Lower
Body Lift

A lower body lift procedure entails removing the “belt” of excess skin and fat on the lower abdomen, waist, hips, upper buttocks and outer upper thighs.

Also known as a truncoplasty or belt lipectomy, a lower body lift is a popular procedure for those who find themselves with loose and heavy excess skin after weight loss. Body contouring surgeries such as a lower body lift can take several hours and can be performed in conjunction with other procedures, if that is what is best for you.

The extent of fat and skin to be removed will vary for each patient and will be discussed with Dr Lim in your pre-operation consultations. Dr Lim will advise you as to how much skin can be removed safely, keeping in mind your personal objectives.

As a form of body contouring surgery, a lower body lift requires incisions in order to remove excess skin, which can often be extensive.

Dr Lim will always do his best to position incisions that can be hidden under clothing — the circumferential incision of a lower body lift is carefully placed so that a resulting scar can be hidden below the underwear line if possible.

The length and pattern of the incision will depend on how much skin is being removed, where on the body it is and your preference, all of which you’ll be able to discuss with Dr Lim.

The technique used to reduce the lower abdomen is similar to an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck, where the existing navel is repositioned, the excess skin that exists on the lower abdomen is removed, and the skin of the upper abdomen is pulled down and joined to the lower fold on the abdomen. Excess skin and fat on the sides of the hips are also removed, in which the skin over the outer sides of the thighs is tightened, leaving a scar around the hip.

In order to lift and tighten the buttocks and thighs, excess skin and fat in the lower back is also removed, and the scar is placed on the upper part of the buttocks, which dips into the cleft, thus the circle of lifted skin is completed.

In some cases, in order to enhance the shape of the treated area, liposuction can also be used within the lower body lift procedure. A buttock flap may also be used to enhance the size and shape of the buttock. The extent of your personal lower body lift surgery will be determined from consultation with Dr Lim, taking into consideration your needs and goals.

Lower body lift surgery may take four to six hours and is performed under general anaesthetic in an accredited hospital. You will be required to stay in hospital for a few days following your surgery. Patients who have a lower body lift require drains to be inserted during the surgery, to prevent the accumulation of fluids and blood within the surgical wounds. You will be able to go home once the amount of drainage output subsides and your pain has settled. This can take a few days.

You will be provided with a supportive garment that will help decrease the bruising and swelling, which must be worn for six weeks after the surgery. Dr Lim will review you post-operatively and will prescribe analgesia and antibiotics for you to continue at home.

My Klinik staff will stay in touch with you after the procedure, monitor your progress and answer any questions or concerns as they arise. You’ll have reviews with Dr Lim one week, one month and three months after surgery.

Our goal is to make your experience as easy and comfortable as possible — Dr Lim and the My Klinik staff are always willing to answer any questions you may have.

