gone. It is normal to feel tired during your recovery since your body is focused on healing from the body lift. It may take up to eight weeks before exercise is advisable. By the third month, approximately 90 percent of swelling should dissipate.
As long as your weight is maintained, it is unlikely your body contours will change. However, age-related skin changes can still occur. The scar is not easily seen when you are wearing swimsuits or other clothing. It may take up to two years for the scar to fade and flatten.
The Plastic Surgery Institute Miami has three board-certified plastic surgeons, including Dr. John Oeltjen, Dr. Jason Altman and Dr. Marcelo Ghersi. All three doctors have impressive resumes and extensive experience in body contouring in Miami, FL. These doctors are among the top in their field and have a reputation for superior service. Learn more about them here: www.psimiami.com.