Belt lipectomy, also known as circumferential abdominoplasty, is an extensive body contouring surgery designed to address excess skin and fat around the abdomen, sides, and lower back. This procedure differs from traditional abdominoplasty by targeting multiple areas in a single surgery. It is sometimes selected by individuals who have undergone significant weight loss or have loose skin due to ageing or pregnancy.
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- Answers to most frequently asked questions.
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What is a Belt Lipectomy?
A belt lipectomy, also known as circumferential abdominoplasty, 360 abdominoplasty or possibly a lower body lift, is a plastic surgery procedure whose aim is to remove loose skin and fat around the waist or “beltline”, the target area for this procedure is the entire lower torso/body.
The procedure is most suitable for persons who have lost a significant amount of weight and have loose skin as a result.
Disclaimer: The outcomes shown are only relevant for these patients and do not necessarily reflect the results other patients may experience, as results may vary due to many factors including the individual’s genetics, diet and exercise.
Am I a good candidate for Belt Lipectomy?
An suitable candidate for a Belt Lipectomy, or circumferential abdominoplasty, is typically someone who has undergone significant weight loss (more than 30kgs), resulting in excess skin and tissue around the abdomen, sides, and lower back. This procedure can also benefit individuals with loose skin due to pregnancy or aging.
Good candidates should be in generally good health, have realistic expectations, and be committed to maintaining a healthy lifestyle post-surgery. If you’re a smoker, you will also need to quit smoking for at least six weeks before the lower body lift and remain smoke-free until healed.
It’s important to have a consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon to determine if Belt Lipectomy is the right choice for your specific needs and goals.
What are the benefits of Belt Lipectomy?
Belt Lipectomy, also known as circumferential abdominoplasty, offers several benefits for individuals who have undergone significant weight loss or have excess skin and tissue around their abdomen, sides, and lower back. Some of the key benefits include:
- Improved Body Contour: Belt Lipectomy removes excess skin and tissue.
- Removal of Excess Fat: In addition to skin removal, the procedure can also involve liposuction to remove stubborn pockets of fat.
- Correction of Abdominal Muscles: Belt Lipectomy can repair separated or weakened abdominal muscles, restoring core strength and stability.
- Reduction of Skin Irritation: Excess skin can lead to skin irritation, rashes, swelling, ulcers and skin infections. Removing this skin can help alleviate these issues and improve overall comfort.
- Enduring Results: While maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important, the results of Belt Lipectomy are generally enduring, providing a more permanent alteration.
- Increased mobility: With excess skin removed, patients may experience increased mobility and ease of movement, which can have an impact on physical activities.
It’s important to note that individual results may vary, and a thorough consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon is necessary to determine if Belt Lipectomy is the right choice based on one’s unique goals and medical history.
Risks and Potential Complications of Belt Lipectomy
All surgery carries risks and potential complications and Belt Lipectomy is no different. Some of these include;
- Anesthesia Risks: Adverse reactions to anesthesia, including allergic reactions, may occur.
- Skin Loss: In rare cases, parts of the skin might not receive enough blood supply and could die, requiring additional surgery.
- Nerve Damage: Nerves may be damaged during surgery, leading to altered sensation or numbness in the treated areas.
- Blood Clots: Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (a blood clot that travels to the lungs) can occur.
- Fluid Accumulation: Seroma (fluid buildup) or hematoma (blood buildup) may require drainage.
- Persistent Swelling: Swelling might persist longer than expected, affecting the final results.
- Anesthesia Complications: Anesthesia-related issues can include allergic reactions, breathing difficulties, or other adverse reactions.
- Deep Scarring: Some individuals might develop hypertrophic or keloid scars, leading to raised or thickened scar tissue.
- Poor Wound Healing
- Changes in Sensation
- Contour Irregularities
- Unsatisfactory Results
Your surgeon will discuss these risks with you during the consultation and take steps to minimise them during the procedure.
For detailed information about the risks and potential complications of belt lipectomy/circumferential abdominoplasty surgery please visit the risks of surgery page.
What can I expect during a Belt Lipectomy Procedure?
The Belt Lipectomy procedure involves a series of surgical steps designed to remove excess skin and tissue from the midsection, addressing the abdomen, sides, and lower back.
The surgical procedure can begin with the patient positioned either on their back or stomach. Typically, the surgeon initiates the process by making an incision across the abdomen, often spanning from one side of the table to the other. After completing the required steps and closing the incision, the patient is then repositioned to make an incision across the back, typically following a similar pattern from one side to the other. The entire procedure typically spans from three and a half to five hours.
Although the exact steps of the surgery will be tailored to the patient, the procedure generally includes the following steps:
Patients will be placed under general Anesthesia for the procedure.
An anesthesiologist plays a critical role in the surgical process, not only administering general anesthesia but also meticulously monitoring the patient’s vital signs throughout the entire procedure. This ensures the patient’s safety and well-being while they are under anesthesia.
The surgeon will create incisions on one side and then replicate the process on the other side. The specific measurements and layout of these incisions can differ according to each patient’s individual needs.
Skin and Tissue Removal
The surgeon carefully lifts the excess skin and tissue from the underlying muscles and the excess skin is removed.
If necessary, the abdominal muscles may be tightened and repaired to improve core strength and stability. This step can address muscle separation that may have occurred due to weight fluctuations or pregnancy.
In some cases, liposuction may be performed to remove stubborn pockets of fat.
After removing excess skin and addressing muscle concerns, the remaining skin is redraped over the abdomen, sides, and lower back.
The surgeon carefully closes the incisions with sutures, aiming to minimise scarring.
