Body Lift : its Objective
With aging, or most commonly, after large weight loss, people may be left with empty hanging folds of skin. When this loose skin is surgically removed all the way around the body, it is called a body lift. As with liposuction, body lift is not intended to correct obesity ; rather, the intention is to improve contour. Patients should be at a stable “ideal” weight before surgery.
Body Lift : Anesthesia
Dr. Nicolaidis always performs this surgery with general anesthesia. Care must be taken for patients with gastric reflux and sleep apnea ; also pressure sores most be avoided during surgery.
Body Lift : Surgical Technique
Body lift is designed to tighten loose and flabby skin in both the belly and the buttock. Two main techniques must be differentiated : lower body lift (as described by Lockwood) and belt lipectomy (or central lift). The lower body lift involves scars lower in the pelvic region with the advantage of superior results in the thighs but the disadvantage of loss of curvature. Dr. Nicolaidis prefers the belt lipectomy with scars higher in the pelvic region and improved waste and buttock curves but the disadvantage of lesser effect on the thighs.
Being a very conservative and careful surgeon, Dr. Nicolaidis also prefers staging a belt Iipectomy in two different surgeries in order to decrease the risks of surgery. Further explanation will be given at the time of consultation.
Body Lift : Recovery
Compression garments are placed at the end of surgery to reduce swelling, prevent collections and help scar down the skin. At least one night of care in the operating center is necessary following a body lift. However, with staged procedures, patients can usually go home the same day. Bruising and swelling usually subside within 1 to 2 months. It is important to note that there are significant restrictions on activities following a body lift ; however, the restrictions after staged procedures are much more manageable. Strenuous activities are usually possible after eight weeks. It is important to note that, although body lifts can change a patient’s life, major lifestyle changes are vital to maintain these results.
Return to work after a Body Lift
After body lifting, it is usually possible to return to work within 2 to 3 months. After staged procedures, return to work is possible after 4 to 6 weeks.
Possible complications of a Body Lift
Risks with body lifts are numerous and can be severe. Wound problems and fluid collections occur quite commonly. Blood clots and heart attacks are the most serious complications. For these reasons, Dr. Nicolaidis prefers to divide a belt lipectomy into two different procedures.