What is the Typical Recovery from a Lower Body Lift?

I'm considering whether to get a tummy tuck or body lift and maybe some skin reduction on thighs if possible. I am currently a 157lb., 6'1", 27-year-old male, and I have lost ~100-110 lbs. over the past two years. I have some excess skin that has not responded to weight loss. It's worst in the abdomen/butt/thighs (mostly on the sides of the body). My major concerns are recovery time and danger of complications from the operation (is a body lift significantly more dangerous than a tummy tuck)? I wouldn't be able to miss more than 2 weeks of work. Thanks.

Doctor Answers 38

Recovery time

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The recovery time for lower body lift depending on the operation is variable.  The recovery time for the anterior abdominoplasty is typically 4 weeks.  With the addition of thigh lift and buttock lift with posterior incisions I would say that the patient would likely require an extra 2 weeks recover.  4-6 weeks can be deemed appropriate.  He will likely have drains placed for at least 2-3 weeks.  and medication for 2-4 weeks to help with postoperative pain

Recovery From a Lower Body Lift

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Some people would recover from a lower body lift and be able to return to work in two weeks, but for many that would be cutting it too short.  Being in good aerobic conditioning and having good nutritional status after weight loss can make recovery easier.  Having good personal support and a relatively stress free time period can also enhace recovery.   Most people experience fatigue for 4-6 weeks after the surgery even though they nay be able to perform well in a desk job much earlier.  It is best to give yourself adequate time to recover to get the full benefit of this life changing surgery. 

Lower body lift recovery time.

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Thank you for your photos.  It appears you have a relatively small amount of skin which actually hangs although the skin may be loose in other areas.  If you are concerned about the loose/hanging skin of your abdomen, sides and the buttock area then a lower body lift, which lifts and rejuvenates the entire trunk would give you the best result.  I routinely do this as a single operation in approximately 4 hours.  There is one night in the hospital and recovery is 2 - 4 weeks.  Recovery is longer for the lower body lift vs the tummy tuck as the surgery is more extensive, but the overall correction of the trunk is better with the lower body lift.  If you work at a desk then returning to work in 2 weeks should be possible.  Complication rates are low if proper pre operative and post operative instructions, especially about walking, are followed.

Two weeks is probably not enough time...

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My patients generally take 3-4 weeks to recover from abdominoplasty and lower body lifts. Although we are very successful in managing post-operative pain the incisions are large and healing properly requires rest, attention to dressing care, and proper nutrition.  Returning to work too soon can stress the body and result in complications such as infections and incision disruption.  Many of my patients are able to work from home after two weeks and work part time after three weeks.

Marisa Lawrence, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon

Recovery from Body Lift is More Demanding than an Abdominoplasty Alone

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The lower body lift tightens the buttocks and back of the thighs, hips and outer thighs, and abdomen and inner thighs by removing a band of tissue circumferentially from the spine in back to the abdomen in front.

This limits bending forward, bending backwards, and bending side to side. Frequently, 6 to 7 drains are placed under the skin to remove serum fluid, which may build up and stretch the skin. Sitting, lying, and transferring from one position to another is limited by the incision placement and the presence of drains.

We advise our patients to set aside 4 to 6 weeks to heal, depending upon how physical a job they do. Drains may take 2 to 4 weeks for removal. Sutures may be removed 2 to 3 weeks after surgery. Wound separations may occur, delaying wound healing (but rarely requiring further surgery).

I think that 2 weeks is far too optimistic a time frame to anticipate being back to work after a body lift. Even an abdominoplasty alone would require more than 2 weeks for healing in a physical job. We would not consider a bodylift to be much more dangerous than an abdominoplasty, but you should realize that the much longer bodylift incison is at higher risk for delayed wound healing issues and for seroma formation.

Deciding whether to go with an abdominoplasty or body lift really depends upon the amount of extra thigh skin and its looseness. This is not easily assessed in the enclosed picture. I would advise that see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with extensive experience in body contouring for massive weight loss patients (especially body lifts) for an in person consultation to determine which option is best for you.

