Project Description

Massive weight loss leads to significant skin redundancy.  Body types may differ, but generally people who have lost over 50kg will carry a ‘spare tyre’ which depending on the amount of weight lost, is largest right in front. In some cases this fatty apron can hang down almost to their knees.  Excess skin may also be present around the buttocks and thighs and generally this will hang down in folds.  Once the weight is lost the skin rarely retracts and the flappy skin left behind.  Breasts also deflate with weight loss, looking flat and unattractive (even in men) and legs, previously quite round, sag.

This stretched skin can be excised in a body lift operation but patients need to be aware the scars are always long.

The body lift elevates the buttocks while removing the loose, sagging skin from around the outer and inner thighs.

 

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A Body Lift is a major surgery but the results will restore shape and definition and allow the patients to finally enjoy their new, lighter self.

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How It Works

The modern abdominoplasty will correct frontal thigh problems, while the bodylift continues the abdominoplasty incision all the way around the body.  This operation pulls the lateral thighs and buttocks up like a pair of trousers, taking a wide wedge of skin and fat from the flank region, smoothing the skin and reducing lateral thigh bulges.  The incision also traverses the groin at the top of the inner thigh, elevating the front of the thigh (see abdominoplasty for more).  Multiple permanent sutures are made in the deep structural fat tissue to prevent the scars from later stretching and sagging.

In cases where there is a large skin excess, the bodylift is done in two stages – as two separate operations.  First an abdominoplasty is performed to “even up” the excess skin around the body, this will reduce the dissection of the second procedure.  The second operation, performed six to twelve months after the first, re-excises the abdominoplasty scar with a wider wedge on the flank and continues it all around the body.

Massive weight loss is the main indication for a full bodylift, but the techniques of tissue excision and lifting with deep sutures can also be used following skin collapse after liposuction of the lateral thighs, and for buttocklifts.

The bodylift was pioneered by Dr Ted Lockwood of Kansas in the mid ’90s.  It is a most impressive and innovative operation and I have enjoyed introducing it to my patients in Australia.

Considerations

Dr Taylor performs body lifting surgeries at Calvary John James Hospital in Deakin.  Admission to the hospital is on the day of surgery.  The surgery can take between 5 and 10 hours depending on the repair and whether or not it is performed in one or two stages.  Patients return from theatre with a catheter, patient controlled anaesthetic (PCA) and drains.  The catheter and PCA is removed on day two and the drains are removed on the day of discharge.  On return from theatre patients are placed in a very tight fitting compression garment.  This garment is worn 24 hours a day (excluding showering) for the first two weeks and then during the day for another 4 weeks.

Following such extensive surgery bruising and swelling are to be expected. Patients describe the straightening up process like a chinese burn. It is for this reason we recommend a prolonged hospital stay.

Patients are encoraged to take a minimum of 3 weeks off work and plan not to be back to normal routines for at least 6 weeks.  A discreet medical certificate will be provided to ensure patient recovery is not compromised.

Dr Taylor will visit you in hospital everyday and manage your recovery, sutures are removed at two weeks and Dr Taylor will see you then and again at the 6 week and 6 month stage of your journey.

Body lift surgery may be performed as two separate operations, an adominoplasty first and then the posterior body lift six to twelve months later.

Over the past few years we have tried to establish processes which help our patients recover faster from this surgery.  Working with Movehappy Healthcare we have introduced the ‘Early Intervention Program”.  This program allows our patients to straighten up faster, decrease the pain, and generally feel more in control in their recovery.

Patients are offered this progam as option to their recovery.

Dr Taylor uses drains postoperatively.

The use of the drains provides a number of benefits to the patient.Following surgery, fluid builds up around the surgical site, drains remove this fluid and therefore the swelling and stretching is reduced as is the pain associated with this.  This fluid can also collect and form seromas or possible infections.  Dr Taylor with a clear picture of what is happening inside – if there is a problem it can be seen in the drain and acted on immediately rather than when you are at home and not sure what to do.

In the excitement of the surgery patients often overlook the importance of preparing for it.  What  patients do in the lead up to surgery and knowing how to plan appropriately for your recovery can make the difference between an anxious process or a more relaxed one.

Because we were frequently approached by patients who wanted to know what they could do in preparation for the surgery we put together a “pre-surgery program”.  Now seven years later we know the value of this program and offer it to our patients as part of the service we provide.

If your surgeons doesn’t offer this then you can do it yourself.  We use a multivitamin to ‘detox’ the body which aids recovery getting patients back on their feet faster.  We also use a herbal medication to reduce the bruising and swelling associated with the surgery, again we have found this to be highly effective.

Knowing what to expect is vital to the planning of your recovery.  Understanding what you can and cannot do will ensure you are not put in a position where you put yourself or the success of your surgery at risk.  All this will depend on your personal situation.  How much time do you need off work? Do you need to drive?  Do you live alone?  Do you have a family that relies on you? Do you have small children? Do you have to lift children or heavy objects in your day to day life? Do you play sport? What is going on in your life for the first six weeks after surgery?

Again answering these questions will ensure you have planned appropriately for your surgery and your recovery.

With the operation behind you, you may be feeling sore and anxious about how you will cope over the next few weeks. The best thing you can do is REST. The body cannot heal and function at the same time – that is why you need to SLEEP.

Taking regular pain medication will ensure you remain comfortable – follow the instructions given to you at discharge – DON’T BE HERO – there are no prizes for not taking it.

Results may be compromised by complications, always contact us if you;

  • are unable to cease or slow bleeding of the wound after applying pressure to the area.
  • feel any heat or increasing pain developing in your wound.
  • notice excessive swelling and bruising accompanying pain and tenderness.

Rapid intervention will reduce the chance of a complication becoming a real issue.  Ensuring you have planned appropriately for your recovery will make an enormous difference.

Most importantly – Relax and ENJOY IT.  When else are you going to get the opportunity to catch up on the lastest DVD series or read that book getting dusty in the corner?

 

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Before & After Photos

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If you have questions about how Body Lifting surgery may benefit you, please contact us using the form below or call us on 6282 1177.

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Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner (eg. your GP).