After losing over 100 pounds, this patient in her 60's had a large amount of hanging and loose skin. The Body Lift procedure transformed her lower body.View Patient Details
Lower Body Lift
What is a Body Lift?
by Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez
A Body Lift, also known as the Belt Lipectomy or Lower Body Lift is a surgical procedure which offers the most dramatic transformation of the mid and lower body. It removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen, hips, outer thighs, and buttocks. The incision is placed around the entire lower body, in a circumferential fashion.
Broken into its components, the Lower Body Lift includes a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), a thigh lift, and a buttock lift. For surgical technique, I use the high lateral tension technique developed by Dr. Ted Lockwood, as described at Wikipedia. This technique gives me the best surgical results and the least amount of post operative complications.
I feel like I have a tire roll around my waist.
What are the symptoms for a Body Lift?
Patients who are candidates for the procedure usually have these signs or symptoms:
- Significant weight loss which changes body contours: Weight loss can be a result of diet and exercise, as well as Gastric Bypass Surgery.
- Loose skin around abdomen, hips, outer thighs, and posterior buttocks: This can be a result of aging, pregnancy, or significant weight loss. Patients sometimes refer to the hanging skin as feeling like they have a tire around their waist.
- Excess fat tissue: Fat deposits exist one or more of these areas: stomach, outer thighs, hips, and posterior buttocks.
- Abdominal muscle separation: The muscle in the stomach is separated and no amount of exercise can join it back together. It must be surgically tightened
The body lift procedure is performed on post bariatric patients, as well as patients who have not had weight loss. The body lift transforms patients that have experienced massive weight loss and have excess skin. However, results are just as dramatic in patients who in addition to a tummy tuck want a tightening of the skin in their thighs and buttocks. The body lift has the advantage that it can be done in one surgical session, or in stages, depending on the patients needs.
How is the lower body lift procedure performed?
The Body Lift procedure removes excess skin and fat from the entire midsection of your lower body. It is a combination of removing fat, removing excess skin, tightening muscles, and tightening your body contours. I perform a Tummy Tuck, Outer Thigh Lift, and Posterior Butt Lift in one operative session. If the patient also desires an Inner Thigh Lift, that is usually performed in a second surgical session.
For the abdomen area, I use the Lockwood technique. With the Lockwood technique, the deeper tissue layers are closed with more tension than the top layers. This reduces the possibility of fluid accumulation, and prevents the scar from widening.
Over the past 20 years I have tried different techniques and I always come back to the Lockwood technique for the best results. This technique has the least amount of complications and provides the best surgical result. You can learn more about the Lockwood technique in this blog post which I wrote years ago.
Watch my Body Lift video to get an overview of the dramatic results that can be achieved for patients who have lost weight or have excess skin around their midsection.
What type of anesthesia is used?
The body lift procedure is done under either IV sedation or general anesthesia. I prefer to perform the procedure with IV sedation as patients have a quicker recovery and the use of IV sedation reduces the risk of pulmonary embolism associated with General Anesthesia.
During the past 6 years I have performed all of my Body Lift Procedures in my AAAASF accredited, Medicare Certified, out-patient surgery center, where I serve as Medical Director. In my facility we use only Board Certified Anesthesiologist. With the use of IV anesthesia, all patients have been able to return to the comfort of their home on the same day as the surgery. This is possible because once the surgery is over, most patients are awake, alert, and stable within one hour following the surgery.
Before and After Body Lift Photos
Take a look at our before and after Body Lift Photo gallery, to see how the Body Lift Procedures results in a total body transformation. You can find a body frame that most closely approximates your figure now to get an idea of what can be achieved. For each Before and After Photo set , I describe how much skin and fat were removed to achieve the body transformation. Please note that all of the patients in our photo gallery have given written consent for us to feature their photos at our website. We are very grateful for their participation in patient education!
Do I need a Body Lift?
To determine if you might be a candidate for a Body Lift, stand in front of a mirror so that you can evaluate the three areas that the procedure entails: abdomen, outer thighs, and posterior buttocks.
