Dramatic weight loss, ageing, and weight fluctuation can all result in excess skin and fat around the waistline. A belt lipectomy removes hanging skin and fat around the waist to improve the contours of the body and tighten the area.
What is a Belt Lipectomy?
A belt lipectomy is also known as a lower body lift. The operation removes excess abdominal back and flank skin and fat from around the waistline. It’s common to have this surgery after significant weight loss. It’s often performed after weight loss surgery.
The procedure is for individuals who have a lot of excess skin rather than excess fat. Ideally, you need to be as close to your goal weight as possible before belt lipectomy surgery. If you have recently been through a dramatic weight loss either from bariatric surgery or dieting, you may find that you have a lot of excess skin left over. Overhanging skin can be uncomfortable and make you feel self-conscious about your lower body.
Belt Lipectomy: Quick Overview
What’s Involved in Belt Lipectomy Surgery?
The lower body lift consists of a tummy tuck that extends to remove the skin around the back and hips.
A belt lipectomy includes a component of a tummy tuck; it’s considered an extensive tummy tuck. The procedure requires major surgery and takes 3-5 hours to perform. You start the operation lying face down. Your surgeon will make an incision above the buttocks to remove excess skin and fat and sew up the incision. Next, you’re rotated to your back, and an incision is made from hip to hip. A similar process happens where your surgeon will remove excess skin and then sew up the incision.
Usually, the stomach muscles are tightened during the procedure to create a firmer abdomen and improve the contours of the body. All incisions will then be closed with dissolvable stitches. Your surgeon may apply drains if necessary to drain out excess fluid from the treatment area.
What are the Benefits of Belt Lipectomy Surgery?
One of the main benefits is that the surgery removes excess skin and fat from the waistline. This means that you can finally see the results of significant weight loss. By seeing an improvement in your body, it can help boost self-esteem, especially if you worry about excess skin and the way it looks. If excess skin causes you painful chafing, a belt lipectomy would get rid of this and stop chafing.
How Long Does it Take to Recover from Belt Lipectomy Surgery?
After your surgery, you will feel some pain, discomfort, bruising and swelling. You will need to wear a compression garment to reduce swelling and ease the healing process. Avoid bending at the waist for at least a month while you’re body is recovering.
Generally, patients need to take 2 weeks off work to recover. If you have a strenuous job, you will need to take more time off. You will need to have some help in place around the house. For the first 2 weeks, you won’t really feel like yourself. It’s important that you don’t lift anything for 4 to 6 weeks, including children. If your surgeon has placed drains on the area, you will need to remove fluid buildup. Your surgeon will show you how to do this properly.
You can resume exercise after about 6 to 8 weeks. All these guidelines are general. Your recovery timeline will be based on your progress throughout your check-up appointments.
What Should You Expect at Your Consultation?
During your consultation, you need to have an open and honest conversation so that your surgeon can determine if you are suitable for the procedure. Your surgeon will ask you questions about your health, expectations, and lifestyle. You will talk about the procedure, the techniques, and any risks associated with the surgery.
How to Prepare for a Belt Lipectomy?
The most important factor in preparing your procedure is your health. The surgery requires a general anaestheticic, so you should stop smoking at least 6 weeks before the procedure. If you are unwell prior to your procedure, you will need to postpone your surgery.
Who is a Suitable Candidate for a Belt Lipectomy?
If you have lost a large amount of weight and have excess skin around the abdomen, hips, and lower back, you may be suitable for a belt lipectomy. You should be at a normal and stable weight with excess skin. Your surgeon will determine if you are at your final weight plateau before going ahead with the surgery.
Who is Not Suitable for Belt Lipectomy Surgery?
Anyone who has significant medical problems or won’t quit smoking isn’t suitable for the procedure. If you have a lot of excess fat rather than excess skin, this procedure may not be the best solution for you.
What are the Scars Like Following the Surgery?
There is likely to be a scar on your stomach. Your aftercare and lifestyle habits will determine the extent of your healing. Although some scarring is unavoidable, your surgeon will attempt to hide scarring in areas that are well-hidden. Some scarring can take up to 2 years to fully fade after the initial recovery period.
What is the Difference Between a Belt Lipectomy and Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck helps patients to achieve a slender, more toned abdomen. It removes unwanted skin and excess fat before tightening the deeper abdomen muscles. Whereas a belt lipectomy includes a tummy tuck in the wider procedure that also includes procedures to the thighs, belly, and buttocks.
Can You Combine a Belt Lipectomy With Other Procedures?
A belt lipectomy can be performed alongside other procedures, including liposuction, breast lift, arm lift, or facelift.
What to Expect After Your Procedure?
After your procedure, you should expect to feel sore with limited mobility. You will feel restricted by your bandages in the first week, especially when showering. Most patients find that it takes a couple of weeks to return to normal light activities. You will likely spend the majority of your recovery lying down with small increments of walking.
When Will You See the Final Result?
The majority of the swelling should subside in approximately 4-6 weeks. You may not see the final result until 1 to 2 years following the procedure. Provided that you don’t regain the weight, the results from your procedure should be permanent.
When Can You Drive?
You shouldn’t drive for at least 4 weeks after your surgery. Your surgeon will need to give you the all-clear before driving again.
What are the Potential Complications and Risks of a Belt Lipectomy?
Potential complications and risks of this type of surgery include:
- Anaesthesia risks
- Skin and or fat/necrosis
- Fluid accumulation
- Poor wound healing
- Poor scarring
- Nerve injury
- Contour irregularity
- Over/under correction
- Damage to other structures
- Chest infection
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