At Cincinnati Plastic Surgery, we consider the body lift one of the largest and most rewarding procedures in body contouring. While the procedure has many names, but generally consists of a thigh lift, a buttock lift, and possibly a tummy tuck. Many post-bariatric patients receive some kind of body lift following surgery.
Many factors go into someone needing a body lift. Most of the time, genetics plays a role. However, weight gain acts as another common cause because of the overstretching of the skin.
To assess whether you benefit from a body lift as a post-bariatric patient, stand in front of a mirror and pull your lateral thigh and buttock up with both hands. If you pull up a large amount of skin and see significant improvement in the thigh/buttock area, you will benefit from a body lift.
If you have extra skin in the medial thigh area, you’ll need a medial thigh lift. For some, we perform the procedure at the same time as a lower body lift.
Body Lift Process
The lower body lift starts with a detailed measuring and marking of the skin that needs removed. If you need auto-augmentation of the buttocks, this is when we decide it. After the patient receives anesthesia, they lay face down and we start the surgery. Basically, we remove all the tissue and skin inside the markings. Then, we suture the incisions with both permanent and absorbable sutures.
We must reconstruct the superficial fascial system to prevent the spreading of the scar. Then, we glue the wounds together with dermabond. From there, we place you in a face up position.
Next, we perform the tummy tuck and medial thigh lift if necessary. We use four drains to remove extra fluid from the wounds. Sometimes we remove more than 12 vertical inches of skin. This achieves remarkable tightening in the thighs and buttocks. This operation requires a 1-2 night stay in the surgery center and a 2-3 week recovery.
Complications consist mostly of wound healing, seromas, scarring, blood loss, and 3-6 months of swelling of the legs. Dr. Martin has over 12 years of experience performing body lifts. Many consider him an expert in this procedure.
Auto augmentation of the buttocks
With long term massive weight gain comes many physical changes. These changes include loss of buttock volume and shape, saggy buttocks, and loss of tissue over the sacral/ischial bones. These conditions lead to problems with sitting comfortably. Typically, we discard the tissue above the buttocks. However, in this procedure, we turn it into a flap and rotate it into the buttocks. This restores shape, volume, and functionality to the buttocks.
Fat grafting or buttock implants also enhance volume of the buttocks. When given the option, most patients having a body lift choose a buttock enhancement using their own tissue. Dr. Martin is currently one of the few surgeons in the tri-state who is performing this procedure.
Medial thigh lift
One of the most difficult and least rewarding procedures in thigh lifting is the thigh crease medial thigh lift. Developed in the 1990’s, this procedure lifts the medial thigh and also reduces the amount of skin present. The scar is placed in the groin crease and continues back toward the buttock crease. This procedure remains effective for deformities of the upper one third of the medial thigh.
The main complications with this technique are limited lifting of the middle and lower thigh and long term healing complications such as spreading of the lateral vaginal wall. Fortunately for weight loss patients, marked advances have been made in medial thigh lifting techniques. Most medial thigh lifts are now performed using longitudinal incisions placed toward the inner back of the thigh from the lower groin to the knee area. This is termed a longitudinal thigh lift and has remarkable results with minimal complications. The resulting scars are well tolerated and the main problems have been with persistent seromas and swelling of the legs. Also, there is less pull on the vaginal area due to the design of the flaps.
To simulate a medial thigh lift, grab the medial thigh skin between both hands and pull towards the inside of the leg. If you see significant improvement in your medial thighs, you are probably a candidate for a medial thigh lift.
With a 12 year experience in medial thigh lift techniques, Dr. Kurtis Martin has the knowledge and skill to achieve outstanding results with post-bariatric patients. Contact the office to schedule your consultation. Read a patient review from RealSelf about her experience with Dr. Martin.