Recovery after Lower Body Lift

By Dr Jake Lim – Plastic Surgeon | Updated: February 16, 2024

What to Expect During Recovery After Lower Body Lift

People can turn to surgical procedures after significant weight loss. One such procedure, known for its results, is the lower body lift. This comprehensive surgical approach addresses multiple regions in the lower body, often reshaping and refining the contours of the abdomen, hips, thighs, and buttocks. It’s important for patients considering this procedure to know what to expect during recovery after a lower body lift.

Dr Jake Lim is a Sydney specialist plastic surgeon with experience in body contouring procedures, including Lower Body Lift.

Dr Lim’s 2024 Excess Skin Guide

Excess Skin Guide

What Is a Lower Body Lift?

The lower body lift targets several interconnected areas. The abdomen, often the primary focus, includes the skin and underlying muscles that may have become stretched or lax. Dr Lim works to tighten these muscles, creating a firmer abdominal wall.

The procedure also affects the hips and thighs. By addressing multiple areas, it provides a more natural transition between the waist and hips. The buttocks can also be lifted, correcting any sagginess present due to weight loss.

How Is the Recovery after Lower Body Lift?

The First 72 Hours

The initial days following your lower body lift are important for your recovery and healing process. This phase is about managing discomfort, preventing complications, and providing an optimal environment for your body to heal.

Once your surgery is completed, you’ll be moved to the recovery room where medical staff will closely monitor you as you gradually wake up from the anaesthesia. It’s normal to feel groggy, tired, or cold during this period. You may also experience some pain, tightness, or discomfort around the operated areas, as your skin and tissues start to adapt to their new contours.

There will be bandages applied to the incisions, and you might have drains in place to collect any excess fluid. The medical team will regularly check your vital signs, surgical sites, and overall comfort.

Managing pain effectively is key to your comfort and recovery. Your medical team will often administer pain relief medications through an IV initially and then switch to oral painkillers. It’s important you don’t wait for severe pain before asking for medication. Keeping discomfort under control can help you rest and recover more effectively.

In addition to medication, simple strategies such as using pillows to support and elevate parts of your body, taking slow, deep breaths, and initially limiting movement can also assist in managing your pain.

Body Lift — Front View
Body Lift — Front View

Day 1 to Day 3 Checklist

It’s normal to have swelling, mild bleeding, and bruising around the surgical sites. You might feel weak or dizzy, have a reduced appetite, and experience difficulty with normal bowel functions due to the pain medication and reduced activity.

However, there are signs you need to watch out for, such as excessive or foul-smelling discharge from your incisions, fever, severe pain not relieved by medication, significant leg swelling, or difficulty breathing. These symptoms could indicate complications, and you should contact your surgeon or healthcare provider immediately if you experience any of them.

Getting moving again is essential. While you need to rest, it’s also important to avoid staying in the same position for too long to prevent blood clots. Simple leg movements, even while lying down, can help with circulation. As soon as you’re able, you should start walking a little, gradually increasing your distance each time. However, bending, lifting, and strenuous activities should be avoided. Always follow the specific movement guidelines provided by Dr Lim.

Your Recovery Space

Your recovery space should be calming, convenient, and comfortable. Keep essentials such as medications, water, snacks, and your phone within easy reach. You might also want a selection of pillows available to help keep your body in the most comfortable position, reducing strain on your incisions.

Make sure your space is equipped with items to occupy your time as you recover, such as books, a laptop, or a TV. Also, have a list of emergency numbers and your plastic surgeon’s contact information readily available should you have immediate concerns or questions.

Recovering from a lower body lift is not something you should do alone. You’ll need help, especially in the first few days, with tasks like preparing meals, managing wound care, and moving around. Having a friend or family member available to assist you or just provide encouragement can make a significant difference in your comfort and peace of mind during this period.

Week 1 to Week 4

This stage of your recovery is a continued transition from the immediate post-operative phase, where your focus shifts towards promoting healing, preventing infection, and slowly regaining your normal daily activities. Below, we outline the essential areas you need to concentrate on during these weeks.

Wound care and hygiene

Proper care of your incision sites is essential to prevent infection and ensure smooth healing. You should follow Dr Lim’s instructions closely, which will include:

  • Cleaning: Gently clean the incision area daily with mild soap and water, patting it dry with a clean towel. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing the site
  • Dressings: If you have bandages, be sure to change them if they get wet or dirty, using clean hands or gloves
  • Monitoring: Keep an eye on the incisions for any signs of infection, including excessive redness, warmth, or unusual discharge, and report these to your plastic surgeon immediately

Bathing and cleanliness tips

During the initial weeks post-surgery, full baths, swimming, or soaking in water are off-limits as they may increase the risk of infection. Instead, take sponge baths or use a handheld shower head for gentle cleaning. Also, wear loose, clean clothing to avoid friction on your incision sites and change your bedsheets regularly to maintain a clean environment.

