Whether you have worked super hard to lose a significant amount of weight or you’ve had multiple pregnancies leaving you with excess skin and fat all around your body, a circumferential body lift is the perfect procedure to address the excess skin and fat you now have that seems to be in more than one place and direction. A circumferential body lift is technically the combination of both an abdominoplasty and a lateral thigh and buttock lift. The combination of these procedures helps to address the lateral and posterior excess skin that an abdominoplasty alone cannot address. Without a lateral thigh and buttock lift, some patients are left with a “dog ear” (excess bulk and skin) on both hips after an abdominoplasty because of the lateral and posterior excess skin. A circumferential body lifts helps to achieve a more defined appearance and shape of the buttocks, hips and outer thighs while also achieving a smoother and firmer appearance of the abdomen
The decision to have plastic surgery is extremely personal, and you’ll have to decide if the benefits of the surgery outweigh the risks and potential complications of surgery.
You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks. It is important that you address all your questions directly with your surgeon.
A lower body lift is performed under a general anesthetic. The incisions can vary depending on the specific area being treated, but is usually horizontally around the entire body (hence circumferential). During the procedure, an incision is made along the lower abdomen just above the pubic line from hip to hip. You will then be turned over, while asleep under general anesthetic, so that surgical incision can be continued from hip to hip on your back side. Two Jackson-Pratt drains will be placed along the opposing sides of your surgical incision. Dissolvable stitches will be used along the surgical incision, with exception to the two black stitches used to tether your drains. Surgical dressings will be applied and a compression garment will be used on top. Depending on your surgeon, you may be fitted for the garment a week after surgery rather than going home with a garment the same day.
Following general anesthesia or intravenous sedation, it will take 24 to 36 hours for the full effects of the drugs to wear off. You must be accompanied by a responsible adult, who may either drive you home or take a taxi with you. You may feel a little sleepy or nauseous when you get home, you should quietly rest at home for the remainder of the day.
Remove all surgical dressings 48 hours after surgery and leave only the pink paper tape over the surgical incision and belly button. At this time you can shower, but do not directly apply water pressure over any of the pink tape, only let the water run over it and pat gently to dry. The pink tape is waterproof and will start to peel off over the next 4 weeks. Please cut off the portions of tape that are no longer adherent. It is essential to continue wearing the provided compression garment for 3 months (even at night if comfortable), to prevent any fluid buildup until the skin. Additional garments are available for purchase through the clinic.
You can expect to have two drainage tubes in place (one to each hip) after surgery to help reduce the amount of fluid buildup around the wound. You will be given instructions on how to care for the drains and when to arrange an appointment to have them removed. To make showering more comfortable, you can attach your drains to a lanyard around your neck. Please do not take a bath with drains in place and until all incisions have completely healed.
It is not uncommon for a spot along the surgical incision to slightly open up during the post-operative stages due to tension on the incision with movement. This is not a serious complication and can be remedied with daily dressings. This may lead to a delay in your expected recovery time.
Most patients are able to get up and walk around briefly right after surgery, however, it is recommended that you do not stand perfectly straight for the first week to avoid any unnecessary tension on the tummy area. Most patients are able to walk on a treadmill in about a month and play tennis in about three months. Most patients who have sedentary jobs take about two weeks off work. If your job involves a lot of physical activity be sure to speak with your surgeon during your consultation with regards to how much time off you will need for your specific daily tasks. There should be no heavy lifting for 6 weeks following surgery. Most patients are comfortable driving in about a week's time. It is important to remember, that post-operative recovery is variable for all patients.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to give us a call at (403) 800-9157. If you are unable to reach us, and need medical advice please call 811 to speak to a nurse. The line is free of charge and available 24 hours a day. If it is a medical emergency please call 911 or go to your nearest hospital or call the Peter Lougheed Centre Switchboard at (403) 943-4555 and ask to speak to the plastic surgeon on-call.
It is important to know that while technically the results of a lower body lift are permanent, any significant fluctuations in weight can greatly diminish the results. It is recommended that individuals who are planning to lose weight or women considering pregnancy postpone the procedure. A lower body lift procedure will also not be able to correct stretch marks, but some may be excised if they are along the surgical incision. It is possible that tattoos may have to be removed during the excision to allow for a better result. A good candidate for surgery is a patient who is relatively healthy, has reached their weight loss goals and has realistic expectations for post-operative outcomes. This procedure is not a replacement for a weight loss or exercise regime.
Body lifts are not intended as removal of excess fat alone is needed. Liposuction alone can remove excess fat deposits where skin has good elasticity and is able to naturally conform to new body contours. In cases where skin elasticity is poor, body lift techniques along with liposuction may be recommended. Diet and exercise programs may also be beneficial for reducing excess body fat and improving body contour.
It is also strongly advised that you be a non-smoker at the time of surgery. If you are a smoker we recommend you quit smoking at least 3 months prior to surgery as nicotine can interfere with blood supply and potentially cause complications with healing after surgery.