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Procedure Time: 4 – 5 hours
Recovery Time: 2-3 weeks or more
Results Duration: Permanent removal of excess skin
Cost: Staring from £4,000
Anaesthesia: General anaesthesia
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Lower body lift is an operation which removes large amounts of skin and fat from the stomach, hips, thighs, and back. This operation is designed mainly for men or women who have lost large amounts of weight and are left with saggy and unattractive skin around the stomach, buttock, thighs, and hips. A lower body lift will usually take around 4 – 5 hours. The nature of this operation means that the surgeon has to make long cuts and, inevitably, long scars will result from them. Crescent shaped segments of skin, and fat from under the skin, are removed from the buttock and thigh areas. The remaining skin and tissue are lifted to achieve a tighter and smoother effect. The length of the scar will depend on how much excess skin you have; scars may stretch across the upper buttock, outer and inner thighs. Recovery generally takes two to three weeks or longer. Private costs for a lower body lift procedure can start from around £4,000.
The lower body lift is part of a general area in cosmetic surgery called body contouring, and is an operation which removes large amounts of skin and fat from the stomach, hips, thighs, and back. This is an operation designed mainly for men or women who have lost large amounts of weight and are left with saggy and unattractive skin around the stomach, buttock, thighs, and hips.
The first body lifting operations began in Brazil and France in the 1960s and 1970s.
Thigh lifts, buttock lifts, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), and arm lifts were performed using the surgical techniques which were available at that time. Although a “tummy tuck” has become a popular procedure performed by many surgeons today, problems with inconsistent results, unnatural body shapes, poor scarring and other complications caused surgeons to be very cautious when recommending patients for some form of a body lift.
From the late 1980s, a better understanding of skin and fat structure, and how the body changes as we age, have enabled surgeons to redesign their operations so that they are more successful all round.
In recent years these procedures have started to gain in popularity, particularly with the need for post-weight loss surgeries. According to statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), 6,098 lower body lifts were performed in 2018 in the US, this represents a decrease of 6.2% on 2017 statistics.
No official figures are yet available for the UK, but there are a few surgeons who are starting to offer this procedure.
If you're considering a lower body lift, the following information will give you a basic understanding of the procedure. It can't answer all your questions, since a lot depends on the individual patient and the surgeon. Please ask a surgeon about anything you don't understand.
Your first discussion with a surgeon should clearly set out your expectations and whether the operation can give you the results you desire.
Careful discussions regarding the reasons for wanting a lower body lift and your suitability for this type of surgery are very important at this stage. Make sure that you obtain as much information as is necessary to enable you to make a fully informed choice and make sure you receive satisfactory answers to all your questions.
It may be that liposuction alone, or a “tummy tuck” or buttock lift plus some liposuction, will achieve the results that you desire. As there is the possibility of a combination of treatments available, you must communicate fully your concerns and expectations with your doctor in your first meeting.
A medical history should also be taken to make sure that there are no reasons why you shouldn’t have this operation. You would normally be asked to sign a consent form which means that you have understood the potential benefits and risks associated with a lower body lift.
Photographs may also be taken by the practitioner as a "before and after" comparison at a later date.
The surgeon may also wish to write to your G.P. giving details of the operation so that if there are any problems associated with surgery in the short or long-term, your doctor is aware of the procedure and can help you to recover.
Lower body lifts are usually performed under a general anaesthetic.
Please take into account that a general anaesthetic carries more potential risks than a local anaesthetic – this should be clearly explained by the surgeon before you make any decisions about the anaesthetic.
If you make a decision to go ahead with a lower body lift, the actual procedure may take place in an outpatient surgical clinic, but most surgeons and patients prefer a hospital where you can recover overnight.
A lower body lift will usually take around 4 – 5 hours, depending on the extent of work required, and whether any other procedures such as liposuction are involved.
The nature of this operation means that the surgeon has to make long cuts and, inevitably, long scars will result from them. The length of the scar will depend on how much excess skin you have.
Depending on the surgeon, and the extent of the body lift procedure, scars may stretch across the upper buttock, outer and inner thighs. Wherever possible, these are positioned so that a bikini line can hide them.
Crescent shaped segments of skin, and fat from under the skin, are removed from the buttock and thigh areas. The remaining skin and tissue are lifted to achieve a tighter and smoother effect.
Although the operation is often combined with liposuction, it is aimed mainly at the tightening of skin and deep tissue.
This procedure is also often combined with a “tummy tuck”.
After a lower body lift, dressings will be applied, and temporary tubes may be put in to drain excess fluid from the area of surgery. Firm elastic bandages are then applied to support the area.
Depending on the extent of the procedure, you may be released to go home after a stay in hospital for 1 or 2 days.
Lower body lift recovery generally takes two to three weeks or longer and it will be about six weeks before you can go back to vigorous exercise.
There is quite a high level of pain and discomfort during the healing process, but this can usually be controlled effectively with painkillers.