Pre and Post-Operative Care

  • You must fast prior to your procedure — do not eat, drink (even water) or chew anything for at least six hours before your procedure. The hospital will ring you the day before your procedure to confirm your admission time.
  • If you have a gastric band or sleeve, you will need to have a fluid diet the day before your surgery and fast for at least eight hours on the day of your procedure.
  • Notify Dr Lim of any medications that you are currently taking.
  • Do not take any medication that contains aspirin, or any anti-inflammatory or herbal medication for two weeks before your procedure. Aspirin thins the blood, which can result in unnecessary blood loss during your procedure.
  • Do not smoke for eight weeks before and eight weeks after your procedure. Smoking decreases blood flow to the skin and may delay the healing process or result in tissue loss and unfavourable scars.
  • Do not drink any alcohol for two days before your procedure as it can interfere with the anaesthetic you will be given on the day.
  • Vitamin C may help reduce your healing time and is recommended for two weeks before and two weeks after surgery.
  • Do not wear any nail polish, make-up or jewellery to the hospital and leave any valuables at home.
  • You will need comfortable, loose clothing, like a tracksuit, to wear home from the hospital. This will prevent pressure on your abdomen, which will still be tender.
  • Dr Lim will normally visit you in the hospital after your procedure.
  • General anaesthetic can take a few days to recover from — it can be quite normal to feel a little slow or out of sorts for a few days.
  • When you wake up you will have a binder around your abdomen and two drains. The drains will be removed after a few days when the amount of drainage fluid has reduced. Dr Lim will instruct the nursing staff on this. You will be discharged once you are feeling well and mobile.
  • You will need to wear a compression garment day and night for up to six weeks — Dr Lim will advise you on this in more detail.
  • You will need to walk in a hunched over position for the first few days and slowly straighten up as your pain subsides. You will be more comfortable laying with your knees bent and your back and head supported by a few pillows.
  • While you are in hospital you will be given medication for the pain. The amount of pain you feel after the operation varies from person to person. If you are concerned about the amount of pain you are in, or you feel you cannot control the pain, you should inform the nursing staff while in hospital, or call My Klinik if you are at home.
  • It is crucial that you finish the course of antibiotics you are prescribed.
  • While in hospital and at home, you will need to keep your bowels regular. This may involve taking an aperient prescribed by Dr Lim and drinking lots of water. Prune juice may also help. If you have any trouble, please do not try and strain — inform the nursing staff and medication can be given to assist you.
  • Avoid over exertion and activity for the first six weeks. Take care not to bump, strain or place any pressure on your stomach area. This includes lifting small children.
  • Prevent the formation of blood clots in your legs with frequent gentle walks and mild foot and leg exercises. You will be given small injections to assist with this while you are in hospital. You should continue to wear your compression stockings for three weeks when you are home.
  • The area around your upper outer thighs, lower abdomen and upper buttocks may feel quite unusual. It may feel tight, especially in the lower section of the abdomen, and there may be reduced sensitivity in those areas for the first few weeks.
  • Healing time is individual to each person. We recommend that you have at least three weeks off work and avoid driving during this time — most people feel well recovered after four to six weeks.
  • Dr Lim will remove any remaining sutures at your one-week post-op checkup.
  • Do not smoke for eight weeks during your recovery period as this may slow the healing process and affect wound healing.
  • Contact the rooms if any of the following develop:
    • A temperature higher than 38°C or chills
    • Heavy bleeding from the excision line, drain sites or in drains
    • Severe sudden pain or tenderness
    • Redness around the incisions that is spreading
    • Pain, tenderness or swelling around your calves.
  • My Klinik nursing staff will contact you to make sure that you are feeling comfortable and to confirm your one-week post-op checkup with Dr Lim.
  • Dr Lim and the nursing staff are available to you as you recover — should you have any concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact My Klinik. For after-hours concerns, please contact the hospital where you had your surgery and they will be able to contact Dr Lim as required.

Lower Body Lift FAQs

You may be an excellent candidate for body contouring surgery if you have experienced:

  • Excess skin after significant weight loss and have maintained your weight for several months, and/or
  • Excess skin after weight loss following childbirth and you do not intent to have any more children.

Lower body lift surgery is best suited for patients in good physical health, who don’t smoke and who have realistic expectations about the outcome of the procedure.

Your first consultation with Dr Lim will take around 45 minutes and you are most welcome to bring a support person with you. Due to social distancing measures as a result of COVID-19, the support person may not be able to enter the rooms (depending on the number of persons in the rooms at that particular time).

Dr Lim will take the time to discuss the procedure with you, and any other issues related to the appearance of your body that you feel are important to you. This will help Dr Lim understand your expectations and determine if they are achievable. Dr Lim will explain the risks of surgery and discuss the methods of the body contouring surgery with you. Your body will be assessed, and a few measurements and photographs will be taken to plan the procedure.

You do not have to make the decision to proceed with the surgery at this initial consultation. You will be given a written quotation and information to take home to read.

Dr Lim will examine your body and assess the extent and location of the excess skin (based on what you consider to be problematic), your general health status, and your dedication to proper diet and exercise.

Please come to the consultation prepared to discuss your medical history. This will include information about any medical conditions you have, medications you are currently taking, allergies you have, other medical treatments you have received and any previous surgery you have had. You will also be asked whether you have suffered from any of the following:

  • Prolonged bleeding or excessive bruising when injured
  • Long term or recent illnesses
  • Psychological or psychiatric illnesses
  • Blood clots.

If you are planning to lose more weight, you will need to discuss this with Dr Lim. He may recommend that you stabilise your weight before undergoing surgery. You should also mention if you think you might want to become pregnant in the future.

