Body Contouring in Miami/Broward
Have you lost a lot of weight but still feel like you have a spare tire around your middle? What can you do about that baggy skin that still hangs there? Or maybe you have extra skin that sags around your hips or thighs? You can get rid of all of this through belt lipectomy, better known as body contouring or lower body lift.
About Body Contouring Surgery
Also known as a belt lipectomy, body contouring or lower body lift is a surgery that tightens and sculpts the areas below the waistline, which include the buttocks, thighs, hips, and abdomen. It is one of the most popular types of body lifts since the effects of extreme weight loss are often more pronounced in the aforementioned areas. This can leave large folds of excess skin on the body that might cause chafing, discomfort, and decreased mobility.
Body contouring offers a variety of cosmetic and medical benefits, foremost of which is the comfort that it brings whenever you engage in exercises and normal daily activities. Sagging skin can weigh you down and might even make you develop rashes and infections. With a lower body lift, the excess skin, fat, and tissue that hold you down are removed, hence allowing you to move more freely.
Before you get a belt lipectomy, you need to consider several factors in order to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for a lower body lift.
One of the biggest things that you need to consider is how much weight you have actually lost. If you have undergone extreme or dramatic weight loss and have lost 30 to 50 percent of your peak weight, then you are a good candidate for a lower body lift.
Another requirement that you need to fulfill before you get a lower body lift is a stable weight. Weight fluctuations can interfere with the results of the procedure, so most plastic surgeons recommend waiting around 18 months to two years after reaching your weight loss goals before you pursue surgery, as this gives your skin enough time to shrink as much as possible and accommodate your new body shape.
Those who are planning to get a lower body lift should not be smoking or drinking excessively. Smoking and drinking alcohol slow down the healing process, making you more at risk of getting serious complications during and after surgery.
Aside from that, you also have to make sure that you are in general good health without any chronic medical conditions like diabetes or heart disease. Otherwise, your poor health might not be able to take the rigors of the surgery. You need to obtain a clearance from your primary care physician before you undergo any type of plastic surgery.
You need to have realistic expectations about the results of your procedure. After the procedure, you also need to commit to maintaining excellent nutrition and an exercise regimen for the rest of your lift in order to enjoy the results of a lower body lift for a long time.
In general, your cosmetic surgeon will do the following steps in a lower body lift procedure.
First, you will be administered either local anesthesia with intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. Most surgeons prefer general anesthesia, as lower body lift is a highly comprehensive procedure. If general anesthesia is used, a breathing tube will be placed inside the mouth to ensure that the airway is secure even during position changes in the body contouring procedure.
Once the anesthesia’s effect kicks off, your surgeon creates a circumferential incision around your torso. This involves making an incision around the beltline of your waist, across your lower abdomen, and down your inner thighs.
Through the circumferential incision, your surgeon can access and remove an apron of excess skin and fat located below the incision line. He will also reposition and tighten the tissues in this area. There are cases when a liposuction is necessary for fat removal.
To avoid the appearance of sagging skin, your surgeon will pull the remaining skin in your thighs and buttocks upward, while the underlying tissues will also be suspended and tightened.
You also have the option of combining the lower body lift with other cosmetic treatments, the most popular of which are a tummy tuck and inner thigh lift.
Once the operation is done, the incisions are sutured in multiple layers and covered with bandages and compression garments. Tension is often placed in the deeper levels in order to prevent the skin from stretching and causing the scar to look thicker and wider. Drains may also be placed to control stretching and swelling.
A lower body lift will result in firmer and smoother skin, as well as an improved figure from the waist down. It can permanently repair sagging skin, eliminate stubborn fat deposits, and strengthen weakened underlying muscles.
The circumferential scar resulting from body contouring surgery will be permanent but become less noticeable over time. Your surgeon will also try as much as possible to place it in an inconspicuous area that will be easily covered up by clothing.
However, as one ages, it is natural for the skin and connective tissues to loosen and sag gradually. You are still susceptible to the effects of aging, any future weight gain, and other types of damage. Hence, it is important to continue maintaining your weight even after surgery within 10 to 15 pounds of the weight that you had at the time of your surgery.
Once you decide to get a lower body lift, your chosen surgeon will ask you to stop smoking for at least six weeks before the surgery. As previously mentioned, smoking impedes the healing process, making you more at risk for getting complications. You will also be asked to avoid taking aspirin, herbal medications, and certain anti-inflammatory drugs as these can increase your risk for bleeding.
Your surgeon might also ask you to reach a certain weight requirement before you undergo this highly complex procedure. A lower body lift is not a weight loss procedure, so it is important that you achieve a stable and ideal weight first before the surgery.
You should also arrange for your recovery even before you get the surgery. Schedule for someone to drive you to and from the hospital on the day of the surgery. You must also take time off from work have someone to take care of you at least a couple of days after your body contouring.
Prepare your home for recovery by making things more convenient for you. For instance, you can prepare your meals in advance so that you can easily reheat them afterward. You might also want to set up your nightstand with everything you need within easy reach.