Nutrition and Hydration

Your body needs specific nutrients to heal effectively. Focus on a balanced diet that includes:

  • Protein-rich foods: Lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and nuts help with tissue repair and muscle strength
  • Fruits and vegetables: These provide essential vitamins and minerals that aid the healing process and bolster your immune system
  • Whole grains: These carbohydrate sources offer sustained energy throughout the day

Remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, as hydration aids in healing and helps flush out toxins.

Supplements and vitamins to aid recovery

Discuss with Dr Lim about specific supplements that can support your healing, such as:

  • Vitamin C and Zinc: Both are known to help with wound healing and boosting the immune system
  • Iron: Important if you’re experiencing fatigue after surgery, especially if you lost blood during the procedure

Avoid self-prescribing as some supplements can interfere with medications or your overall recovery process.

Physical Activity Guidelines

Gradually reintroducing physical activity is important for your recovery. Start with light walking to promote blood circulation. Check with Dr Lim before beginning any activities, and he might recommend specific light exercises, such as ankle rolls or gentle leg stretches, to maintain muscle tone without stressing your surgical sites.

Month 2 Onwards

As you move past the initial stages of recovery, your focus will shift towards maintaining the results of your surgery and adjusting to the new changes in your body. This period is about long-term healing, scar care and getting back into your routine.

Scar Management

Scarring is a natural part of the healing process, and proper care can significantly impact their appearance. Silicone sheets or gels may be recommended due to their ability to hydrate the scar area and reduce excess collagen formation. Over-the-counter creams with vitamin E may also be suggested by Dr Lim for their properties in supporting skin repair.

Additionally, gentle massage of the scarred areas can improve tissue flexibility and reduce the buildup of scar tissue in some cases. However, always wait until Dr Lim confirms that your incisions have fully healed before you start any topical or physical scar management.

Maintaining the quality of your skin is key to supporting the results of your lower body lift. Regular moisturisation is essential; look for products that hydrate and support skin elasticity. Sun protection is also vital; exposure to UV rays can damage your skin and may darken scars, making them more noticeable. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF when outdoors.

Resuming Regular Physical Activity

Getting back to physical activity shouldn’t be rushed. Start slow, perhaps with light walking or stretching exercises. Over time, gradually reintroduce more vigorous activities, paying attention to how your body feels. Discomfort or strain in your surgical areas is a sign to ease off.

By month three or as directed by Dr Lim, you might be ready to reintroduce activities like swimming, cycling, or a modified gym routine, avoiding high-impact activities that put pressure on your operated areas.

FAQs about Recovery after Lower Body Lift

FAQs

How long is the recovery period after a lower body lift?

  • Recovery times can vary based on individual factors, including your general health, the extent of the surgery, and how well you follow post-operative care instructions. Typically, patients can return to most normal activities within 6 weeks. Full recovery and the settling of tissues might take several months, with final results potentially visible after about a year.

What are the risks associated with a lower body lift?

  • As with any major surgery, a lower body lift carries potential risks. Common ones include infection, bleeding, or reaction to anaesthesia. Others might be seromas (fluid accumulation), deep vein thrombosis, numbness, or changes in skin sensation, and scarring.

Will I have visible scars after a lower body lift?

  • Scarring is inevitable with any surgical procedure, including a lower body lift, as incisions are necessary. Dr Lim places incisions in strategic locations that can be covered by underwear or swimwear. Over time, with proper care, scars will generally fade and become less noticeable.

When can I resume exercise after my procedure?

  • Patients are often encouraged to take short walks as soon as they feel able, as movement can help speed up recovery. However, more strenuous activity, including heavy lifting and vigorous exercise, should generally be avoided for at least 6-8 weeks or until Dr Lim gives you the all-clear. Returning to full activities too soon can cause complications or delay healing.

How long will the results of my lower body lift last?

  • The results of a lower body lift can be long-lasting, especially if you maintain a stable weight, follow a balanced diet, and engage in regular physical activity. Natural ageing will continue, which might lead to some changes in body contours over time. Following Dr Lim’s aftercare recommendations can help maintain your results for as long as possible.

Further Reading about Body Procedures with Dr Jake Lim

Medical References about Lower Body Lift

About Dr Jake Lim

Highly qualified and experienced specialist plastic surgeon Dr Jake Lim focuses on facial plastic, cosmetic breast and body contouring after significant weight loss

Dr Lim creates the best possible plastic surgery results for his Australia-wide and international patients.

Dr Lim is passionate about making sure each and every patient has access to the right information about available treatments and procedures and is able to make well-informed decisions.

At My Klinik, patient safety, education and achieving optimal results are our top priorities.