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No matter how much we exercise or how diligently we diet, it’s still possible for the aging process to eventually take its toll on the body. Excess skin and tissue can begin to sag and stretch around the waistline, thighs, lower back, and buttocks as the years go by, while other triggers that can cause a laxity of tissues include sun damage, pregnancy, and extreme weight loss. A body lift can help you regain your tight, curvaceous figure by flattening your abdomen and flanks, removing excess fat and skin, and tightening muscles of your abdominal wall, while also lifting the thighs and buttocks, or a total rejuvenation.

Is the Body Lift Right for Me?

You’re likely an ideal candidate for a body lift at our Sarasota or Tampa location if you’re in generally good health, and are preferably a nonsmoker. It’s recommended that you be at or near your ideal weight before the procedure, which can provide long-lasting results, as long as you’re committed to a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise.

The body lift is perfect for addressing issues with the:

  • Stomach
  • Buttocks
  • Lower Back
  • Thighs

The best candidates for a lower body lift are those in relatively good shape, but bothered by a stubborn deposit of fat or loose abdominal skin that won’t respond to diet or exercise. The surgery is particularly helpful for Sarasota and Tampa plastic surgery patients who have lost a significant amount of weight through diet and exercise, or through a gastric bypass procedure, and have been left with an excessive amount of loose skin and fat around the lower abdomen, hips, and buttocks. The surgery is also helpful for individuals who desire better contouring of their lower abdomen, outer hips, and buttocks

Before & After

When to Wait on a Body Lift

If you intend to lose a lot of weight, it’s best to postpone your surgery. Similarly, if you’ve undergone a gastric bypass procedure, you should wait at least six months after your weight has stabilized. Poor healing of the skin is most likely to affect smokers, so smokers must quit at least one month prior to surgery and refrain from smoking for at least one month after the surgery. If you are planning a future pregnancy, or anticipate a significant loss of weight in the future, it is probably best to postpone your lower body lift until after these events have occurred, to better optimize your results.

The combined effects of aging, gravity, childbirth, fluctuations in weight, and a loss of skin elasticity all contribute to loss of tone in the abdomen, buttocks and thighs as we age. A lower body lift in Sarasota or Tampa can markedly improve the appearance of your abdomen, buttocks, and outer thighs. Dr. Kreithen’s approach is to individualize treatment to your specific circumstances and goals, with a personalized method that ensures an adequate understanding of the issues involved and your ability to make a fully informed decision. We’ll make sure you know everything you need to know about your surgery, and the recovery process, as well.

Planning Your Surgery

During your initial consultation, Dr. Kreithen will get to know you and your medical history, including details like prior procedures, medications, allergies, and your motivations for seeking plastic surgery. It is very important that you be thorough when providing your medical history, as this information helps to prevent complications during your care. 

When asked about medications, be sure to include any vitamin or herbal preparations, as these can affect your blood pressure and clotting ability. Honesty regarding your use of tobacco and alcohol is also very important, as these may have a profound impact on your recovery period and your ability to heal following your procedure.

At the completion of your consultation, you’ll meet with our patient coordinator, who will provide you with a cost estimate, and help you schedule your procedure, if you’re ready to do so. You’re also encouraged to bring your spouse, significant other, family member, or a friend to your consultation for any support you need.

Preparing for Your Surgery

Dr. Kreithen will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins, herbals, and medications.

If you smoke, plan to quit at least one month before your surgery and not to resume for at least one month after your surgery. Avoid overexposure to the sun before surgery, especially to your abdomen, and do not go on a stringent diet, as both can inhibit your ability to heal. If you develop a cold or infection of any kind, your surgery will probably be postponed.

Bringing your bathing suit the day of surgery can help Dr. Kreithen design the incisions so that the scar will be hidden in public. You should plan to spend three to five days in the hospital after the surgery, and should arrange for someone to drive you home after your stay, as well as for someone to help you out for a week or two after you leave the hospital, with daily activities and wound care.

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Where Your Surgery Will be Performed

A lower body lift will most likely be performed at our new state-of-the-art Holcomb – Kreithen Plastic Surgery Medical Center operating room. An inpatient stay will be required after the surgery.

Customize Your Procedure

The body lift procedure may be combined with other rejuvenating procedures such as liposuction (to contour the body), a buttock lift (to provide proportion along the buttocks and lower back), or a breast augmentation (bringing the chest to an ideal size).

The Body Lift Procedure

A lower body lift generally takes about six to eight hours, and is always performed under general anesthesia, meaning you’ll be asleep through the entire operation (sometimes an epidural is beneficial in helping with post-operative pain). This is an inpatient procedure, meaning you can expect a three- to five-day hospital stay.

