Lower Body Lift Risks?

I lost 100 pounds from Lapband over 4 years ago and would like a lower body lift. Im Very scared. What are the risks?

Doctor Answers 12

Scared of surgery

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It is natural to be scared of major surgeries. Our goals as plastic surgeons is to try to minimize the risks by making sure the patient is healthy, listen to the needs of the patient, and draw a plan to achieve the results they desire.

You may want to have multiple opinions from experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeons, understand the surgery, the risks, the measures taken to minimize these risks.The you can make an intellegent decision based on information. Your conslt should be extensive and amswer all your questions prior to surgery. You may need more than one meeting with the doctor performing the surgery, not the office staff, He/ She is doing the surgery not anybody else.

If you are still not convinced and afraid then do not do the surgery. When you feel comfortable that is the time to proceed with surgery.

Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Lower Body Lift Complications

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Although lower body lift surgery is generally considered a safe operative procedure, complications can occasionally occur. The vast majority of complications are the result of wound healing problems and can usually be managed without further surgical intervention.

Areas of concern include bleeding, infection, anesthesia problems, seromas, pain, scarring, asymmetry, fat necrosis, decreased sensation and wound separation.

Complications can be minimized by consulting a board certified plastic surgeon with experience performing this procedure. This procedure results in alleviation of symptoms and an improved quality of life.

Risk after body lift surgery

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Probably the biggest risk you have in undergoing body lift surgery is...are you happy with your result?  Really.  That's not the same as saying it's the most important medical risk.  The one thing you really need to do before undergoing body lift surgery is to spend a lot of time with your surgeon, making sure that you and your surgeon are "on the same page" regarding what your expectations are and what the most likely outcomes of the surgery are.  And make sure that you include in your conversations what happens if you are not happy with your results.  Body lift surgery can complete amazing transformations for people who have been large since grade school.  Body lift patients, in my experience, are some of the happiest people around.  There are significant medical risks, of course.  It's pretty common to have some issues with wound healing, usually minor but possibly even major.  Fluid collections called seromas may occur.  Blood clots also may occur and may be fatal if they do.  Infection, pain, significant scarring, keloid scarring, asymmetry of the results, the belly button being higher/lower/off to the side compared to before surgery, distortion of the pubic region, numbness of the abdominal and thigh skin, blood loss, need for blood transfusion...these are just some of the medical risks.  Also remember that it's not just how much tissue is removed but how much tissue remains after the surgery.  Body lift surgery does not change the character of your remaining skin.  That skin is stretchy.  Because of this, the initial tightness you see and feel right after surgery will loosen over a few months.  But really, the single most important thing you can do is spend a lot of time with your surgeon long before you undergo the surgery.  Make sure you both understand each other.  Make sure you both have a plan.  It can't just be the surgeon planning and doing the surgery.  You need a plan of how you will recover safely and successfully after surgery and how you will maintain and optimize your result. 

Kelly R. Kunkel, MD
Fort Worth Plastic Surgeon

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Potential Risks of Lower Body Lift

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Potential risks are asymmetry, infection, and undesirable scarring. Researching your surgeon and following post op orders always reduces the chances of these risks from happening. 

Lower Body Lift Risks

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Congratulations on your massive weight loss from lap band. You should be very proud of yourself. Continue to keep the weight off.
There are risks involved with a lower body lift. There were also risks associated with your lap band, but you got through that surgery. The most common "complication" with a lower body lift is wound breakdown. This may be minor or major wound breakdown. Typically, it is only a minor wound breakdown of a half inch or 1 inch. Typically, these wounds are treated with dressing changes and heal well over time. Significantly more uncommon risks include infection and blood clots. Typically, these are both treated with medications. It should be stressed though, that these are very rare after a body lift. Other complications include bleeding and leg swelling or lymphedema. However, it should be stressed these are rare body lift complications. To minimize the risks and complications, I would suggest going to a board certified reconstructive plastic surgeon with a significant amount of experience with massive weight loss patients. Good luck on your weight-loss journey. Sincerely, Dr. Katzen.

J. Timothy Katzen, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 254 reviews

Lower Body Lift Risks

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The list is long. Most items will be minor. The serious ones are uncommon, and typically managed around the time of surgery to minimize the chances. 

Here are some, and a few management notes:

  • bleeding (avoid operating on patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure, use adrenaline in the local anesthetic to decrease bleeding)
  • infection (antibiotics are given at the start of surgery and  again if the operation is over 4 hours long)
  • blood clots in leg veins, possible clots to the lungs (sequential compression boots during surgery, early walking, blood thinners in selected patients)
  • poor wound healing (don't operate on smokers, or very overweight patients. )
  • fluid collection (drains or other techniques)
  • numbness (universal, minimize by not doing unnecessary undermining)
  • leg swelling (compression stockings) 
  • hypertrophic scar or keloid (observe wound healing, treat as needed)
  • need for secondary surgery is higher in massive weight loss patients

This is not an exhaustive list.

When you ready for an in person consultation, RealSelf has listings of surgeons in your area. You should consider cross referencing the listings from the The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (plasticsurgery dot org). A listing in the ASPS website assures you that your surgeon is not only board certified,  but also is a member in good standing of the major plastic surgery organization in the U. S. Thank you for your question, best wishes.


Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Lower Body Lift Risks?

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Congratulations on your successful weight loss.  All surgical procedures have risks such as bleeding, infection, and poor wound healing.  Lower body lift procedures have additional risks such as asymmetry, lymphedema in the lower extremities, blood clots, fat emboli, and pulmonary embolus, even death.  That being said, a medical evaluation by a board certified plastic surgeon will be the first step necessary.  Your risks of complications increase with the amount of surgery planned and the necessary increase in surgical time for these procedures.  It is very scary hearing about all of these potential complications.  Please do not let this dissuade you from getting an evaluation so you can see how your body can be transformed.

Risks for Lower Body Lift

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  Bleeding, infection, fluid collections, poor scarring, wound separation, contour irregularity are all risks.  Many of these risks depend upon your current BMI and general health.  DVT and PE should be risks that are controlled to the extent possible with stockings, intermittent compression stockings, and chemoprophylaxis, if appropriate.  All of your individual risks should be elucidated at the consultation by your board certified plastic surgeon.

Lower body lift risks

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The risks of circumferential body lift surgery include but are not limited to delayed healing (incisions not healing well), undesirable scarring, seroma (fluid collections), bleeding/hematoma, contour irregularities, numbess/pain, DVT or PE (blood clot risk) and need for revision/additional surgery.  Fortunately, these risks are very rare with proper patient selection, screening, and preoperative workup and preparation.   Please visit with a board certified plastic surgeon to start learning more about your options.

Dr. Basu

Houston, TX

Lower Body Lift Risks

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The risks to a lower body lift are seroma (fluid collection under the skin), wound separation, infection, venous thrombosis (blood clot in leg), and pulmonary embolism (blood clot in lung).  The best way to avoid these potential problems is to be as close to your goal weight as possible at the time of your body lift and to undergo a complete preoperative evaluation so that any medical or nutritional issues can be optimized.  

Congratulations on losing 100 lbs it is a great accomplishment!  It is normal to be concerned about the complications of any procedure.  However, there is really no other way to improve the appearance of the excess skin after dramatic weight loss.  I would strongly advise you to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon to discuss the specifics with you in person.  Good luck!  

Mark Schwartz, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon

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.