Abdomen: First, look at your abdomen. Use your thumb and palm of your hand to hold one edge of skin on your lower abdomen and then grasp the lower skin with all four fingers. If you like how your skin tightens, and the way your pubic mound lifts, you are a candidate for the abdominoplasty procedure.
Outer Thighs: Now pinch the loose skin around your hips. See how it lifts the hips and thighs and elongates and slenderizes the shape of your legs? If you like this maneuver, you are a candidate for the outer thigh lift. In combination with a tummy tuck, this is called extended abdominoplasty.
Posterior Buttocks: Stand facing away from the mirror and look over your shoulder so you can see as much as you can of your backside. Reach back with the palm of your hand and lift the butt. This approximates what a posterior butt lift can accomplish.
The traditional butt lift will lift the butt by excising a wedge of skin and pulling up the skin so that the butt is lifted. Occasionally, patients also want fat injection into the buttocks if the butt has become very flat as a result of all the weight loss. The technique of transferring fat into the buttocks is called brazilian butt lift.
If you want improvement in all three of these areas, the Lower Body Lift is the cosmetic surgery procedure for you!
What is the post operative recovery for Lower Body Lift surgery?
The Body Lift procedure is a major procedure and all normal activities may not resume for 6-8 weeks. Patients should plan to be out of work for 3-4 weeks. No driving is allowed for 3 weeks. In summary, here are some post operative recovery details:
- strict bed rest for the first 5-7 days following surgery
- bandages and a compression garment are worn continuously for the first 5 days
- bandages and compression garment changed at day 5
- pain pump and drains are removed at day 5-7
- no showering or bathing until the garment and pads are removed at day 5
- no work or planned activities for 3 weeks
- no driving for 3 weeks
- return to work at 3-4 weeks
- resume most activities at 6-8 weeks
Can I have the Body Lift with Dr. Rodriguez if I live out of town?
Over the past 20 years I have performed the body lift procedure on many patients who live outside of the Baltimore area.Most out of town patients start the process with a Virtual Consultation. This is a way to pre-qualify you for the surgery, without you having to travel to Baltimore. You need to send photographs and the virtual consult is conducted with me by telephone or Skype. Read more about how the Virtual Consultation works here.
My office can help arrange for special accommodations in several local area hotels. Many hotels are only 5-10 minutes from my office. Weekly hotel rates are as low as $600 per week for a handicapped room with a special shower and recliner chair. These rooms additionally offer a fully equipped kitchen with refrigerator, microwave, and stove top in addition to laundry facilities and internet access. Some hotels even offer courtesy shuttle services to local area food stores and restaurants.
Following surgery, we help arrange nursing care to make your stay more comfortable. My staff will assist with transportation arrangements during the post op period. All of these things will be discussed in detail with my staff following your Initial or Virtual Consultation with me.
My staff and I will make post operative visits to your hotel room during the first week of your surgery. Patients who live within 1-2 hours of Baltimore are only required to stay in Baltimore overnight. Patients who live more than 5 hours from Baltimore should plan to stay in the city for 1-2 weeks. Patients who come from abroad should plan to stay in Baltimore for a minimum of 2 weeks, but ideally 3 weeks.
What is the cost of the lower Body Lift procedure?
Total cost for the Lower Body Lift procedure is approximately $17K to $20K. This includes the surgeon's fee, OR fee, anesthesia fee, garments, and all post op visits. Many types of financing are available and the entire body lift procedure can be financed. Many patients use several forms of payments for the total cost. Please call our office in Baltimore to find out about financing plans.
Dr. Rodriguez Patient Reviews and Testimonials
Please see these these testimonials to read what my patients say about their experience with me. Our Body Lift patient satisfaction rate is very high! To find out if the Body Lift is right for you, Contact Us by email or call 410-494-8100 .
I will customize the procedure to fit your body frame and the goals you want to achieve. Together we will decide on the best incision location in order to hide the scar as much as possible when wearing a bathing suit. In addition, I will use a technique to give you the thinnest possible scar.
Updated April 19, 2015
by Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez
Board Certified Plastic Surgery