Body Lift Surgery and Body Contouring Surgery: Part Four

Recovery and Summary – Delaware and Pennsylvania

Body lift surgery, lower body lift surgery, and body contouring surgery are operations that can give fantastic and wonderful changes for many people. Understanding and learning about the cosmetic operations is always important for all people interested in the surgery. This educational series has four parts and will, in this section – Part Four, go over recovery from surgery and a general summary. Please review the three earlier parts and the “Procedure Info” section of my web page.

As discussed before, body lift, lower body lift, and body contouring operations can vary depending on what operations are done. Which specific operation you choose to do will determine the recovery for you. For example, a thigh lift operation alone will have a different recovery than a lower body lift or an operation that includes a tummy tuck or an arm lift also. Some patients choose to do larger operations than others. Larger operations will require more time off work and will have a longer recovery compared to shorter operations. First, general recovery from these operations will be reviewed and then some specifics for individual operations.

For those interested, detailed post operative instructions are available on my web page for all the operations I perform. Please see the instructions under “Patient Forms and Survey” in the menu. Then click on “Body, Thigh, and Buttock.”

General instructions for lower body lift recovery are to have ample time to rest and heal. It takes time to recover from these operations and people who try and rush back to their busy schedules can increase problems. It is recommended to have about 1-2 weeks off from most activities. It will be a month before unlimited exercise can resume.

We want to decrease our chances of blood clots in the legs or DVT. I have an acronym that will help people remember some of the important instructions after the surgery.

It is “PAIL.”

P – Patient Position. Keep the legs elevated. Venous blood flow is slow and dependent. Keep the legs elevated above the heart to promote drainage and blood return. “Toes above the nose.”
A – Ambulation. Early ambulation is very important. Moving the legs encourages blood flow and return. Get out of bed frequently and walk around. Usually you will need some assistance the first couple of days. The instructions are “Out of bed with assistance.”
I – Invisible Bicycle. When those legs are elevated, pretend you are riding a bicycle. Move them and pump them. This encourages blood movement. One leg can be done at a time so it won’t even hurt. Most find this is really helpful.
L – Leg compression stockings. Ted hose or other brand leg compression stockings should be worn until about two weeks after surgery. These help compress the veins to decrease clots.

Specific instructions for body lift recovery or body contouring recovery depends on the specific operation done. Please see the operations under “Patient Forms” in the menu section of my web page. Some specific instructions will be reviewed now.

Tummy tuck operations often involve muscle tightening. This is the part where the muscles are sutured together. This can cause pain, so a “Pain-Buster” is used. This device is fantastic! It trickles in Lidocaine to the muscle site for 72 hours or three days. It really works! I believe it has been one of the most significant advances in recovery for tummy tuck in the last decade. Most people are really surprised at how well it works.

Thigh lift, buttock lift, and tummy tuck operations usually require drainage tubes. These tubes collect fluid and prevent fluid accumulation. In my opinion, most people find them annoying but, overall, not that bad. I believe they lead to extra “flat” results and are well worth the minor discomfort involved.

Body Lift and Body Contouring Summary:

Benefits: The operations can give dramatic improvement to the stomach, buttocks, flanks, and thighs. This improvement might not be as much as desired, however. Realistic expectations are always important for all cosmetic operations.

Options: A complete review with the doctor is essential.

A woman may review options and decide against proceeding with any surgery.
A women may proceed with liposuction and “not” a body lift. This is easier surgery, but the results will not be as significant or dramatic.
It is important to understand the different incision patterns when considering a thigh lift.
Aesthetic Risks: A person must understand the incisions that are required for these operations. Different incision patterns can be used. The incisions turn into the scars. Other risks are important to understand and will be reviewed by Dr. Saunders in detail.

Recovery: The recovery is 1-2 weeks. Sometimes it is much longer than expected. The recovery requires a significant period of leg elevation and the use of a compression garment.