Preparing for Your Body Lift
What to do before your body lift surgery
Two weeks before surgery
Review your medications and herbal and dietary supplements with your physician. The following may increase the risk of post-operative bleeding: aspirin, ibuprofen, glucosamine chondroitin, flax seed, vitamin E, fish oil, Echinacea, Gingko biloba, CoQ10, green tea, chia seeds, primrose oil, and garlic.
One week before surgery
Fill any prescriptions, and purchase necessary ointments and compression garments. Arrange transportation to and from the surgical facility. Prepare foods that are easily reheated for the first few days after your procedure. You will need 20 percent more protein after surgery, to speed your recovery. Stay hydrated, avoid excessive sun exposure and alcoholic beverages. Get a good night’s sleep before your procedure.
Day of surgery
Arrive ten minutes prior to your appointment time to avoid traffic and parking issues. Bring compression garments and any medications.
What to do after your body lift surgery
You must follow the instructions provided by your doctor in order to heal properly and have a good outcome. Use these instructions as a checklist of progress as you heal. Included are normal post-surgical experiences and key health considerations that may be a cause of concern.
Day of surgery
Whether you are released after surgery or after an overnight stay in a recovery center or hospital, you will be released only to the care of a responsible adult. All of these instructions must be clear to the adult who will monitor your health and support you, around the clock during the first 24 hours following surgery.
- Do not stand fully upright: If your body lift included the abdomen, you must not stand fully upright. Standing upright could greatly affect your results and could cause serious injury. A walker or crutches may be used if you require assistance.
- Rest, but not bed rest. While rest is important in the early stages of healing, equally important is that you are ambulatory, meaning that you are walking under your own strength. Spend ten minutes every two hours engaged in light walking indoors as you recover.
- Recline, do not lie down. This will be more comfortable for you, and can reduce swelling. No sitting for ten days.
- Good nutrition. Fluids are critical. You must consume at least eight ounces of fluid every two hours. Stick to non-carbonated, non-alcoholic, caffeine-free and green tea-free beverages including fruit juices and water, milk and yogurt drinks. Stick with soft, bland, nutritious food for the first 24 hours.
- Take all medication, exactly as prescribed. If you have a pain pump, follow the instructions specifically for your pain pump. Pain medication, antibiotics and other medications must be taken, as directed.
- Change your incision dressings. Your incisions will seep fluid and some blood for a short time after surgery. Keep dressings clean and dry. A cotton swab with peroxide is appropriate for cleansing incisions. Do not remove any steri-strips over your stitches. Apply Aquaphor® ointment over the incisions, and then wrap the arm lightly with 4x4 gauze or sanitary pad.
- Replace any compressions wraps over the gauze/pad. If you have a drain placed in your incisions, carefully follow the instructions for drain care and record drained fluid on the Drain Care Instructions and Log.
- Wear your compression or elastic wraps around the clock. Follow the instructions specifically removing any compression wraps only to cleanse your incision or to empty any drains.
- Apply cool, not cold compresses to the treated region to alleviate any discomfort and to reduce swelling, for no longer than 20-minute intervals. Crushed ice or ice packs must be wrapped in a towel and never applied directly to the skin.
- Do not smoke.
- Relax. Do not engage in any stressful activities. Do not lift your hands over your head. Do not lift anything heavier than a paperback book. Take care of no one but yourself, and let others tend to you.
Typical symptoms you may experience following surgery
You may experience normal symptoms that resolve over time, including:
- tightness and stiffness in the abdomen, buttocks, hips and thighs
- bruising, swelling and redness
- tingling, burning, or intermittent shooting pain
- skin firmness, hypersensitivity, or lack of sensitivity
- shiny skin due to swelling
- itchy sensation as skin heals
- asymmetry, as both sides of your body heal differently
Call the office immediately if you experience any of the following:
- a high fever (over 101 degrees Fahrenheit), severe nausea and vomiting, continued dizziness or incoherent behavior, such as hallucinations
- consistent, sharp pain, or pain that cannot be controlled by your pain medication
- bright red skin that is hot to the touch
- excessive bleeding or fluid seeping through the incisions
- a severely misshapen region anywhere on your lower body or bruising that is localized to one specific point of the lower body
Two to seven days following surgery
You will see progress as each day passes. Ease into your daily activities. You will receive clearance to begin driving or return to work at your post-operative visit, usually within five days.
- Continue to cleanse wounds as directed. Do not take a bath. Take a warm (not hot) shower limited to ten minutes. Wash incisions with soap and water. Do not rub your incisions. Apply a fragrance-free moisturizer to the arm and surrounding skin, but not directly on your incisions.
- Take antibiotic medications and supplements as directed. Take pain medication and muscle relaxants only as needed. You may switch from prescriptive pain medication to acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
- Continue to wear your elastic wraps or compression garments around the clock.
- If your body lift included the abdomen, ease into an upright position. You may slowly begin to stand taller each day as the tummy region continues to heal.
- Begin scheduled lymphatic drainage and massage therapy. This can help soften any firmness or contour irregularities.
- Do not resume any exercise other than regular walking. Walking is essential every day to prevent the formation of blood clots.
- No sun exposure. If you go outdoors, wear long sleeves and avoid any direct sun exposure.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Do not smoke. Do not consume alcohol.
One to four weeks following surgery
As you resume your normal daily activities, you must continue proper care and healing.
- Continue your wound care as directed.
- Refrain from weight-bearing exercise. Continue walking. A daily, brisk 20-minute walk is recommended.
- Do not smoke.
- Continue to wear your elastic wrap or compression garment as directed.
- Continue to attend massage therapy as scheduled.
- Practice good sun protection. Do not expose skin in the treatment area to direct sunlight. If you are outdoors, apply an SPF 30 or higher to the skin at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure and wear protective clothing. The skin in the treatment area is highly susceptible to sunburn or the formation or irregular, darkened pigmentation.
Six weeks following surgery
- Healing will progress and your lower body will settle into a more final shape and position.
- You may ease into your regular fitness routine. However, realize that your body may require some time to return to previous strength.
- Discomfort or tightness and tingling of the skin will resolve.
- No need to resume smoking. You have now gone ten weeks (including four weeks prior to surgery) without a cigarette. For your long-term health, there is no need to resume smoking.
Your first year
- Continue healthy nutrition, fitness and sun protection.
- Your scars will continue to refine. If they become raised, red or thickened, or appear to widen, contact our office. Early intervention is important to achieve well-healed scars. Scars are generally refined to fine incision lines one year after surgery.
- A one-year post surgery follow-up is recommended. However, you may call our office at any time with your concerns or for needed follow-up.
Remember: Your body will change as you continue to age. Although the outcomes of lower body lift are generally permanent, any significant weight gain or loss, as well as the normal influences of aging can cause changes to your appearance. You may wish to undergo revision surgery at a later date to help maintain your appearance throughout your lifetime. Contact our office with any questions or concerns, at any time.