Dr. Steven Fagien & Dr. Elbert Vaca

Lower body lift / Circumferential Tummy Tuck


An abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, is a commonly performed surgical procedure that removes excess skin and tightens the underlying muscles of the abdomen. Abdominoplasty is often combined with liposuction to improve the contour or silhouette of the flank and hip area. If there is significant loose skin that extends around the abdomen, flanks, and lower back, the incision can be extended circumferentially. This helps lift the thighs and buttocks in addition to removing loose skin from the lower back. A lower body lift, or circumferential tummy tuck, is ideal for patients who have lost significant weight with excess skin that extends around the lower body.

It is important to note that while skin and excess fat are typically removed, a lower body lift is NOT weight loss surgery. Ideal candidates for a circumferential tummy tuck should be of a stable and healthy weight to minimize the risk of complications and to maximize the potential aesthetic result.

Am I a good candidate for lower body lift?

Ideal candidates are nonsmokers in good health with realistic expectations. If you have a history of weight loss surgery (i.e. gastric bypass), it is especially important to make sure you have no vitamin, mineral or protein deficiencies to minimize the risk of healing problems after surgery.

How is the surgery performed?

A lower body lift is performed under general anesthesia. An incision is typically made low on the abdomen below the waistline and extended posteriorly just above the buttock.

How long does the procedure take?

A lower body lift takes approximately 5 – 6 hours.

What are the risks of a lower body lift?

All surgical procedures carry a degree of uncertainty and risk. Thankfully, the risk of a major complication is rare.

The principle risk after a lower body lift is scarring. Poor healing can occur – this is more common in smokers. Unfavorable scarring is more common in patients who experience poor healing. Infection and bleeding are rare but can occur.

After surgery, there will be a change in sensation in the lower abdomen. Sensation recovers over time in most patients; however, loss or decreased sensation can be permanent in some areas. Occasionally, fluid can accumulate beneath the skin that may need to be drained.

If you have an umbilical hernia, there is an increased risk of poor healing and loss of a portion of your navel. Though rare, the most concerning risk after a lower body lift is the formation of a blood clot in your legs (DVT) that can travel to your lungs, otherwise known as a pulmonary embolism (PE), which would require blood thinning medication and other potential treatments. The best way to decrease the risk of a blood clot is to be of a healthy weight prior to surgery and to walk and remain mobile after surgery.

Meet Dr. Vaca

Dr. Vaca

Dr. Elbert E. Vaca is a Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon who completed his medical training at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
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Meet Dr. Fagien

Dr. Fagien

Dr. Steven Fagien is one of the foremost oculoplastic surgeons in the United States and the world. He completed his medical training at the University of Florida and a fellowship in oculoplastic surgery at the University of Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary.
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