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Is Lower Body Lift the Only Option?

I am 25 years old. I gained about 45lbs during pregnancy. I was left with tons of stretch marks and loose skin. I went for a consultation with a surgeon in my area, and he told me that he could not perform a Tummy Tuck, and I would need a full lower body lift.

He said a regular Tummy Tuck would leave me with "dog ears" over my hips because I stretched so far onto my sides. Recently, I decided that major surgery just is not an option for me. My question is, do you think I could benefit at all from any laser treatments or liposuction?

Doctor Answers 33

Lower body lift versus tummy tuck

A circumferential tummy tuck is actually different than a lower body lift. However, I think, the former is what your surgeon was referring to. It is probably an over kill (without seeing your back pictures it is difficult to say). However, an extended tummy tuck with liposuction should do the job. An extended tummy tuck has a longer incision that a full tummy tuck. The incision extendes over the waist area and removes tissue form this area as well.

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Will Laser Or Liposuction Equal A Lower Body Lift?

A lower body lift is the backside of a tummy tuck.  It pulls up the loose skin on your buttocks and lateral thighs.  It also dovetails into an abdominoplasty scar.  You stated in your comments to us that your plastic surgeon felt you would have dog ears unless you had a lower body lift.  If this was the only concern, then probably an extended abdominoplasty incision would get rid of the potential for dog ears.  The extended excision leaves scars way onto the back without lifting the buttocks or the lateral thighs. 

If I read your question correctly, you are asking if liposuction or laser might replace both the tummy tuck or the lower body lift.  The answer is a resounding MAYBE.  Liposuction, depending on your skin tone even with the stretch marks, may shrink up your abdomen and give you a better contour, but it will have no positive effects on the stretch marks.  Also, if your abdominal muscles are separated from the pregnancy, liposuction will not correct this problem as well.  I have done many liposuctions as an alternative to tummy tucks.  Sometimes they work out great, and sometimes we need to go back and do a second stage to include a tummy tuck.  If your plastic surgeon is experienced in liposuction and if you understand that this may be a two stage procedure, I see no problem with doing traditional liposuction.

With reference to laser, skin treatments or laser liposuction, I don't feel you will be well served by these modalities, and I believe they are a perfect example of the triumph of technology over reason.

Plastic Surgery For Post Partum Body Changes

If you read Realsef with any regularity you will see that there are many possible ways to approach a given problem.  Finding the solution that suits you best may take some consideration.  Your stretch marks willl fade with time, but will not go away on their own.  Laser for stretch marks does not have a lot to offer.  Liposuction can improve your abdominal contour but will not take away stretch marks.  A tummy tuck might remove the majority of your stretch marks and improve contour.  A lower body lift might be more than you need.  Have your plastic surgeon help you think about what your personal goals are before arriving at a choice to improve post pregnancy body changes.

Mary Lee Peters, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 97 reviews

There are always options....

Hello,

You could opt for an extended tummy tuck in which the incision goes toward the back but not all the way around. There are always options. You just would not be as tight around the back. This can be acceptable to some patients.

 

Best Regards,

 

John Di Saia MD

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Can liposuction tighten skin?

when you have stretch marks and loose skin, I personally feel excision is the only predictable option. There is a lot of hype surrounding skin tightening technologies particularly laser liposuction. If you look at the data / studies critically, there simply isn't good science to support this, particularly in light of significant stretch marks. I personally believe we will be making some advancements in this area in the future, but we simply aren't there. 

Jeffrey Kenkel, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Liposuction

Before you undergo significant surgery, do get a consultation with a liposuction expert. Granted, the stretch marks will remain, but often, loose skin retracts better than expected. The volume can be reduced and you may be pleased with the reshaping. You need a consultation because the surgeon should examine you to determine the laxity of the muscle wall of the abdomen and make sure you have no hernias prior to performing any of these treatments.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Lower body lift not only option

Lower body lift addresses the buttock, lateral thigh, love handles, and abdomen. Tummy tuck addresses the abdomen only. If you only want to address the tummy, it is all you need. If your surgeon can't do a tummy tuck without leaving you with "dog ears", you should consult with another surgeon. If you have persistent fat collections in the love handle areas, liposuction can decrease them, but it won't remove stretch marks or loose skin in these areas. There are always options. 

Body Lift vs. Abdominoplasty

I would recommend an abdominoplasty with a secondary revision of dog ear scars and liposuction of the hips. This would allow you to minimize scars and acheive significant improvement in your body contour. 

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

You should be able to obtain an excellent result with an abdominoplasty

From your pictures and history, it is hard to believe someone recommended a lower body lift.  This would be extreme and probably leave scarring which would be unacceptable to you.  I would recommend having another consulatation with a plastic surgeon.

What is the "right" procedure

During a consultation for body contouring your plastic surgeon should be able to describe to you what your problems are and offer you several options. He/she should also give you some idea as to what each option will take care of and how effective each option is. In addition he/she should describe the realtives risks, complications, consequences and recovery times.

At the end of the consultation you should have some idea as to what you want to do. Your surgeon should also ster you away from procedures that really would not be worthwhile for you. You should also be aware that even though you may not choose the "right " procedure according to generally accepted opinions you can still do the procedure as long as you know what results to expect and feel you will be happy with those results.

John P. Stratis, MD
Harrisburg Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.