Offered by board-certified plastic surgeon Lawrence Tong, MD, a Lower Body Lift is designed to address contour and skin laxity of the abdomen, buttocks, and outer thighs, typically following significant weight loss. Originally utilized for patients after bariatric surgery, in recent years it has also been employed as a very successful strategy for patients with lesser degrees of weight loss for similar anatomic areas of concern. Although it is a fairly involved operation, the Lower Body Lift is a very powerful tool in reshaping body contours made saggy and shapeless due to weight loss and skin laxity.
What can a Lower Body Lift do for me?
The total effect of Lower Body Lift is similar to having multiple procedures:
- Abdominoplasty: flattens abdomen, tightens skin, removes folds and stretch marks
- Mons Pubis Reduction: reduces the size, laxity, and thickness of the pubic region
- Lateral Thigh Lift: Lifts the lax skin of the outer thighs
- Buttock Lift: lifts the sagging buttock tissues and skin
- Flank Reduction: removes fat and skin of the waistline and love handles for a more shapely and defined contour
Am I a candidate for Lower Body Lift?
Patients who have had bariatric surgery are the most common candidates for Lower Body Lift. They often have so much hanging skin, that the procedure is as much a functional procedure (to relieve symptoms of discomfort, rash, cleanliness), as it is a cosmetic one. The procedure can be transformative, in terms of not only appearance, but also comfort, hygiene, and self-esteem.
You do not have to be a bariatric surgery patient to undergo this procedure; there are many patients who lose a moderate amount of weight, yet still have concerns about sagging of the buttocks, abdomen, waist, and thighs. For this group of patients, a Lower Body Lift is an outstanding method to address all of those areas at one procedure, while receiving a much more dramatic and aesthetically superior result than for example, Abdominoplasty alone.
The Lower Body Lift is ideally performed on patients who are healthy and relatively fit. Patients should have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or less, and ideally, less than 30. If you are a patient who has undergone bariatric surgery, your weight should be stable for at least 6 months before having the surgery. Smokers should not undergo this surgery because of the high risk for healing complications after surgery. If you do smoke, you should quit at least one month prior to surgery, and not resume smoking after surgery has been performed.
Dr. Tong will evaluate your health status to make sure that it is appropriate for you to undergo this procedure.
Important Considerations about Lower Body Lift
The procedure is an operation that takes on the average, six hours to perform. During surgery, there will be four drainage tubes placed, to allow wound fluid (which is made by the body after surgery) a route to escape. These drainage tubes remain for 1-2 weeks, and are easily removed at your first or second post-operative visit. You will be shown how to take care of them at home.
Not a Weight Loss Procedure
A Lower Body Lift should not be considered as weight loss procedure, or a substitute for good diet and exercise. The actual weight of the removed tissue is usually less than 15 pounds. The procedure may not be recommended in some patients who are overweight, or who have not lost enough weight, due to the potential for unsatisfactory results.
You must Quit Smoking Prior to Surgery
Smokers must quit or else they are at a high risk for surgical complications. If you are considering a Lower Body Lift, plan to stop smoking for good at least 4 weeks prior to the surgery date.
Overnight Stay Required
This procedure generally requires an overnight stay at our facility. Patients with more profound degrees of excess skin may require a second overnight stay.
Incisions for Lower Body Lift
Any surgical procedure that makes an incision will produce some type of scar. A plastic surgeon specializes in obtaining the least visible scars, and putting them in the least visible places.
The incision for a Lower Body Lift runs around the entire torso, below the bikini line. The incision in the front is identical to a Tummy Tuck incision while the rest of the incision continues towards the back, along the top of the buttocks, and dips down at the midline buttock crease. The incision is strategically placed so that it is hidden when wearing underwear. In a Caucasian patient, the scar tends to be a thin white line. Dr. Tong will carefully discuss where the incisions are placed and what they will tend to look like at your personal consultation with him.
Detail of the Lower Body Lift Procedure
Dr. Tong performs your Lower Body Lift under general anesthesia at the CAAASF accredited surgery suite at 199 Avenue Road. The operating rooms are conveniently located on the 3rd floor of the same medical building where Dr. Tong has his medical office. Just prior to surgery, Dr. Tong will perform the important task of making the surgical markings, which are the lines drawn on your body as guides for the Lower Body Lift procedure. After the markings are complete, the certified anesthesiologist administers general anesthesia, in the operating room. You are asleep during the entire procedure, completely unaware of your surroundings.
