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A lower body lift, or belt lipectomy, is a procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the buttocks, thighs, hips, and abdomen. A lower body lift is a combination of a tummy tuck or absominoplasty, a thigh lift, and a buttocks lift.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there were 7,779 lower body lifts done in the United States in 2014.
Choosing a Lower Body Lift
- Patients may choose to have a lower body lift procedure if they want to:
- Remove excess skin caused by age, pregnancy, or weight loss
- Change the proportions of the body
- Improve the look of the body after bariatric surgery
- Remove fat tissue from the lower body
- Get rid of loose, sagging skin
Lower body lifts are a lengthy procedure if completed all at once. If broken into parts (tummy tuck, thigh lift, buttocks lift), they are often combined with liposuction and fat redistribution procedures to change the shape and curves of the body. Lower body lifts are not intended for major weight loss.
Patients will have the most success with lower body lifts if they have a BMI that is under 40, have stable weight for two months prior to the procedure, and have realistic expectations about what the procedure can accomplish. Patients should not opt for lower body lifts after very recent weight loss. Doctors should ask the patients to wait a few months to a year after significant weight loss before considering the procedure to allow time for the skin to shrink naturally.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of a lower body lift in 2014 was $7,843. But, the cost of the procedure will depend on the technique and desired outcome as determined by patient and their surgeon. The cost of the procedure can reach $20,000 when including the surgeon’s fee, operating room fee, aesthesia fee, and all other post op fees.
Patients will need to pay for the procedure out of pocket because, like most elective cosmetic plastic surgeries, insurance companies do not cover the cost of lower body lift surgery.
Lower Body Lift Surgery
Lower body lifts can be performed in a number of ways. Generally speaking, however, this procedure requires long incisions around the waist.
A standard lower body lift procedure will remove a large strip of skin around the circumference of the body along the waist line. Skin above and below the incision will be lifted and re-draped to close the gap. The skin will be joined together and sutured, lifting and tightening the surrounding skin.
The procedure may also include a tummy tuck. Using a similar technique as the lower body lift, the surgeon will remove a flap of skin from the abdomen and tighten the surrounding skin by suturing the open sides of the removed section together.
A similar technique can also be performed on the thighs.
The procedure can take up to five hours, depending on the number of procedures completed in one surgery.
Surgeons may insert temporary drainage tubes after the procedure to help remove excess fluid from the surgical site. Lifting and re-draping the skin can cause fluids to buildup under the surface.
Patients will usually be dressed in compression garments that will aid with the healing and recovery process. The garments prevent blood leakage into surrounding tissues, and they keep the skin smooth and even during recovery.
During recovery, patients may use PCAs (Patient Controlled Analgesia) pumps to self-administer pain medication intravenously. Patients may also require antibiotics to reduce the possibility of infection.
Lower body lifts can be performed in hospitals, office-based surgical facilities, or at ambulatory (outpatient) centers. Patients should talk with their doctors about where the procedure will be performed.
The average recovery time for lower body lifts is between two and six weeks.
Risks of Lower Body Lifts
- Blood clots
- Seroma (fluid collection)
- Temporary or permanent loss of sensation
- Changes in the texture of skin
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Damages to surrounding anatomy
- Persistent inflammation or swelling
- Deep vein thrombosis or cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Dissatisfaction with results of procedure
Surgeons should discuss all material risks of the procedure with patients before patients agree to the procedure.
Lower body lifts are permanent procedures, but age and weight fluctuations will continue to have an effect on the elasticity of the skin. Patients may choose to have additional procedures done later.
Malpractice Claims and Lower Body Lifts
Lower body lifts are major surgical procedures that can have serious consequences for patients when mistakes happen. If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries as a result of a medical professional’s negligence during a lower body lift, you should consider filing a medical malpractice lawsuit to recover damages. The law firm of Gilman & Bedigian has helped many people recover substantial compensation for injuries that are the result of medical negligence.
Negligent errors during lower body lift procedures can lead to life-threatening infections, blood clots, and deadly lung and heart complications among other problems. Errors can also leave patients disfigured and needing additional surgeries.
Call our offices today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your legal options.