A body lift procedure can improve the appearance of the buttocks, abdomen and thighs. Many people have excess fat and skin caused by significant weight loss, cellulite, aging and child birth. This is removed during surgery.

To begin with, schedule a consultation with a skilled and qualified plastic surgeon. Check out before-and-after photos of other patients who underwent this procedure. Ask any questions you feel are important.

Body lift surgery is done in a hospital or at an outpatient surgical center. The length of the operation depends on the patient's BMI, but could last anywhere from 4 to 8 hours. You will be under general anesthetic.

The surgeon usually starts in the abdomen first. A horizontal incision is made across the pubic area. Excess skin and fat are removed around the pubic bone and the belly button. The remaining skin is pulled down from above your naval area and sewn into position around the pubic incision. The belly button is then repositioned. The same technique is used for the buttocks and thighs, until all excess skin and fat have been removed and everything has been lifted and sutured into place.

Before surgery you must follow all your surgeon's guidelines and instructions. This will speed up recovery and healing. Beforehand buy any necessary medications and groceries. You will need a friend or relative to drive you home from the hospital and stay with you for the first 48 hours after you come home. Smokers must discontinue smoking 2 weeks before their procedures.

Body lift surgery is a major procedure, and you will need considerable recovery time. The usual hospital stay is two to three days, during which time you will be closely monitored. Any discomfort and pain will be managed via intramuscular or intravenous pain medications. Gradually, you will be switched over to oral pain medications. Following the operation you must stick to a specific diet to minimize the risk post-op problems and complications.

Drainage tubes will remain in place for about 14 days. A compression garment must be worn at all times; it can be removed only when you take a shower or bath. Other bandages and dressings are removed two days after surgery.

Strenuous physical activity is restricted after the operation. Picking up anything weighing more than five pounds (about two kilograms) is strictly prohibited. Walking, though, is encouraged. You will be back on your feet the day of your procedure. This will help you regain strength and begin to get back to your daily routines. Recovery usually takes about eight weeks. Swelling starts to subside about 6 weeks after the operation and should be completely gone within 3 months.

Risks associated with body lift surgery, include fluid accumulating in the treated areas, bleeding, separation of skin, infection, blood clots, scars on the abdomen and reduced sensation in the affected areas.

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