Body lifts are almost exclusively done in the bariatric surgery patient who has undergone massive weight loss. (> 100 lbs) A body lift is a combined frontal tummy tuck and a posterior buttock lift with a resultant 360 degree (circumferential) scar. While good care after a body lift is not hard, the need for management of several drains can be challenging.
1. Body lifts usually have only a moderate amount of postoperative discomfort as
only skin and fat have been removed and no muscle work has been done. In addition
to taking your pain medication, keeping yourself in a partially flexed position (knees
slightly bent toward your chest) when resting in either a chair or bed is very helpful
during the first week after surgery.
2. You will have as many as four (4) drains coming out of the pubic and back area after
surgery. They will be removed when the drainage is sufficiently low. As most drains
don’t come out before 10 to 14 days after surgery, it is not important to start
recording their output until after the tenth (10th) postoperative day.
3. Get up and walk periodically even in the first few days after surgery. This will help
you breathe deeper and ultimately feel better. Judge your activity level on how you
are feeling. You will tire more easily than expected, even up to one month after
4. You may shower on the 2ndd day after surgery. Do not submerge your incision in a bath
tub or hot tub/jacuzzi until 1 month after surgery. By this time, your drains will have
been removed and the incision healed adequately to prevent internal contamination.
5. Tapes are usually placed across the abdominal and back incisions. They should be
left in place and do not require any care. They will be removed within the
first two weeks after surgery.
6. You are to continue wearing your circumferential binder for 2 weeks or more after surgery.
As these binders have a tendency to ride up, it is important to keep them repositioned
low over the hips so some pressure can be maintained over the incision site.
7. Numbness of the abdominal and back skin is to be expected and complete return of
feeling may take up to 6 months after surgery. During this period, exposure to heat
(e.g., hot tubs, heating pads) should be done with this consideration in mind to avoid
potential burn injuries.
8. Avoid exercise and heavy lifting for 6 weeks after surgery. Abdominal stress and
abdominal specific exercises can be resumed 8 weeks after surgery.
9. You may drive when you feel comfortable and can react normally and are off pain
medication. Driving is all about whether you are safe to yourself and others on the road.
10. It is not rare to have some small openings along your extensive incision line which
develops several weeks after surgery. This is either sutures which are coming to the surface
or small areas that have slightly separated due to tension and movement on the wound.
Simply keep them covered with antibiotic ointment and a dressing and they will go on to
heal on their own. It is ok to get them wet in the shower.
Dr. Barry Eppley