Definition and Overview

A buttock lipectomy, also known as a buttock lift, is a cosmetic procedure that aims to give the buttocks a more youthful and tighter appearance. It involves removing the excess skin, tissue, and fatty layers and then lifting the remaining skin and tissue to achieve the desired results.

A buttock lift is typically performed in conjunction with other cosmetic surgical procedures, such as belt lipectomy or a lower body lift, for an overall tighter and more toned appearance.

While loose, sagging skin on the buttocks and upper thigh area is not detrimental to the patient's physical health, restoring a youthful shape and appearance can do wonders for the patient's body image and self-esteem. A buttock lift is a purely cosmetic procedure and should only be performed by a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon in a well-equipped hospital or clinic.

Who should undergo and expected results

Anybody who dreams of having a youthful, tighter buttocks can take advantage of this procedure. However, it is particularly beneficial to:

  • Older patients whose skin tissues have lost elasticity
  • Patients who have lost a lot of weight due to a healthier diet and exercise, or through surgical procedures such as bariatric surgery— especially if the skin and tissues in their buttocks and upper thighs have significantly loosened following a significant weight loss.
  • Individuals who have recently undergone a liposuction in the abdomen or lower body to achieve an overall tighter and more toned appearance


On the other hand, the procedure is not for:

  • Individuals with severe chronic condition, such as diabetes or heart disease as such conditions can interfere with the recovery process
  • Patients who are planning a healthier regimen to lose a significant amount of weight or are planning to undergo bariatric surgery or a liposuction procedure. Buttock lipectomy is an ideal post-weight loss operation.
  • Patients who have a body mass index (BMI) over 32 (obese), are smokers or have an unstable mental health condition


As for the expected results, patients can look forward to achieving tighter and more toned buttocks and upper thighs. However, it is important to note that this procedure does not improve the quality of the skin in the buttock area or restores skin elasticity.

How the procedure works

Before the procedure is performed, the patient will have to undergo an initial consultation with a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon, who will perform a physical exam to determine the best course of action, and whether the patient is an ideal candidate for a buttock lift.

Individuals who qualify for the procedure will be advised to stop smoking and avoid taking certain medication (such as aspirin, herbal supplements, and anti-inflammatory drugs, among others) that can interfere with the healing process and increase the risk of bleeding. They are also advised to maintain a stable weight at least three months before the procedure, and take medications such as anticoagulants to prevent complications during surgery.

A buttock lipectomy procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis, and the patient can opt for general or local anesthesia.

During the procedure, the plastic surgeon will make an incision on the patient's lower back, from one hip to the other. The doctor will then pull up the excess skin right below the incision to lift up the buttocks. Excess skin will be cut away while excess fat can be suctioned out with liposuction equipment.

The procedure generally takes two to three hours.

Possible risks and complications

Buttock lipectomy is linked to several risks and possible complications, such as:

  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia used
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Bruising, but this eventually resolves on its own a couple of weeks after the procedure
  • Tenderness in the affected area
  • Infection
  • Scarring, especially if the patient is older
  • Poor or slow wound healing. The incision lines might also separate.
  • Loss of sensation in the skin due to the repositioning of tissues and skin. Many patients feel numbness in the buttock area that lasts for several months.
  • Seroma, or the accumulation of fluid beneath the skin. In such case, the surgeon will place drainage tubes in the buttock area to reduce the risk of fluid build-up.

    References:

  • Kitzinger HB, et al. Prospective study on complications following a lower body lift after massive weight loss. Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery. 2013;66:231.

  • What is a body lift? American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/body-lift.html. Accessed June 5, 2013.

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