Good Luck!

Recovery from Male Body Lift Surgery

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Recovery from 'tummy tucks" and body lift surgery in men is very different than in women. This is because usually muscle tightening does not need to be done in men. Why? Because women are the ones who get pregnant and sacrifice their bodies for the sake of having a family! Pregnancy causes a lot of stretching of the muscles which often do not shrink back. These muscles are routinely tightened in tummy tucks for women. In men, even those that have lost a lot of weight, the tummy muscles can be strengthened through exercise. and core strengthening. Therefore these operations turn into just skin operations for men. Less muscle work means less pain. And this means an easier recovery. Depending upon your work you might be able to return after a week, probably two at the max. This doesn't mean that you will be completely healed. That will take a few months. Light exercise can uually resume by six weeks. it's always best to get your info straight from the surgeon so go treat yourself to a consultation. Good luck.

Recovery time

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The answer is dependent on your procedures. Generally, 6-8 weeks of protecting your incisions should cover most uncomplicated situations with a body  lift. Even after this time, you will not be fully recovered, as there will be some lingering edema and the scars will be immature. Complete healing and final results will typically be apparent at 6 months; maybe even longer in some cases.  Complications after such cases are fairly common (mostly minor) but will often prolong recovery when they happen.  I would advise that it is very unlikely that 2 weeks is long enough for a procedure of this magnitude, and you should adjust your timing and plans accordingly.

Lower body lift

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The surgery to perform a circumferential procedure usually takes me between 4-5 hours.  The recovery time for the patient is usually about 1-2 weeks. The drains may stay in as long as 3 weeks and come out in as little as 1 week on average.

Recovery body lift abdomen

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Hello and thank you for the question.

Like with anything else, everyone is different. It can be described as uncomfortable, especially in the first few days, and it is also the sensation of tightness that contribute to the difficulty of the first few days. The earlier you mobilise out of bed and learn how to move and how to breath- we teach you all that, the easier would be to become independent and also manage  your pain relief better. We provide you with a lot of pain relief and also with muscle relaxants for the tight abdominal muscles. We place you in a comfortable position and in supportive garments for the first few weeks after surgery, depending upon the extent of your surgery, the extent of your liposuction and the way your body develops swelling. We have also introduced, as standard in the postoperative care, the Healite treatments, phototherapy, which helps with swelling and postoperative bruising.

Constipation can be a serious discomfort immediately after surgery, as you move less, the medication side effects include constipation, so I encourage  my patients to work closely with me from the beginning  to resolve it before becoming a problem.

The stitches are all dissolvable, and the dressing are water proof, so you can shower early after surgery.

Once you go home form the hospital- 1-2-3 days, you come for reviews usually on a weekly basis or as needed until full healing is achieved.

Following that, we start you on a scar management plan and organise regular visits to make sure you achieve the best outcome.

We can start walking after surgery as early as one week and I will work with you closely for an early return to all your activities, gym without compromising good healing. 

You might be able to drive week two or three after surgery, depending how your recovery goes, most of our patient do well in the first 2 weeks.

Returning to work it will depend upon the type of work and how strenuous your life is, it can be 3-4 weeks or 6 weeks.

Having said all that, it looks like you might be able to get away with tummy tuck alone, and if you are pretty tight in your abdomen to start with, you might not be too bad with pain and abdominal tightness. 

If you want to return to work in 2 weeks, I would be more inclined towards a tummy tuck rather than body lift.

You need proper consultation to assess and discuss.

Good luck!

Recovery time fro Body lift

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It depends on the patient and the procedure, but basically we're talking about 4-6 weeks, it is very important to give your body enough time to heal, there is nothing to make you heal faster. But there are tons of things you can do to heal very slow or have a complication  and make this 4-6 weeks into months. So take it easy and have a smooth recovery.

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.