Circumferential Body Lift

This procedure is appropriate for patients with significant skin laxity and fat excess in the lower abdomen, hips, flanks, outer thighs, and buttocks.

Good candidates for this procedure are men or women who are in good general health, and non-smokers. Patients who have experienced massive weight loss benefit greatly from this procedure and are advised to defer surgery until their weight loss has plateaued for at least six months.

A great number of patients benefit from bariatric surgery, which aids greatly with weight loss and generally improves health. Following massive weight loss, however, many patients are left with extreme skin laxity throughout their bodies, including abdomen, flanks, hips, thighs, and buttocks. While exercise can tone musculature, correction of skin laxity requires excisional surgery.

Some patients suffer circumferential laxity in the trunk not associated with massive weight loss. These patients may also benefit from this surgery.

Patients are seen by Dr. Casso in consultation, and the pros and cons associated with surgery are discussed. The patient’s medical history is carefully assessed. The planned incision lines and anticipated scar locations are discussed to avoid compromising clothing choices. Patients with medical conditions are advised to check with their primary physicians and other specialists, if necessary, to confirm medical fitness for the procedure.

Many patients seeking this surgery suffer from multiple striae (stretch marks) in the central or lower abdomen, as well as the hips and flanks. Oftentimes, many or most of the stretch marks may be removed in surgery.

The circumferential body lift is performed under general anesthesia at Houston Methodist St. John Hospital. While this procedure is sometimes performed in outpatient facilities, Dr. Casso recommends an overnight hospital stay, which provides the patient with close, expert nursing attention, the availability of intravenous pain control, treatment of postoperative nausea, if present, and immediate medical attention in the event of any unforeseen emergency. The option for surgery in a full-service, state-of-the-art facility such as Houston Methodist St. John provides patients with a measure of safety and security which is unmatched.

The patient is marked privately before surgery in the standing position, and Dr. Casso again confers with the patient to assure that the scars from surgery will not interfere with the patient’s lifestyle or clothing habits.

Incisions are made low in the abdomen, and extended to the flank region. Excess skin and fat in the truncal area is removed. Tightening of lax abdominal musculature is performed with sutures. It is not uncommon to encounter incisional hernias or umbilical hernias in the process of performing circumferential body lift surgery. If detected, these hernias may typically be repaired during the procedure. Liposuction may be performed in the abdominal region, pubic area, or other areas, if desired. The abdominal wounds are carefully closed and dressed.

The patient is then turned either supine, or onto one side and then the other, where excess hip and flank tissue are removed. Buttock enhancement may be achieved with fat injections, if necessary. The wounds are repaired, resulting in tightening and flattening of the abdomen, lifting of the buttocks, and narrowing of the waist.

Recuperation and Healing

The patient is then moved to the recovery area, where nurses carefully monitor recovery from anesthesia. Initial post-surgical pain is controlled with intravenous pain medication.

Early ambulation is encouraged to help reduce the risk of blood clots in the legs. Oral pain medication is prescribed the day after surgery. While patients are seen and usually discharged after one night in the hospital, an additional night stay is an option.

An abdominal binder may be applied postoperatively to assist with management of surgical swelling. The patient is seen frequently in Dr. Casso’s office to monitor healing. Sutures are removed within 10 days.

While some patients may experience minor wound healing issues, such as small wound breakdown, significant healing difficulties are uncommon.

Most patients may return to sedentary work in about a week to 10 days, but physical exertion is not allowed for 6 weeks. Many patients find that they are motivated to pursue a more healthy lifestyle following surgery.

Patients benefit from ongoing compression of the truncal area for several months, and are advised to wear either a compression binder or light girdle.

Many patients undergoing circumferential body lift subsequently seek additional surgery to address the stigmata of weight loss, including breast lift, brachioplasty, inner thigh lift, and facelift. Further surgery, if elected is deferred for 3 to 4 months.

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