Buttock Lift

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    Procedure Aim and Information

    Outer Thigh/Buttock Lift

    As you grow older your bottom may begin to droop and change shape. There are several different procedures that can be used to improve the buttock shape and appearance. The buttock can be lifted as in a buttock lift, it can be reshaped with liposuction or a combination of these can be used.

    A buttock lift is a surgical procedure to improve the appearance of the buttocks when the skin is excessively loose and sagging or when the upper thigh has excess fullness that bulges out under the buttocks.

    For people who have good skin quality and tone with excess fat around the sides of the buttocks liposuction alone may provide the best results in helping to reshape the buttocks.

    In such cases, the excess fat is removed from the area of concern. Fat removed from one area can be transferred to another area to shape the buttocks.

    A buttock lift is performed when there is a large amount of loose or sagging skin around the buttocks that needs to be removed in order to reshape the buttocks. A buttock lift involves undercutting the skin high up on the side of the thigh and buttocks, removing excess fat and trimming away the excess skin.

    The nature of the buttock lift means long cuts need to be made in the skin and these will leave long scars afterwards. The length of the scar will depend on how much excess skin there is to remove. Typically, the scar will be all across the upper buttock and it may extent to the sides and possibly the front of the torso.

    The surgical scars are strategically placed so that you can wear most bathing suits.

    The buttock lift is often done as a separate procedure or in conjunction with liposuction. Although the operation is often combined with liposuction, it is primarily designed to tighten the skin and deep tissue.

    If there is only a small area of skin excess, especially in the lower buttock area, your surgeon may be able to perform a limited cutting of the skin so that the scars are left in the buttock crease. In this modification, the surgeon is not really lifting the buttock but rather giving a small area a gentle tightening.

    A similar skin and fat removal may be done for sagging inner thighs. Inner thigh surgery may be desired to address skin laxity of the inner upper thighs because, although a buttock lift will result in some lift to the outer thighs, it often has little effect on the inner thighs. Inner thigh lifts can be performed with a buttock lift.

    In some cases when a buttock lift is combined with an abdominoplasty, the surgery is referred to as a body lift. Your choice of treatment will depend on what shape your body is and what your specific goals may be.

    Your first discussion with a surgeon should clearly set out your expectations and whether the operation can give you the results you desire.

    Weight loss

    A buttock lift, however, is not an alternative to losing weight.

    In fact, many surgeons will suggest alternatives to surgery for patients who are more than 15 percent over their ideal body weight.

    Also, if you are considering losing weight, you should wait until after your target weight is met before having a buttock lift.

    Otherwise, you may need extra surgery to remove the excess skin after your diet has been completed.

    The procedure Buttock lifts are performed under a general anaesthetic in a hospital setting to allow an overnight recovery.

    A buttock lift usually takes several hours, depending on the extent of work required, and whether any other procedures such as liposuction, inner thigh lift or abdominoplasty are involved.

    There is only moderate pain that is slow to resolve but is mostly gone by 7-10 days and easily controlled by medications.

    After a buttock lift, dressings will be applied, and temporary drain tubes may be put in to drain excess fluid from the area of surgery. Firm elastic bandages are then applied to support the area.

    A body garment will need to be worn for 3 - 4 weeks after surgery to help provide support and help with the skin re-draping, especially if liposuction was performed.

    Drains are often used and are removed after 24 to 48 hours.

    Sutures may be dissolving ones under the skin or those that require removal at 7 to 10 days.

    Depending on the extent of the procedure, you may be able to go home after a few hours (after liposuction only), or you might have to stay in hospital for 1 or 2 days.

    Make sure that you have someone to take you home and who can look after you for at least a couple of days after your surgery. Bed rest at home is recommended for 2-4 days after your surgery.

    Buttock lift recovery generally takes one to two weeks. Light exercise, such as walking can resume one week after surgery.

    Return to work and light physical activity is usually possible in 1 to 2 weeks. More vigorous physical activity, exercise or contact sports must be deferred for 3 to 6 weeks.

    Alternative Treatment

    A buttock lift is an elective operation and one alternative is not to have any treatment at all. Wearing appropriate clothing may hide the deformity.

    Diet and exercise programs may be of benefit in the overall reduction of excess body fat, but weight loss may make droopy buttocks worse by making the skin looser.

    If the main problem is fullness in the buttock area, liposuction alone may give an adequate result. However if there is a problem of skin excess (droopy buttocks) liposuction is not usually recommended for treatment.

    Liposuction however is useful for treatment of localised fatty deposits in the buttocks.

