Lower Body Lift with Superficial Fascial System Suspension

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Multiple body contour deformities of the trunk and thighs are commonly treated in separate stages to limit postoperative complications and disability. Recent advances in the surgical design of the medial thigh lift and the lateral thigh/buttock lift along with an understanding of the functional anatomy of the superficial fascial system have significantly improved results and decreased complications of trunk/thigh lifts. The enhanced safety of current trunk/thigh lifts has allowed new combinations to treat multiple body contour deformities in a single stage.

Laxity of the entire lower trunk and thigh regions can be treated in one stage in selected patients. The lower body lift combines the transverse flank/thigh/buttock lift and the fascial anchoring medial thigh lift in one operation. In addition to the expected tightening of the flank, buttocks, and total thighs, this procedure results in a surprising degree of epigastric and hypogastric tightening of mild to moderate abdominal laxity without direct surgical undermining or umbilical transposition.

Ten patients having the lower body lift alone or in combination with liposuction and other body contouring procedures were followed for 6 to 24 months. The primary indication for surgery is moderate to severe soft-tissue laxity of the lower trunk and thighs with minimal or mild residual fat deposits. Skin contour irregularities due to skin laxity (cellulite of laxity) or to postliposuction adhesions are frequently present and may be severe. Patients with significant fat deposits may be treated initially with liposuction 3 to 4 months earlier to become candidates for this procedure.

Key technical elements of this procedure include (1) both supine and lateral decubitus positioning with the hip flexed and abducted to allow overcorrection, (2) appropriate direct surgical undermining through superficial fascial system zones of adherence in the superior thigh while avoiding the lymphatics of the femoral triangle, (3) more distal undermining of the thighs with an atraumatic undermining cannula, (4) resection of redundant lower trunk and thigh tissues with incisional closure within high-cut bikini lines, and (5) complete superficial fascial system and dermal suspension throughout the repair.

The lower body lift requires 5 to 6 hours of operating time, 2 units of autologous blood, 2 nights of nursing care, and 3 weeks off work. Although no major complications occurred, minor complications were significantly higher than with the component procedures alone and occurred in 50 percent of patients. Technical changes and improved patient selection have significantly improved the rate of complications in subsequent patients. Results have been consistent, and patient satisfaction has remained high.

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