Many of you have asked about body lifts and liposuction to reverse aging changes in the lower body. Dr Gouverne was fortunate to be trained by Dr Lockwood in Kansas City. He is considered a pioneer in this type of surgery. Below follows his account on this type of surgery.
“Body lifts tighten loose, fallen skin and fat to obtain more youthful skin tone and natural contours. There is no other effective method to rejuvenate aged tissues of the body. Everyone ages, all tissues relax with time. Body lifts are “facelifts” for the body.
The roots of body lifting largely began in Brazil and France 30 – 40 years ago. Thigh lifts, buttock lifts, abdominoplasty (“tummy-tuck”), and arm lifts were designed using the anatomical and surgical principles available at that time. In the United States, initial experience with lifts of various parts of the body occurred in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Although abdominoplasty has continued to be popular, lifts of other areas of the body were often plagued with inconsistent results, unnatural contours, long recovery time after surgery, poor scarring, and excessive complications.
In the past 10 years, body lifts have been redesigned using new information about the anatomy of youth and the changes in body contours that occur with aging, weight changes (including pregnancy), and sun-damage. The “hard body” skin tone of youth is the result of both strong skin tone and a strong fibrous structural meshwork that encases the fat beneath the skin. This fibrous scaffolding – the superficial fascial system or SFS – holds the skin and fat on the body for many decades of life. Extensive research by Dr. Lockwood identified the role of the SFS in the anatomy of both youthful and aging human bodies. Based on this new understanding, lifts of the buttocks, thighs, abdomen, and arms were redesigned over the past decade. New body lift designs are safer and more effective, leading to tighter skin tone and natural contours. The risk of poor scarring or other complications is low.
How to tell if you are a good candidate for a lower body lift?
Pinch the excess loose tissue at the level of high-cut bikini.
If skin tone and cellulite dimples are improved dramatically by this maneuver, then a lower body lift is recommended. The result after body lifting is usually similar to this “lifted” appearance although a variable amount of relaxation occurs over several months. Improved skin tone and smooth contours are least predictable in the area of the thigh above the knee since it is farthest from the high-cut bikini surgical seam.
Liposuction versus Body Lifts
Aesthetic or cosmetic surgery deals with improving the physical appearance to enhance one’s self-image. Body contouring surgery refers to one section of aesthetic surgery devoted to reshaping the contours of the body. Familial or genetic fat bulges that are not improved by diet or exercise are the most common cosmetic concerns of both women and men. Liposuction removes excess fat from unwanted familial bulges through small incisions. The fat is removed using thin stainless steel tubes (cannulas) after the fat is injected with a saline solution containing adrenaline. Once the excess fat is removed, the skin should conform to the smaller shape in a few months if the skin is youthful and elastic. If the skin lacks strength and elasticity, the skin tone will worsen after liposuction, accelerating the aged appearance of the tissues. In patients with marginal skin tone and fat deposits, it may be prudent to leave the fat deposit to fill out and “tighten” the loose skin. A smooth, youthful, “plump” contour is usually preferable to thin contours with irregular (cellulite), aged, and loose skin.
MYTH: Liposuction tightens the skin.
REALITY: Youthful, elastic skin tightens smoothly after liposuction. Thin, weak, inelastic, aged, sun-damaged, or stretch-marked skin does not tighten smoothly after liposuction, resulting in lumpy, irregular, unnatural contours and/or relaxed, dimpled, saggy skin. These changes worsen with age.
In addition to familial fat bulges, the other common cosmetic concern of many patients is loose, saggy skin and cellulite. Pregnancies, significant weight changes (massive weight loss or yo-yo dieting), familial skin weakness, sun-damage, and normal aging are all factors in producing skin relaxation. Sagging of the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs; skin surface irregularities (cellulite); and generalized poor skin tone (laxity) will occur in all persons with time. Being significantly overweight in childhood and teenage years results in premature skin aging.
The only effective treatment of loose, saggy skin and cellulite of the body is to remove the excess skin and underlying fat with a body lift, tightening the skin and fat to produce youthful skin tone and natural contours. Body lifts are “facelifts” for the body. Body lifts should use bikini line scar seams to remove the excess tissue. Liposuction and body lifts are often combined to treat both familial fat deposits and skin laxity.”
LIPOSUCTION REMOVES FAT, “LOOK THINNER”
BODY LIFTS TIGHTEN SKIN, “LOOK YOUNGER”, “REJUVENATES”.