A second consultation, at no extra cost, is usually required if you wish to proceed with surgery.

Avoid products that contain aspirin, vitamin E, glucosamine, fish oil and krill oil for four weeks before surgery. We also strongly recommend avoiding alcohol, and not smoking for eight weeks before and after surgery. Smoking can negatively affect the healing process.

In some cases, Dr Lim may recommend that you have blood tests or a scan to check for blood clots.

We want to make this experience as easy as possible — you will be given all pre-operative instructions prior to your procedure but please don’t hesitate to call My Klinik if you have any questions or concerns before your surgery.

Dr Lim performs all surgeries at fully accredited hospitals — Lakeview Private Hospital and Westmead Private Hospital. Body contouring surgery is performed under general anaesthetic and you can expect to be in hospital for a few days.

Please contact the hospital a day before surgery to confirm your admission and fasting time. On entering the hospital, you need to report to the admissions desk and the staff will direct you through the admission process. Dr Lim and the anaesthetist will both see you prior to surgery and Dr Lim will make some markings on your body.

After the procedure, you will spend some time in the recovery room where you will be closely monitored until you are fully awake and returned to your room. Dr Lim will visit you in hospital the morning after your surgery.

You will have firm bandages around your abdomen, and there will be one or two surgical drains coming out of the surgical sites to drain away any fluid that may accumulate after surgery. You will have calf compressors (inflatable devices) and TED or compression stockings on both legs, as well as anticoagulant injections to reduce the risk of blood clots/deep vein thrombosis. You will have a drip in your arm and be connected to a machine to give you pain relief, fluids and medication.

The first days after surgery are usually the most uncomfortable, particularly when you are moving around or coughing. Like most operations, it is not painless; the pain will be mild to moderate for about 48 hours. It is normal to feel tired and a little slow for a day or two following a general anaesthetic, and to experience bruising and swelling around the surgical sites. You will have dressings over your incisions and will be able to shower 48 hours after your surgery.

The first few days will be spent sitting in bed, with only gentle walks to and from the toilet or around the ward or your home. You will need to sit and sleep in a semi-upright position with your knees bent and pillows underneath to take the strain off your abdomen. A recliner may be more comfortable to rest in. You will also need to walk in a slightly bent over position.

You will be given a compression garment to wear in order to support the operation sites during the healing process, for at least six weeks. You should wear your leg compression stockings for at least three weeks after surgery.

Everyone is different, so the recovery period following this procedure varies from person to person — most people feel well recovered after four to six weeks. Avoid over exertion and activity for the first six weeks. Take care not to bump, strain or place any pressure on your stomach area. This includes lifting small children. Prevent the formation of blood clots in your legs with frequent gentle walks and mild foot and leg exercises.

Returning to work depends on the demands of your job — you may be able to return to light work within three weeks. Dr Lim will discuss your individual situation with you before and after your surgery.

Following extensive weight loss, the results after body contouring surgery are visible immediately. However, it may take six months or more for the final results to develop completely.

Provided that the patient does carry out all efforts to maintain their weight and practise good eating habits and exercise, the final outcome is permanent. Scars will remain, and some body firmness may be lost over time, due to the elasticity of the skin and natural ageing process.

We endeavour to make sure our patients are as informed as possible. While some of the potential risks seem frightening, it is important for you to be aware that they can occur. During consultation, Dr Lim will take you through the risks involved and the potential complications.

Some of the possible complications are:

  • Infection
  • Unfavourable or unsightly scarring
  • Keloids and hypertrophic (or raised) scars
  • The final body shape may not be what the patient expected and may require further procedures
  • Asymmetry
  • Temporary numbness of the skin on the abdomen
  • Sutured skin may not heal well, and a skin graft may be needed
  • Constrained movements
  • Fluid accumulation around the incision sites
  • Poor wound healing
  • Fat necrosis
  • In rare cases, patients may require a blood transfusion.

Dr Lim will monitor your progress carefully and our staff will stay in contact with you during the post-operative period. You will be seen at frequent intervals over the first three to six months. Your relationship with Dr Lim and the nursing staff does not end once you have had the procedure.

If you have any questions or concerns after your operation, you are always welcome to call My Klinik.

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Individual results may vary. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.