    Risks and potential complications are associated with alternative forms of treatment that involve surgery.

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    All surgery is associated with some risk.

    It is important that you understand that there are risks involved with any surgery. Whilst the majority of individuals undergoing surgery do not experience any complications, a minority do and there cannot be any guarantees in surgery. With every type of surgery the best possible outcome is sought. The importance of having a highly qualified surgeon and professional surgical team and facility cannot be overestimated.

    Risk to benefit

    The choice to undergo a surgical procedure should be based on the comparison of the risk to the potential benefit to you. Make sure that you take time to read and understand how each potential complication can impact on your life and try to make the risk to benefit comparison specifically for yourself.

    Informed consent process

    Before any surgery, your surgeon should explain to you the risks of the procedure and the possible complications that could happen. The informed surgical consent web site will help you to understand the risks that your surgeon has already discussed. It may also bring up other issues that will require a second surgical consultation to clarify. You should not feel that you are being an inconvenience by seeking another consultation and clarification of any questions that you may have.

    You should take the opportunity to read this informed surgical consent website carefully and at your own pace. The questionnaire at the end will help to clarify your understanding. There is also opportunity to make note of specific concerns and issues that may be relevant to you so that you can discuss these concerns with your surgeon.

    Impact of complications

    The risks of surgery involve possible inconvenience if a complication occurs. It may result in an extension of your recovery period and in some cases may need further surgery. Infrequently, complications may have a permanent effect on your final result.

    Financial risks

    Financial risks are involved with any surgery. Private health insurance is strongly recommended. If you do not have private health insurance then a complication or further surgery will add to the overall cost of your surgery.

    Risks related to general health

    Your general health will impact on the possible risks of surgery. Many of the risks associated with surgery can be predicted. However, your general health plays a vital role to the outcome of your surgery. Age carries a greater risk with any surgery. Being overweight carries a greater surgical risk. Other medical conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart and lung disease may also increase your surgical risk. Smoking greatly increases all risks and complications of surgery.

    What else?

    Finally other factors, that may not be obvious, can influence the outcome of your surgery and the risks are beyond anyone's control.

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    Risks Specific to Outer Thigh and Buttock Lift


    Scars are normally placed on the buttocks so that they can be hidden with swimwear or underwear. Although it is possible to place the scars in a satisfactory position at the time of surgery, gravity and the weight of the tissues of the thigh will affect the final position of the scars.



    The resulting scars after buttock lift surgery vary from person to person. The final appearance of the scar is unpredictable.

    Scars are permanent and depending on the need may go from hip to hip across the buttocks or may be in the lower fold of the buttock.

    Scars worsen in the first 3 to 6 months and take up to 2 years to fade. Scars often stretch or widen and may need surgical revision. Sometimes scars become thick or keloid. These scars will need further treatment.

    Delayed healing

    Delayed healing may occur in the buttock area and is more common in people who have heavy thighs that require liposuction as well.

    Treatment for delayed healing requires frequent dressings and antibiotics.

    The resultant scar is likely to be wide or stretched and may require treatment in 6 months to 12 months with a surgical revision.

    A delay to healing has occurred in one part of this suture line. It was due to extrusion of a buried suture. The treatment has been regular dressings and healing will be spontaneous.

    Major skin necrosis

    Major skin necrosis with outer thigh and buttock lifting is rare. It is usually related to underlying haematoma (collection of blood) infection or excessive liposuction at the time of the lifting. Treatment involves long term wound dressings, antibiotics and debridement. Skin grafting may be required.

    Contour irregularities of the buttock

    Buttock contour can be affected after removal of a significant amount of buttock skin and fat and together with liposuction may lead to some flattening of the contour of the buttocks.

    Some people may not find this attractive.

    Skin contour irregularities and depressions may occur after buttock and outer thigh reduction. Visible and palpable wrinkling of skin can occur.

    Puckering at the end of a surgical wound commonly occurs. If small, skin contour irregularities usually resolve with time.

    Further surgery to correct persistent or larger irregularities may be required.

    Some flattening of the buttock may occur as in this case. The bulge below the scar in the buttock fold can be treated with liposuction.

    Change in skin sensation

    Altered, diminished, or loss (numbness) of skin sensation is common after buttock lift surgery. In most cases normal skin sensation around the buttocks will return after several months. Return of sensation may take up to 2 years.

    Uncommonly numbness or loss of skin sensation will be permanent.


    Symmetrical body appearance may not result from body contouring surgery. Factors such as skin tone, fatty deposits, bony prominences, and muscle tone may contribute to asymmetry of the body and will affect the final result.


