Arms, Thigh, and Buttock Lifts

If you're considering plastic surgery to "lift" your arms, thighs, or buttocks, this article will tell you what the procedures involve and what the risks and benefits are.

Each procedure involves surgery to remove excess skin and reshape the area, leaving only an inconspicuous scar. Each procedure is major surgery requiring extensive recovery. But the results typically are dramatic. Though the results are permanent, you'll still need a healthy diet and exercise to maintain them. In some cases, a touch-up procedure may be needed.

The Upper Arm Lift

For an arm lift, a plastic surgeon makes a cut under the inner arm -- from elbow to armpit -- where a scar is less likely to be noticeable later. Then, the surgeon removes excess skin and fat. This procedure takes two to four hours and is done on an outpatient basis, meaning no overnight stay. .

For the first 10 to 14 days after an arm lift, your arms will be quite swollen. You will need to wear supportive wraps for up to six weeks while the swelling improves. The surgical site can take up to one year to fully heal.

Are There Any Side Effects or Complications of an Arm Lift?

There will be some temporary bruising, swelling, and numbness, but this usually disappears in time. The large arm scars will fade over time with the help of scar creams, massage, and silicone tape, but they will never completely go away. For some people, the scars can be noticeable.

In rare cases, bleeding, infection, fluid build-up, permanent numbness of the inner arm, and asymmetry of the arms can occur.

The Thigh Lift

During a thigh lift, a surgeon makes a cut on the upper and inner thigh and removes excess fat and skin. The surgeon also often does liposuction before, during, or after the procedure. People usually get a thigh lift on an outpatient basis, meaning they don't need to stay overnight. But ask your doctor ahead of time. Some doctors prefer their patients to stay in the hospital overnight. The surgery takes up to four hours.

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Are There Any Side Effects or Complications of a Thigh Lift?

You will have bruising, swelling, and numbness after surgery. That usually disappears within several weeks to months. In rare cases, infection, bleeding, fluid build-up, and open wounds can occur.

Most people are getting back to their activities in about two to three weeks and are back to full activity in four to six weeks. The area will take one year to fully heal. Time and scar-healing products may help the scar fade.

Buttock Lift (Gluteal Lift)

During the procedure, the surgeon makes cuts underneath the buttock area, where the surgical scar won't be noticeable. Then, the surgeon removes excess skin and fat. To improve the buttocks' overall look, the surgeon may also do liposuction. All this is typically done as an outpatient procedure, meaning no overnight stay.

After surgery, the main obstacle to healing and recovery is not being able to sit. But gradually, as the surgical cuts heal, you can get back to normal activity, including sitting down.

Are There Any Side Effects or Complications of a Buttock Lift?

As stated above with the other procedures, there is a high likelihood of bruising, swelling, tenderness and numbness, that usually resolves within several weeks to months. More serious, and more rare complications include infection, open wounds, persistent numbness, persistent swelling and uneven skin contours.

Most people can resume normal activity in a few days to a few weeks. Compressive garments are worn for four to six weeks, and difficulty with sitting may be problematic for several weeks.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on July 27, 2016

Sources

SOURCES:

Christopher K. Livingston, MD, assistant professor of plastic surgery, University of Texas, Houston.

WebMD Medical Reference from "The Plastic Surgery Sourcebook."

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