Keep in mind that your doctor is supposed to discuss his surgical plan with you during the consultation. Ask any questions that you may have during that period so that you are fully confident that your lower body lift will turn out fine.
Immediately after your surgery, expect to be wearing bandages and a few compression garments on your surgical sites. Some drains may also be placed to prevent fluid accumulation. Oral pain medications are given to relieve pain. You might need to spend around two days in the hospital before you are discharged. You may need to take two to three weeks off from work as you recover.
But even when at home, it is important that you still avoid doing any strenuous activities for four to six weeks after surgery. However, walking every day can certainly help hasten the healing process. Just make sure that you do not engage in a full workout regimen until six to eight weeks after surgery.
Discomfort usually dissipates over a week or two after your lower body lift. Your sutures will also be removed after two weeks. However, full healing of the circumferential incision may take four weeks or even longer.
While bruising starts to disappear within the first few weeks after your procedure swelling takes longer to subside, usually within a few months. Lower body lift scars are permanent but they will start to fade in about 12 months. They can also be hidden by clothing.
Risks and Side Effects
Some of the temporary side effects of a lower body lift procedure include inflammation, bruising, numbness, nausea, disorientation, allergic reactions, and general discomfort. These go away on their own as time goes by, but you can minimize them by following the advice and instructions of your cosmetic surgeon before and after your surgery.
Like any other surgery, belt lipectomy carries some risks, such as excessive bleeding, fat and skin necrosis, phlebitis, infection, deep vein thrombosis, weakened muscles, fluid accumulation, and improper suture healing. Consult your doctor immediately when you experience these problems, especially during prolonged periods of time.
Also, if you deem your results to be unsatisfactory or even asymmetrical, you might need to schedule a revisional body lift with your surgeon to correct any issues.
Combining Body Contouring with Other Procedures
You can also choose to combine body contouring with other cosmetic treatments in order to enhance the results.
One of the most popular treatments combined with a lower body lift is a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty. This treatment is perfect for people with loose, drooping skin around the midsection, as well as those with weakened abdominal muscles due to pregnancy or sudden weight loss. It can help remove loose skin, tighten muscles, and eliminate stubborn fat deposits in the abdominal area.
In a tummy tuck surgery, your surgeon tightens your sagging abdominal muscles and removes packets of excess fat and skin from the stomach area. The abdominal muscles are then pulled closer and stitched into a position that will give you a more toned abdomen and a narrower waistline. The skin is also stretched downward and any excess skin is trimmed away. This can also reduce the appearance of stretch marks below the navel.
Inner Thigh Lift
Another treatment that can be combined with a lower body lift is the inner thigh lift, which is perfect for patients who have trouble eliminating excess fat in the inner thighs through diet and exercise. It can also address reduced skin elasticity caused by the aging process or extreme weight loss.
In an inner thigh lift, your surgeon makes an incision at the junction where the thigh meets the pubic area. This gives him access to the underlying tissues, allowing him to remove a wedge of skin and fat from the area. The remaining skin is also tightened to improve leg contours.
Body contouring is also a common option for post-bariatric surgery patients.
Body contouring cost depends on a number of factors – your chosen doctor, geographic location, and lower body lift technique, just to name a few. It can cost roughly anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000.
Generally speaking, insurance companies do not cover lower body lift cost, unless it is considered to be ‘medically necessary.’ However, many surgeons offer patient financing plans to make the procedure more pocket-friendly.
Body Contouring Alternatives
There are several alternatives without surgery that you can undergo if you do not want to go under the knife.
One of them is lipomassage or Endermologie, which is a patented slimming technology that makes use of a small tool to break down fats, stimulate the production of collagen that improves skin elasticity, and help the body naturally drain accumulated fluids. Each treatment lasts for about 35 to 45 minutes. You will also need to undergo multiple treatments of about six to 10 times—usually one to two sessions per week—to notice the difference. The results last for a few months.
Light treatments are also a great alternative. Light treatments administer heat on the deep layer of the skin in order to break apart fat deposits. Your plastic surgeon uses a small handheld device that emits laser, infrared, or LED light over the affected areas, hence liquefying fat cells over multiple sessions. The results – which are similar to a lower body lift but generally more subtle – are visible immediately, but may become more evident in two to three months. They might last for about six months as new collagen is formed.
Ultrasound cavitation is similar to light treatments, as it tries to eliminate stubborn fat deposits without disturbing the epidermis. However, this one makes use of sound wave frequencies instead of light.
Other treatments that focus on sagging skin include Botox and dermal fillers, fat dissolving injections, laser skin resurfacing, and topical creams and lotions. For more information about these, check out the Non-Surgical Alternatives to Lower Body Contouring.
If you think that a belt lipectomy is right for you, Schedule a Free Consultation with one of Face + Body Cosmetic Surgery’s highly-acclaimed and experienced plastic surgeons. You can ask them any concerns that you may have before you fully commit to getting a lower body lift.