    Fluid accumulations (seromas) occur infrequently. The incidence is in the order of 5 in every 100 patient. Should a fluid accumulation occur, repetitive needle drainage and a compression dressing will be required. A fluid collection that is not recognised or not drained may result in formation of a pseudobursa (or enclosed cyst) that will require surgical treatment.

    Inadequate lifting/Long term effects

    Skin and tissue limitations may limit the extent of the buttock reduction.

    Subsequent alterations in body contour may also occur as the result of aging, weight loss or gain, pregnancy, or other circumstances not related to body contouring surgery.

    Additional surgery in some cases may be required.

    Nerve damage

    Damage to nerves that control leg movement and sensation is rare.

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    Risks common to all operations

    Discomfort and pain

    The severity and duration of post-operative pain varies with each individual. Mild to moderate discomfort or pain is normal after any surgery and can be expected after outer thigh/buttock lift surgery. Pain will be worse with mobilisation and walking. If the pain becomes severe and is not relieved by pain medication you may have a complication. In this case you should contact your surgeon.

    Nausea and vomiting

    Nausea and vomiting typically relate to the anaesthetic and usually settles quickly. In some cases persisting nausea and vomiting may relate to pain relieving medication or other medications like antibiotics. Infection may also cause nausea and vomiting. If nausea and vomiting persist you may develop dehydration. You should contact your surgeon if nausea and vomiting persist.

    Swelling and bruising

    Moderate swelling and bruising are normal after any surgery and can be expected after outer thigh/buttock lift surgery. Severe swelling and bruising may indicate bleeding or possible infection. Discolouration from bruising may take several weeks to resolve.

    Swelling and bruising are expected to settle faster by wearing a tight fitting girdle or garment and with application of arnica ointment to the thigh and buttock skin for the first 4 weeks following the operation.

    Intermittent swelling after outer thigh/buttock lift surgery may persist for several months after surgery.

    Bleeding and haematoma

    Bleeding is always possible after any operation. Some bleeding will result in bruising. Continued bleeding may result in continuous ooze from the suture line or may result in a collection of blood under the skin.

    You should notify your surgeon if bleeding after surgery persists.

    Small collections of blood under the skin usually absorb spontaneously. A large collection of blood (haematoma) may produce pressure and complications to healing of the skin.

    Most haematomas occur in the first 24 hours and may require aspiration or surgical drainage in an operating room and a general anaesthetic to drain the accumulated blood.

    The presence of a haematoma, even if evacuated, may predispose to infection and antibiotics are often recommended. Infrequently haemorrhage can happen 7 to10 days following outer thigh/buttock lift surgery. Possible factors for late bleeding include infection, extreme physical exertion, aspirin ingestion or an unrecognised bleeding disorder.

    Aspirin, anti- inflammatory tablets and mega doses of certain vitamins (vitamin E) can influence blood clotting and cause excessive bleeding. It is recommended that you do not take any aspirin, similar drugs like cartia, astrix or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications for ten days before surgery, as this contributes to a greater risk of bleeding, bruising, swelling and infection. A single tablet is enough to increase the risk of bleeding.

    If you take an anticoagulant like heparin or warfarin, you will need to discuss these medications with your surgeon prior to your outer thigh/buttock lift surgery.

    Hypertension (high blood pressure) that is not under good medical control may also cause bleeding during or after surgery.

    Inflammation and infection

    Infection may occur after any surgery.

    Most infections occur within 3 to 5 days after surgery and may cause swelling, redness and tenderness in the skin around the suture lines. A surface infection may only require antibiotic ointment.

    Occasionally an offensive discharge may occur from the suture line. Deeper infections will require treatment with antibiotics. Some deep infections and development of an abscess (collection of pus) will require additional surgery under an anaesthetic to drain the abscess and remove dead tissue in an operating room.

    Infection may cause wound breakdown or skin slough (loss). Both wound breakdown and skin slough will result in delays to healing and possible increase in scarring.

    Additional surgery to deal with wound breakdown and skin slough will be required. Additional surgery may involve skin grafting. More scarring, and further surgery can be expected in the long term.

    Some surgeons will prescribe prophylactic (preventative) antibiotics to be used around the time of outer thigh/buttock lift surgery.

    Crusting along incision line

    Crusting along suture lines should be prevented with frequent and regular washing of your suture lines with antibacterial soap (sapoderm, gamophen) and application of antibiotic ointment or soft white paraffin if required. Careful drying of the suture lines with a clean towel will be required to prevent moisture.