In many cases, temporary drains may be placed under the skin to collect any excess fluid or blood that might accumulate during the initial healing period.
Dressing and Compression Garments
Dressings and a compression garment are applied to support the healing process, reduce swelling, and help shape the new form.
The patient is closely monitored as they wake up from anesthesia. This surgery is performed in an inpatient setting. In other words, you will need to spend a few nights in the hospital for monitoring and observation.
Before you leave home, the surgeon will inform you about proper care for a successful recovery and optimal results of body lift.
It’s important to remember that the Belt Lipectomy procedure can be customised to each patient’s specific needs and goals. The surgical plan may vary based on factors such as the extent of excess skin, the patient’s goals, and the patient’s overall health. A consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon is essential to determine the most appropriate approach for an individual’s unique situation.
Recovery after Belt Lipectomy
Belt lipectomy is a procedure that requires a significant recovery period. The duration of recovery will vary among individuals. But, typically, patients require at least two to three weeks before gradually resuming light activities. A full recovery, where you feel completely healed, may take upwards of two months.
Throughout recovery, patients will be required to wear a binder or compression garment around their abdomen and back for approximately six weeks. During the initial post-operative weeks, patients will experience pain, swelling and bruising. Having assistance with day-to-day tasks, especially if you have children, is advisable.
Restricted movement is crucial for proper healing, as is diligent care for the incisions. Avoiding excessive force on the wound is essential, as it can compromise results and delay the healing process. Patients will need to plan for a minimum of two weeks off from work. If your job is physically demanding you will need more time off to recovery.
Follow up appointments
Adhering to follow-up appointments is vital. Typically, the first appointment takes place around 7-10 days post-op for dressing removal and change.
The surgeon will guide you regarding subsequent check-ups, typically scheduled at around six weeks and three months post-op. During these appointments, the surgeon assesses the healing progress and identifies any potential complications.
The scar that results from belt lipectomy is significant. However, it will mature and fade over time. Scar maturation can take over 12 months.
Our plastic surgeons take meticulous care in determining scar placement and employing techniques for minimisation.
After your procedure, we’ll schedule post-operative appointments with our nursing team to ensure your healing progresses smoothly. Subsequently, you’ll have the opportunity to meet with your surgeon, nurse, or dermal team about six to eight weeks later for a dedicated scar consultation and to arrange for scar minimisation treatments.
Our dedicated Coco Ruby dermal team administers a sequence of follow-up scar treatments, which involve a tailored combination of procedures like Skin Needling, Healite II LED therapy, massaging with oils, Fraxel Laser, V-Laser, and the application of Silicone strips & gels, and Steroids, all aimed at minimising the appearance of scars.
Finding the right surgeon for your Belt lipectomy
Dr Briggs preforms the procedure in 1 stage (1 procedure). Whereas, Mr Gary Kode prefers a 2 stage approach. He will do the front first and then back 6 months later. That provides a reduced likelihood of wound break and also allows him to make small revisions from the first surgery if required.
Belt Lipectomy/Circumferential Abdominoplasty Cost
How much is a Belt lipectomy Melbourne?
Each surgery is customised to each patient and may vary depending on several factors, including the specific surgical technique, extent of the procedure, the amount of skin to remove and surgeon’s fees. Additional costs related to anesthesia, hospital facilities, and post-operative care can also influence the overall cost.
To get an accurate estimate of the cost for your particular case, it’s recommended to schedule a consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon who can assess your individual needs and provide you with a personalised quote.
Will Medicare or Private Health cover a Belt Lipectomy or 360 Abdominoplasty?
If you meet the strict criteria, you may be eligible for a Medicare rebate and eligible for Private Health Insurance.
If there are specific medical reasons related to excess skin or tissue that are causing health issues, such as chronic skin irritation or infections, a portion of the procedure might be covered.
It’s important to consult with both your plastic surgeon and your insurance provider to understand the specifics of coverage and whether you might be eligible for any benefits.
Belt Lipectomy FAQs
What is the difference between a belt lipectomy and a Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty?
- A regular abdominoplasty/ Tummy tuck typically only takes care of the front of the abdomen.
- An extended abdominoplasty carries out the incision further to get more tissue around the hips.
- Whereas, a belt lipectomy involves treating the entire beltline i.e. going all the way around the torso.
- It doesn’t limit itself to the abdomen but includes the hips/lateral thighs, back, and buttocks.
- In belt lipectomy, a tummy tuck/abdominoplasty is one component only.
How should I sleep after a lipectomy belt?
- When you go home after the surgery, you will need to sleep with the head of the bed elevated and your knees bent for awhile.
- You can also elevate your head with four to five pillows under the upper body.
- Make sure to continue sleeping with the upper body elevated at a 45-degree angle for at least four weeks post-op.
What is lipectomy surgery?
- Lipectomy is a term that refers to the surgical procedure that removes fat and skin. In the case of belt lipectomy, the surgery removes fat and skin around the waist or belt line.
How long does it take to heal from a body lift?
- It may be six weeks or longer before you are able to return to normal activities.
- However, recovery and healing time may vary from person to person.
How long after belt lipectomy can I stand up straight?
- Some people can stand up straight without feeling pain two weeks after the surgery.
- Always remember the path of recovery is individualised.
Further reading and Medical References on Belt Lipectomy
- Belt Lipectomy – University of Rochester Medical Center
- Belt lipectomy for circumferential truncal excess: the University of Iowa experience – Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
- Body lift – International Society of Anaesthetic Plastic Surgeons
- Belt Lipectomy- Circumferential Abdominoplasty Melbourne