The body lift procedure is designed to remove the excess fat and loose skin along the midsection and buttocks by not only tightening the tissues, but also sculpting the abdomen and providing improved contour to the hips and buttocks. your appearance will be improved and your skin tone rejuvenated, with natural-looking results.

To begin, a circumferential incision is made, completely around the body, following around the lower abdomen and above the buttocks. A lower body lift is reserved for patients looking to tighten the lower abdomen, groin, waist, thighs, and buttocks, with an incision that is located under the bikini line. 

Once this incision has been made, excess skin and fatty tissue are excised from the abdomen, lower back, and hips. Remaining tissue is then pulled taut, providing a tight, sculpted figure before the incisions are then sutured. 

The incisions will be closed carefully, to minimize scarring, with a technique in which all of the sutures are placed beneath the skin, to be absorbed by your body, eliminating your need to undergo suture removal later on. 

We’ll apply a sterile dressing to the incisions, and an abdominal binder will be placed around your waist to help support your incision during healing, decrease postoperative swelling, and decrease any bruising that may occur. 

Temporary drain tubes will be placed along the abdomen: slender, rubber tubes assist in draining any fluid that may accumulate beneath the incision and delay your healing.

Are There Any Complications?

Post-operative complications such as infection and blood clots are rare, but can occur. Infection can be treated with drainage and antibiotics, but will prolong your hospital stay. You can minimize the risk of blood clots by moving around as soon after the surgery as possible.

You can reduce your risk of complications by closely following Dr. Kreithen’s instructions before and after the surgery, especially with regard to when and how you should resume physical activity.

After Your Body Lift Surgery

Most patients spend three to five days in the hospital. During your stay, you may have a PCA (Patient Controlled Analgesia) Pump, to administer pain medicine intravenously. Sometimes an epidural placed before surgery is beneficial in helping with post-operative pain. You will also receive intravenous antibiotics and an anti-nausea medication for the duration of your stay.

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Getting Back to Normal

After you’re discharged from the hospital, you’ll be prescribed antibiotics and pain medication, with most patients finding that they’re able to transition to Tylenol after three or five days. You’ll need to take care of your drainage tubes and record the output three times a day, and you can shower once all of the drainage tubes are removed. It’s not safe to drive a car within 24 hours of taking pain medication, as your reflexes and alertness may be altered, so make sure you have transportation assistance accounted for, as well.

You should plan to wear the abdominal binder for up to three weeks following surgery. Dr. Kreithen will remove the drainage tubes when the drainage is appropriately low enough to allow drain removal, usually in the first three weeks.

It may take you weeks or months to feel like your old self again. If you start out in top physical condition with strong abdominal muscles, recovery from a lower body lift will be much faster. Some people return to work after three to four weeks, while others take up to six weeks to rest and recuperate.

Exercise to Help the Healing Process

Exercise will help you heal better, particularly walking. Even people who have never exercised before should begin an exercise program to reduce swelling, lower the chance of blood clots, and tone muscles. Vigorous exercise, however, should be avoided until you can do it comfortably, approximately six weeks after the surgery. You may lift up to ten pounds in each hand during the initial six-week period.

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Scarring After Your Body Lift

Scarring can be expected from this procedure, running around the lower abdomen and above the buttocks. The circumferential scar around your waist will be easily hidden by your undergarments or a bikini, and there is a possibility of having delayed healing of this scar, or even an open wound that may take several weeks to heal. 

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 color. While they’ll never disappear completely, abdominal scars will not show under most clothing, even bathing suits.

Poor healing, which results in conspicuous scars, may necessitate a second operation. Additionally, there is a possibility of a postoperative blood clot or persistent fluid collection in the wound that may need intervention. Smokers must stop at least one month prior to and after the operation, as smoking may increase the risk of complications and delay healing.

The Holcomb-Kreithen Difference

The body lift procedure requires an expertly-trained surgeon to achieve the desired results, which is why we’re proud to offer it to patients in the Tampa and Sarasota areas.

Dr. Joshua Kreithen has been providing patients with safe, efficient, and natural-looking results for many years. Contact our office at (866) 218-4810 for more information on this procedure; schedule your one-on-one consultation to find out which procedure is right for your individual needs. 

Holcomb - Kreithen

As a talented post-bariatric plastic surgery specialist, Dr. Kreithen offers a number of procedures that can be performed as stand-alone treatments or combined into comprehensive surgical plans. Some of the post-weight-loss procedures Dr. Kreithen often recommends and performs include body lift, arm lift and thigh lift in Sarasota. In addition, Dr. Kreithen offers several sophisticated treatments for the abdominal area. In fact, he is renowned as a highly accomplished tummy tuck and liposuction Sarasota surgeon.

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