    Small sensory nerves to the skin surface are occasionally disturbed when the incision for outer thigh/buttock lift surgery is made, or interrupted by undermining of the skin during surgery. Numbness of the skin of the thighs and buttocks gradually returns - usually within 3 months as the nerve endings heal spontaneously. Return of sensation may sometimes take up to 2 years and may be permanent.


    Itching and occasional small shooting electrical sensations within the skin frequently occur as the nerve endings heal. Ice, skin moisturisers and massages are frequently helpful. These symptoms are common during the recovery period and may persist for several weeks after surgery.

    Fat necrosis

    Fat necrosis is the formation of dead fatty tissue under the skin. Fat necrosis may prevent wound healing and require surgical correction.

    Unsatisfactory scarring may occur following necrosis.

    Factors associated with increased fat necrosis include infection and smoking.

    Wound separation or delayed healing

    Any surgical wound, during the healing phase may separate or heal unusually slowly for a number of reasons or due to complications. This can occur as a result of inflammation, infection, wound tension, excess external pressure and decreased circulation. Some people may experience slow healing due to unrelated medical problems. Smokers have a greater risk of skin loss and wound healing complications. Wound separation may also occur after suture removal.

    Wound separation will require frequent wound dressings and healing will be delayed. If delayed healing occurs, recovery time will be prolonged, (weeks to months), and the final outcome of surgery may be affected. More scarring can be expected.

    Further surgery may be required to remove any non-healed tissue and to obtain wound closure. Skin grafting may also be required to achieve wound closure.

    Poor scars will result following wound healing problems and additional surgery may be desired 6 to 12 months after the initial surgery to improve scarring.

    Increased risk for smokers

    Smokers have a greater chance of infection, skin slough (loss), underlying fat loss (necrosis), and poor wound healing, because of decreased skin circulation. Bleeding and haematoma formation are more common in smokers than non-smokers.

    Smoking also predisposes to life threatening complications like deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism, pneumonia or massive infection.

    It is strongly recommended that you cease smoking 4 weeks prior to and 4 weeks after your surgery.

    Sensitivity or allergy to dressings and tape

    Skin or localised allergies may occur to topical antiseptic solutions, suture materials, soaps, ointments, tapes or dressings used during or after surgery. Such problems are unusual and are usually mild and easily treated. Please advise your surgeon of any skin irritation, itch, blisters or redness that may develop beneath your dressings. Allergic reactions resolve after removal of the causative agent and may require additional treatment.

    Suture complications

    Suture reaction or local infection may occur when subcutaneous sutures (sutures under the skin) are used. Exposed sutures will require suture removal for local healing to progress. Skin sutures may become buried under the skin during healing and subcutaneous sutures may not dissolve (stitch granuloma). Additional surgery may be necessary to remove buried sutures or granulomas. Suture marks in the skin can occur if skin sutures or staples are used to close your surgical incision.

    Skin scarring

    All surgical incisions produce scarring and although scars are inevitable, some are worse than others, and the quality of the final scars is unpredictable and not entirely under the control of the surgeon. Some areas on the body scar more than other areas, and some people scar more than others.

    Scars may be worse if there is a tendency to keloid scarring, in the younger person or if there has been a delay in healing due to infection or wound breakdown.

    Your own history of scarring should give you some indication of what you can expect. Please ask your surgeon about scar management.

    Red and discoloured scars

    The appearance of your surgical scar will change during the various stages of wound healing. Some scars become more red and somewhat raised and excessive between six weeks and three months.

    After six months scars begin to fade in their colour intensity. Scars on the buttocks may take up to 2 years to get as good as they will get. Scars are permanent. Scars will remain permanently visible to a lesser or greater extent, depending on the outcome.

    A brown discolouration in a scar usually settles with time. White scars are permanent and there is no known satisfactory treatment. Please ask your surgeon about scar management.

    Abnormal scars

    Abnormal scars may occur even though careful surgical techniques are used and uncomplicated wound healing occurs after surgery. Scars may be unattractive because they are raised, thick (hypertrophic or keloid), stretched (wide), depressed, or of a different colour to the surrounding skin. An abnormal scar may have visible suture marks. Abnormal scars may occur both within the skin and the deeper tissues.

    Abnormal scars occur more commonly in some skin types, in the younger patient or if there has been a delay in healing due to infection or wound breakdown. Most scars improve with time but some may require additional treatment.

    Thick scars may respond to taping, placement of silicone sheeting onto the scars, serial injection of steroid into the scars or surgical scar revision. Wide scars may require scar revision surgery to improve their appearance. Surgical scar revision may be disappointing especially in the younger patient.

