Just as a tummy tuck can really help people who have a lot of loose skin on their abdomen, a lower body lift is the corresponding operation for people that have significant amounts of excess skin on their lateral (outside) thighs or buttocks. It tightens the lax skin over the “saddlebag” area and buttock by removing the extra stuff, but it does not typically affect the inside of the thigh. Think of grabbing a fold of fabric on your pants in the saddlebag or upper buttock area, and pulling upwards, getting a nice, smooth result.
Most commonly, a lower body lift is done for people that have:
a) lost a major amount of weight through gastric bypass surgery or diet,
b) have had previous liposuction in the area, but have a deflated, loose result,
c) are just plain unlucky, and have a lot of loose skin in that area.
Yes, there is an incisional scar, which is designed so that it is hidden by a standard bikini or swimsuit. The scar is the trade-off for the major tightening of this procedure. So, in other words, this is not an operation for people that just have a little cellulite, related to minor degrees of skin laxity.
If the patient has already had an abdominoplasty, the lower body lift simply extends the incision around the back, curving over the top of the buttocks with a “heart-shaped” design. Some surgeons use a horizontal “belt” incision, but I feel that the curved design works better for women, as it emphasizes the buttock shape in a more attractive way. Most times, there is so much lifting on the sides of the abdomen that I have to re-do the outer portions of the tummy tuck scar!
If the patient has a little extra fat in these areas, some liposuction can be done at the same time. Generally, major liposuction of these areas is done as a separate procedure. Most experts do liposuction first (given decent skin elasticity), then we complete the reshaping of the outer thigh with the lower body lift.
Not all plastic surgeons do this operation routinely, so look for someone who does lower body lifts on a regular basis as part of their busy “body-work” type of practice.