The first step of the Lower Body Lift is very similar to undergoing a regular Tummy Tuck. Dr. Tong first makes the incision below the bikini line in the front. He elevates the skin and fat is away from the muscle. The muscle is tightened, which renders the abdominal wall firm, and free of laxity. The elevated skin is pulled downwards, and the excess skin, along with the associated fatty tissue, is marked and removed. Dr. Tong also removes the excess skin and fat of the mons pubis at this point. A small opening corresponding to the position of the navel is made, and the navel is brought back out to its original spot. Dr. Tong places two drainage tubes in the wound, exiting through the skin. He then meticulously stitches together the incisions.
The next component addresses lifting the outer thighs, trimming the waistline, and lifting the buttocks. To accomplish this, you are turned onto your side. Dr. Tong makes the incisions along the marked lines. The soft tissues of the outer thigh, buttocks, and flank (love handle) tissues are undermined so that they are easily lifted upwards. Dr. Tong lifts these tissues, and the excess skin/fat is marked and removed. He carefully sews the wound edges together after another drainage tube is placed. Finally, you are turned onto your other side, where the same procedure is performed on the second thigh, flanks, and buttocks. A dressing is applied and you will be placed in a compression garment, and awakened from anesthesia.
Recovery after Lower Body Lift Surgery
Recovery Immediately after Lower Body Lift Surgery
After the surgery, you will be transported to the recovery room where our registered nurses will monitor you as you gently awake from the effects of anesthesia. Afterwards, you will be taken to your overnight stay room, where you will spend the evening.
Overnight Stay and Lower Body Lift Surgery
The Lower Body Lift is a procedure that should include at least one overnight stay and possibly two. Ambulation may be difficult without assistance of a nurse. The overnight nurse will attend to your needs during the evening which generally will be to help you with getting to the bathroom, and providing medications. During the evening the nurse will monitor you vital signs, and make sure that you are comfortable. Dr. Tong will come to see you in the morning to check on your progress and examine your surgical sites. If there are still concerns about discomfort or your ability to ambulate at home, Dr. Tong may have you stay an additional evening.
Recovery at Home after a Lower Body Lift
After you go home, we encourage you to get plenty of rest. Ambulation will be limited because of the discomfort, and you should have someone assist for at least the first few days. You will notice that it is difficult to stand straight up at first, and we encourage you to stay slightly bent at the waist. As the tissues of the abdomen stretch, you should be able to stand up straight one week after surgery. You will be instructed on how to take care of the drains while at home. You will have soreness in the abdomen, similar to abdominal muscle aching after a very strenuous workout. Bruising is typically mild to moderate but more so if Liposuction has been done. Narcotic pain medication will be prescribed and should be used as required.
Post-operative Visits after a Lower Body Lift
Your first postoperative visit with Dr. Tong occurs at one week after surgery. Most of the stitches are removed and the drains are removed as well, provided they meet certain drainage criteria. You see Dr. Tong again at 2 weeks after surgery to remove any remaining stitches and to have him check on your progress. You will have further post op visits at 6 weeks, 6 months, and 1 year after surgery. Photographs are taken at these visits to document your progress. There photos are for your medical record and are not disclosed without your written permission.
Get Educated about Lower Body Lift
During your Lower Body Lift consultation, Dr. Tong will give you all the information you need to make an educated decision. He will make sure that you are informed about your options, and that all of your questions are answered. You will have the opportunity to view photographs of many examples of his work. It is our goal to make you an educated patient. We know that an educated patient will make better decisions about their surgery, and their surgeon.
To learn more about how Toronto Lower Body Lift surgeon Dr. Lawrence Tong can help you with your Lower Body Lift goals, set up a consultation with Dr. Tong by giving us a call at (416) 972-0999. Alternatively, let us give you a call; just fill out our contact form and we will call you on the same or the next business day. No physician’s referral is required.
Lower Body Lift at a Glance
- Poor scar placement (too high on back and front)
- Insufficient contouring of the waistline