    Please ask your surgeon about scar management.


    The human body is normally asymmetrical. Despite surgical allowance for correction, the normal variation from one side of the body to the other will be reflected in the results obtained from your outer thigh/buttock lift surgery. Perfect symmetry may not be attainable after outer thigh/buttock lift surgery.

    Injury to deeper structures

    Blood vessels, nerves and muscles may be injured during outer thigh/buttock lift surgery. The incidence of such injuries is rare.

    Post-operative fatigue and depression

    It is normal for people to occasionally experience feelings of depression for a few days after surgery, especially when the early postoperative suture line, swelling and bruising is seen.

    The post-operative emotional low improves with time.

    Physical recovery from any operation and anaesthetic is gradual.

    The undesirable result

    The undesirable result occurs because of limitations of the human tissues and skin. On the other hand you may be disappointed with the results of surgery if they have not met your expectations. Your expectations may leave you dissatisfied with the results of your outer thigh/buttock lift surgery, despite having an adequate surgical result. Additional surgery may or may not improve the results of surgery.

    The unfavourable result

    The unfavourable result may relate to under correction, asymmetry, recurrence of the original problem or scar related problems. Additional surgery may be required to improve your results.

    Need for revisional surgery

    Every surgery has associated risks and complications that you need to be aware of. Should a complication occur, additional surgery or other treatment might become necessary. Revisional procedures are less predictable and involve more risks. You must consider any revisional surgery carefully after discussion with your surgeon.

    The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee or warranty expressed or implied, on the results that may be obtained.

    If revisional surgery is required, you may incur further surgical, anaesthetic, pathology and hospital fees. These fees may be covered if you have private health insurance, depending on your level of cover. These fees will be your responsibility; so careful financial planning is required before you embark on any form of surgery.

    Private Health Insurance is strongly advised for any surgery. Please speak to your surgeon regarding the costs of treating complications.

    Chronic pain

    Following surgery, abnormal scarring in the skin and deeper tissues may trap nerves and produce pain. Uncommonly, persistent or chronic pain that is of an unknown or ambiguous cause may develop.

    This type of chronic pain may be difficult or impossible to correct.

    Long-term effects

    There are many variable conditions that may influence the long-term result of your outer thigh/buttock lift surgery. Subsequent alterations to your body contour may occur as the result of aging, sun exposure, weight gains or weight loss, pregnancy, illness or other circumstances not related to your surgery.

    Additional surgery or other treatments in some cases may be required to maintain or improve the results of your operation.

    Deep Vein Thrombosis

    A deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot occurring in the deep veins of the legs/calves. It causes pain and swelling in the affected leg and is potentially life threatening.

    Treatment for deep vein thrombosis is essential and involves blood-thinning agents. Complications of a deep venous thrombosis include clots spreading from the legs to the lungs or heart and may cause shortness of breath, chest pain or death. If you are undergoing surgery, the risk of deep vein thrombosis relates to the type of surgery and the duration of the procedure.

    Some people are more prone to developing deep venous thrombosis than others. These people may be of advanced age or people who have had a deep vein thrombosis in the past. Varicose veins are a risk factor as are certain medications like hormone replacement therapy and the oral contraceptive pill.

    Smoking increases the risk of forming a deep vein thrombosis as well. Preventive treatment for deep vein thrombosis may be recommended and may consist of compression stockings, early ambulation or blood thinning agents. Your risk of DVT will be automatically calculated by this web site, and shall be presented to you later.

    Anaesthetic related risks

    Anaesthetic complications, although uncommon, do occur and should be discussed thoroughly with your anaesthetist prior to your surgery. Allergic reactions to drugs used in anaesthesia are rare (1 in 10,000).

    Systemic reactions may also occur to drugs used during surgery and prescription medicines.

    Allergic reactions may require additional treatment.

    It is possible to get a sore throat from the tube that is used to administer anaesthesia. You may develop a painful or infected intravenous site.

    Other anaesthetic complications should be discussed with the anaesthetist.

    Life threatening complications

    Life threatening (or fatal, in some circumstances) complications like pulmonary embolism, cardiac arrhythmia, heart attack, stroke or massive infection are rare. These complications will require additional treatment.

    Pulmonary (lung) complications

    Pulmonary complications are uncommon and may occur secondary to either a blood clot starting in the legs (pulmonary embolism), aspiration of stomach secretions or partial collapse of the lungs after general anaesthesia.

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    After Your Operation

    On waking

    You will have dressings and will be wearing a garment.