Bruising after the surgery is very visible, and swelling is severe and can take up to three or four months to disappear. You may also experience numbness of the skin around the buttocks and thighs and it may take several months for the sensation to return.
Like all surgical procedures, there is always a possibility of complications and, although rare, these can include infection, a reaction to the anaesthetic, blood or fluid collection underneath the skin, nerve damage, blood clots, and an irregular or a “lop-sided” appearance of the buttocks and thighs after the operation.
Occasionally, the lymph gland system in the groin is interrupted during surgery. If this should happen, severe swelling will probably occur for several weeks as the lymphatic channels regrow again and the lymph fluid begins to flow. This is an uncommon problem, but it requires some patience and understanding if it does occur.
The surgery does produce a permanent scar. Your scars may actually appear to worsen during the first three to six months as they heal, but this is normal. Expect it to take nine months to a year before your scars flatten out and lighten in colour. While they'll never disappear completely, they can usually be hidden by underwear.
Very visible scar formation, however, can occasionally occur where the scars broaden and thicken.
It may take you weeks or months to feel like your old self again. If you have this procedure when you are fit, recovery from this surgery will be much faster than if you are out of shape when you have the operation.
It is very important that you follow the advice of your surgeon carefully after a lower body lift.
Post-surgery advice may include:
There are few absolute medical reasons why you should not undergo a lower body lift as long as you are in good general health and have realistic expectations of this treatment.
If you have had phlebitis (inflamed blood vessels) in either of your legs, you may not be a candidate for lift surgery.
If you have experienced healing problems with any past surgical treatments or if you are prone to keloid (red, angry, raised) scars, your surgeon may not recommend a body lift or may advise you that scars could be very visible and raised.
A lower body lift is not an alternative to losing weight. In fact, many surgeons will suggest an alternative to surgery for patients who are more than 15 percent over their ideal body weight.
Also, if you are considering losing weight, you should wait until after your target weight is reached before having this procedure. Otherwise, you may need another operation to remove the excess skin after you have lost the desired weight. Thus, your first operation would have been a complete waste of money!
Only fully trained and qualified surgeons should perform a lower bodylift operation.
This is not a commonly performed procedure in the U.K., so you may find it difficult to find someone who specialises in this cosmetic procedure.
For more information about practitioner training, qualifications and relevant medical organisations please view the information contained within the Legislation section of the Consulting Room.
It is highly unlikely that anyone considering a lower body lift operation would be able to access this free of charge on the National Health Service.
However certain regions do make special cases, and we would always recommend that you visit your General Practitioner before embarking upon a cosmetic procedure involving surgery.
As well as their advice and guidance they may also be able to refer you to a local NHS Hospital for a consultation.
The NHS has set out the following guidelines on how to get cosmetic surgery through the NHS:
"To qualify for surgery on the NHS you must meet specific criteria as set out by your local health authority. The NHS will not pay for surgery for cosmetic reasons alone. Reconstructive and cosmetic surgery to correct, or improve, congenital abnormalities and injuries will usually be carried out free of charge.
NHS reconstructive surgery is performed by plastic surgeons who have had extensive training and belong to the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons. Surgeons who carry out cosmetic surgery through the NHS also belong to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.
To receive cosmetic surgery from the NHS, you will normally need a referral from your GP. You will have a consultation with a plastic surgeon and an assessment by a psychiatrist, or psychologist. It will then be decided whether there is enough social, psychological, or physical benefit to be gained to justify surgery."
Private prices for a lower body lift procedure can start from around £4,000.
The ideal candidate for a lower body lift procedure is an individual who has obvious saggy skin throughout the stomach, thigh, hip and buttock area. This looseness may be the result of normal ageing, of many pregnancies, or of huge weight loss. Areas affected by this drooping skin could include the stomach, back, thighs and buttock. Liposuction and abdominoplasty (“tummy tuck”) can be performed alongside a lower body lift to improve the overall result.
You should be aware that a lower bodylift could affect a huge area of your body. As well as the lengthy recovery time, the long visible scars are a major drawback. However, in the hands of a skilled surgeon, the results from this operation can dramatically improve the appearance of droopy buttocks and sagging thighs.
It is very important for you to describe exactly how you see your body looking after the lift with an experienced surgeon who can perform both liposuction and buttock implants. They should be able to assess you properly and recommend the most appropriate procedure, or combination of procedures, for you.
How long the effects of this operation will last is difficult to predict, and depend upon you keeping your weight at a consistent level. If you do gain lots of weight, your skin will stretch following the procedure and undo all the surgeon’s good work. Your surgeon will discuss how long he expects the results to stay looking smoother and firmer based on their own experience and the experience of their colleagues.
Results vary enormously depending upon both the patient and the skill of the individual surgeon, so outcomes for cosmetic surgery procedures will always be more variable than those for less invasive non-surgical treatments.
We currently do not have any before and after images for Lower Body Lift.