WHY IS A BODY LIFT PERFORMED?
Excess skin of the body can occur after dramatic weight loss by diet and exercise or after having bariatric surgery. In some cases, the skin has lost its elasticity and ability to tighten naturally and the only way to resolve the problem is surgical excision of the excess skin. It is recommended that you have maintained your optimum weight for a period of time before undergoing this procedure.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN THE OPERATION?
Body Lift is performed under general anesthesia and usually takes around 8 hours. The operation involves cutting out excessive skin in multiple areas taking with it the underlying fat. If necessary, tightening the muscles and liposuction maybe considered at the same time. The areas of skin excision can include the upper arms, thighs, abdomen, buttocks, back, breasts and face/neck. Your surgeon may opt to have the body lift done in stages, focusing on a particular area at a time. There may be a waiting period of several weeks or months between surgeries to assure proper healing. You will be required to sign a consent form giving permission for the operation. This requires that you are aware of the risks and complications involved in the procedure.
ARE THERE ANY COMPLICATIONS?
There are general risks associated with a general anesthetic such as aspiration of stomach content into the lungs which can cause serious illness or death. Therefore, to help prevent this it is mandatory that you do not eat or drink anything (usually 8 hours) preceding your surgery. Other risks include DVTs, (clots in the veins of the legs) which can break off and travel to the lungs, this is known as an embolus and although very rare, can be life threatening; especially in smokers. You will be encouraged to get up and walk around as soon as possible to reduce these risks. This will feel uncomfortable and tight at first and you will be given pain killers to help with this. Complications specific to this operation include infection and problems with wound healing. Problems with the wound are more common in smokers and diabetic patients. If you are a smoker, you are strongly advised to stop smoking a minimum of two weeks before the operation. Some people experience problems with red, raised and lumpy scars but most scars will become very pale and thin. It is also possible that uneven contours can develop. Collections of blood (hematomas) and collections of fluid (seromas) can occur and may require drainage with a needle or more rarely a return to the operating theatre. Numbness may occur and can occasionally be permanent. In some cases minor adjustments under local anesthetic are required at a later date.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE OPERATION?
Your surgeon may require that you stay overnight for observation if not you will need someone to drive you home and stay with you the first 24 hours after surgery. You may experience some pain which should be alleviated by the pain medications. When you come round from the anesthetic you will be bandaged and have drainage tubes in place. These bandages, garments and drainage tubes are to assist your healing and should only be removed by your surgeon. The drains can usually be removed a day or so after the operation but occasionally will be left for a little longer if fluid continues to leak. You may have dissolvable stitches but any permanent stitches that are used may need to be removed approximately 10 days after the surgery.
WHEN CAN NORMAL ACTIVITIES BE RESUMED?
You can usually return to work after 2 to 4 weeks depending on your job but you should avoid any strenuous activity for up to 6 weeks after the operation.
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