    You can expect to have some discomfort when you wake up after an outer thigh/buttock lift surgery.

    You will need to remember to move your legs to keep the circulation flowing and to take deep breaths to expand the lungs.

    Care should be taken when moving around in bed and walking.

    T.E.D. stockings

    You will be fitted with TED stockings before your outer thigh/buttock lift surgery and you will wake from surgery with the stockings on. TED stockings help to prevent blood clots from forming in the legs. TED stockings should be worn whilst you are immobile and you may be required to wear the stockings for up to 2 weeks following surgery.


    You will wake up wearing a garment. The garment may be a girdle, or other support garment.

    The garment provides support for the thighs and buttocks and helps to reduce swelling and pain post surgery. The garment should be worn day and night for about 2 weeks after surgery.

    It may be removed to allow you to have a shower.

    Depending on the advice of your surgeon, the garment may have to be worn during the day for 4 to 6 weeks following your operation.

    For continuing support after this time comfortable support underwear may need to still be worn for up to 3 months following surgery.


    A bladder catheter is often used to allow you to rest in bed without the need to get up to go to the toilet. It is usually removed after 1 to 2 days.


    Initially walking will be uncomfortable and should be slow until pain and discomfort resolves.

    Pain relief

    You will need to take painkillers as provided. It is recommended that you avoid aspirin or aspirin based products, as they will promote bruising and bleeding. The usual medications given in the postoperative period consist of panadol, panadeine, panadeine forte, panamax, digesic, and endone. These medications may be combined with anti-inflammatory medications such as vioxx, celebrex, or brufen. Make sure that you have a postoperative pain regime at the time of discharge and that you understand the medications that you are taking and what they are designed to do for you.

    Sleeping tablets

    One or two sleeping tablets (normison, temazepam, ativan) may be taken at night, if necessary, to help with sleeping in the first few days after surgery.

    Other medications

    Your surgeon may prescribe a course of prophylactic (preventative) antibiotics.

    Nausea and vomiting

    Nausea and vomiting may be due to the anaesthetic or post-operative medication (like pain killers or antibiotics).

    Medication to prevent nausea and vomiting may be required. If prolonged, nausea and vomiting may be related to a complication like infection and may cause dehydration. You need to inform your surgeon of prolonged nausea and vomiting.


    Bruising of the body (thighs and buttocks) after outer thigh/buttock lift surgery is usually maximal at approximately 48 hours after surgery.

    Most bruises will resolve by 2 weeks. Gentle massage with a moisturising lotion (sorbolene), or arnica cream may help to dissipate bruising.

    Bleeding or ooze

    There may be ooze of blood from any of the suture lines. Any ooze should resolve within 24 to 48 hours. Persistent or offensive ooze should be reported to your surgeon.


    Swelling can occur for 4 to 6 weeks after outer thigh/buttock lift surgery and sometimes, intermittent swelling may take up to 12 months to settle. Please ask your surgeon how long swelling should take to resolve. Swelling lasting longer than this time may be due to a complication, and should be reported to your surgeon.

    Ice packs

    At home a mouldable cold pack or a small bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel may help to reduce swelling, bruising, and pain.

    Cold packs can be applied to the thighs and buttocks (for 20 minutes every 1 to 2 hours) in the first 48 hours after surgery to help minimise swelling and bruising. The cold packs should not hurt.

    If cold packs are uncomfortable, don't use them as often. After a few days gentle daily massage with a bland moisturising cream after your shower will help to resolve bruising and any lumpiness.


    Dressings following outer thigh/buttock lift surgery may be removed as early as 24 to 48 hours after your surgery. Please ask your surgeon how long the dressings need to stay on. Steri-strips or tapes may be present on the suture line and will need to be changed regularly. Check with your surgeon if you are able to shower.


    Sutures may be beneath the skin and will absorb with time. The aim of absorbable sutures beneath the skin is to provide wound support for a longer time than skin sutures, so that scar stretch can be minimised.

    Occasionally the body will want to extrude these sutures. A sore or a pimple on the suture line may indicate an underlying suture trying to break through the skin. This suture can be removed as soon as it breaks through the skin. Antibiotic ointment or betadeine may be required along with a small dressing until the area heals. Infrequently a lump forms related to a suture that has not dissolved (a stitch granuloma). This stitch granuloma may need to be excised as a local anaesthetic procedure.

    Sutures or staples may be present in the skin. These sutures or staples will require removal at some stage after your surgery. The normal time frame is anywhere between 7 days to 14 days depending on the surgery and the location on the thighs and buttocks. Suture removal is usually arranged with the surgeon.

    Some surgeons place Steri-strips over the suture line. Steri-strips are meant to stay intact and are usually removed one week after surgery.

    You may be able to shower.

    Blistering from Steri-strips may occur. If this happens the Steri-strips will be removed and an alternative dressing will be applied.


    Having a shower and getting your sutures wet may be permitted by your surgeon after the dressings have been removed. An antibacterial soap (sapoderm, gamophen) may be recommended.

    You will need to pay attention to washing the suture line . Suture lines should be carefully dried with a clean towel. If your suture line has steri-strips or tape, wash over the tape and dry it.

    Occasionally the suture line may become red and ooze. If this occurs tapes are usually removed and antibiotic ointment or betadeine may be required. Your surgeon may prescribe antibiotics as well.

    Some surgeons will prefer you to keep your sutures dry. Please check with your surgeon and ensure you follow your surgeon's instructions about wound care.


    Outer thigh/buttock lift surgery is performed under general anaesthesia and can be performed as day surgery.

    If you are going home after day surgery a family member or friend must drive you because you have had an anaesthetic and someone should stay overnight with you for the same reason. You may need help from a relative or friend at home during the first few days after your outer thigh/buttock lift surgery.

    If you have any questions about these matters, please speak to your surgeon.

    Anaesthetic effects

    The effects of an anaesthetic may still be present 24 hours after your procedure, even if you do not feel them. Your reflexes will be slower and you are at risk of injury.

    It is illegal to drive while under the influence of a drug (even a prescribed one) and you could be charged.

    Do not make important decisions or sign legal documents for 24 hours after an anaesthetic. Take care with alcohol intake after surgery because medications and alcohol may interact with the residual anaesthetic. Discuss your normal medications with the anaesthetist.

    Readmission to hospital

    Rarely you may need to be re-admitted unexpectedly to hospital. The most common cause is persistent nausea and vomiting, anxiety, the need for unexpected additional pain relief or for treatment of unexpected complications of surgery such as bleeding, wound problems or infection.


    Too much activity too soon will risk delays in healing or increase the risk of complications. Try to walk slowly and avoid any straining or rushing around.

    You may go to the bathroom, walk around the house sit and watch TV, etc., but no matter how good you feel do not clean the house, engage in heavy manual work, go to the gym etc. for 4 weeks following your surgery. This also applies to sexual activity.


    Slow walking on the flat for exercise is often therapeutic in the early post-operative period. Your body will dictate whether you are able to safely recommence your exercise program. More strenuous exercise like fast walking, running or swimming may commence after 4 to 6 weeks.

    More strenuous exercise like tennis or contact sports can commence after 6 to 8 weeks. As a general rule: if it hurts, don't do it. Please ask your surgeon when you can start exercising.

    Localised sore areas are not uncommon after outer thigh/buttock lift surgery. Massage may help relive local areas of soreness.

    Sun exposure

    If fresh scars are exposed to the sun, they will tend to become darker and take longer to fade. Sunscreen on sun-exposed scars can help to fade scars.

    Take extra care and precautions if you are planning to tan, as some areas of your body may be temporarily numb after surgery and you will not "feel" a sunburn developing.


    Your post-operative diet should consist of fluids initially then soft food that is easy to prepare. If you have any postoperative nausea, carbonated sodas and dry crackers may settle the stomach. Small frequent meals will be more suitable and comfortable.


    Although not proven, there is some suggestion that multivitamins prior to and after surgery may aid in wound healing.

    Avoid mega dosing on vitamins prior to surgery.


    Smoking reduces capillary blood flow to the skin and may result in delays to wound healing or complications of your outer thigh/buttock lift surgery. Smoking not only affects wound healing; it also increases the risk of bleeding, wound infections, post-operative chest infections. Smoking also increases the risk of developing a blood clot in the legs that can travel to the lungs. It is recommended that you cease smoking at least 4 weeks prior to your surgery and for 4 weeks after.


    Medications and alcohol may interact with the residual anaesthetic and prescription pain medicine.

    Alcohol also dilates blood vessels and may increase the risk of postoperative bleeding.

    It is recommended that you avoid alcohol for the first three days after surgery and restrict your alcohol intake for the first month.


    It is recommended that you do not drive for a certain period of time after outer thigh/buttock lift surgery. To be able to drive safely you must have full use of your reflexes to drive, and any post-operative discomfort will inhibit your reflexes.

    If pain will inhibit them, don't drive.

    You may resume driving when you feel you are able, but it is advisable to discuss this with your surgeon or check with the road traffic authority first.

    Recovery time

    You must allow yourself adequate recovery time. You will have restriction to mobility for up to 2 weeks. Too much activity too soon will increase the risk of complications such as bleeding, infection and delayed healing. It would be wise to ensure you have adequate time off work. You must also allow sufficient time for your body to recover from the effects of anaesthesia and surgery. Discuss the expected time for recovery with your surgeon prior to your surgery and allow plenty of time for adequate recovery.


    Everyone heals at a different rate. The ability to heal is variable and depends upon a number of factors such as your genetic background, your weight, your overall state of health and lifestyle (exercise, diet, smoking, drinking, etc.). Your attention to preparing yourself for surgery will be manifest in your post-operative recovery. Many people believe the surgeon "heals" the patient. Not one person can make another heal. Your cooperation and close attention to pre and post-operative instructions is extremely important and is in your best interest.

    Following instructions

    A major factor in the course of healing is whether you follow the instructions given by your surgeon and the nurses in the surgery. Such guidelines are designed to promote the healing process and to prevent the occurrence of anything that may interfere with your recovery. It is imperative that you recognise that you are a partner in this process and have a responsibility to follow instructions carefully. The instructions, based on broad experience, are designed to give you the best opportunity for healing without delay or surprise.


    Depression is a normal reaction to surgery. The third day following your surgery may be the worst. You may be teary. It is not uncommon to experience a brief period of "let-down" or depression after any surgery.

    You may subconsciously have expected to look and feel better "instantly," even though you rationally understood that this would not be the case. Day 3 post surgery may be the worst. As healing occurs, these thoughts usually disappear quickly.

    If you feel depressed, understanding that this is a "natural" phase of the healing process may help you to cope with this emotional state.

    Support from family and friends

    Support from family and friends can be very helpful, but because they may not understand what constitutes a normal postoperative course, their comments may unintentionally create emotional turmoil for you.

    The staff at the surgery and your surgeon will tell you honestly how you are doing and what to expect.

    Please trust in your surgeon's knowledge and experience when your progress is discussed with you.


    Complications are infrequent. When complications occur, it is seldom a consequence of poor surgery or poor postoperative care. Complications are more likely to be a result of the variable healing capacity or a failure to follow post-operative instructions. You will be assisted in every way possible if a complication occurs.

    Should the unexpected occur, please understand that it is important to follow the advice of your surgeon and nursing staff in order to treat it as effectively as possible. Your surgeon and the nursing staff will ensure that you have support and assistance during this difficult time.


    It is very important that you follow the schedule of appointments established for you after surgery. Appointments to see the nurse or the surgeon should be made before or immediately after discharge from hospital. The review appointment may be the next day or up to one week following surgery.

    If no appointment has been made, you must ensure that you contact your surgeon and make a follow up appointment. If you have any concerns don't feel that you are bothering the surgeon or the staff.

    If need be, you can be seen prior to any arranged review appointment to sort out any concerns.

    Revisional Surgery

    Occasionally the result of your surgery may not be totally perfect. If you feel that you can focus on the overall degree of improvement instead of any small lack of perfection, then you will reap the benefits of the results of your operation. If small imperfections will prevent you focusing on the degree of improvement after your surgery you probably should not have had an operation.

    Your surgeon will use their expertise and experience in their surgical techniques to achieve the best results and ensure their patients receive the most advanced surgical techniques available. They keep updated by attending, national and international aesthetic conferences and seminars regularly.

    The surgery performed may not necessarily relate to the methods that are sometimes promoted, or advertised in popular magazines, newspaper articles or on television.

    The rate of revisional surgery, even in the most skilled surgical hands, can never be zero because patient and surgeon can control only some aspects of the outcome.

    Minor adjustments or additional revisions following cosmetic surgery may be necessary in up to 5% of patients. Revisional surgery is performed after the first postoperative year (12 months after surgery) because resolution of swelling and stabilisation of the final appearance takes at least that long.

    During the first year after surgery irregularities, asymmetries or poor contours may sufficiently improve without surgery, so very small imperfections following surgery should not be revised.

    Revisional procedures are less predictable and involve more risks. You must consider any revisional surgery carefully after discussion with your surgeon.

    If revisional surgery is required you may incur further surgical, anaesthetic, pathology and hospital fees. These fees may be covered if you have private health insurance, depending on your level of cover. These fees will be your responsibility and you will need careful financial planning you before you embark on any form of cosmetic surgery. Private Health Insurance is strongly advised for any cosmetic surgery.

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