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Circumferential Body Lift

Circumferential Body Lift, or Belt Lipectomy, is performed to removes a belt of skin, subcutaneous fat and tissue in the abdomen, the waist and buttock areas. When patients lost a lot of weight with or without weight loss surgery, the skin generally cannot shrink enough and become droopy and hanging unevenly. Surgery can remove the excess loose and create a tighter smoother contour.

With the advance of skin tightening and liposuction technologies, many patients can attain significant improvement of the abdomen and lower body contour without significant scarring. However, in cases where there are significant skin excess, surgical removal of the excess skin is often the best and only solution.

Who is a Good Candidate for Circumferential Body Lift?

The best candidates are healthy patients with realistic expectations. Specific for circumferential body lifts, the best patients are healthy non-smokers who are of stable weight. If patients had prior gastric bypass surgery, pre-operative nutritional assessment is recommended to optimize recovery from surgery.

How is Circumferential Body Lift Surgery Performed?

The surgery is performed under general anesthesia in an operating room. Incision is made around the lower abdomen, extending around the sides to the lower back leaving a single circumferential scar once healed. Excess fat and skin along the incision are removed. Additional liposuction can be performed to address other areas in the upper trunk to achieve better and smoother contour. Muscle plication (tightening) can also help shape the waistline. Surgery takes about 4-6 hours to perform depending on the extent of the surgical procedure. Multiple drains are placed to remove any small amount of fluid collection for 7-10 days following surgery.

What is the Recovery?

Patients are typically able to go home after the procedure, but some may require overnight care by a nurse. Downtime from a circumferential body lift is about a month. Most patients can return to work (with lifting restriction) after two weeks. Drain tubes are removed in the office 7-10 days following surgery. The operated areas may be swollen, bruised and sore for several weeks.Activities, including exercise, should be limited for at least six weeks after surgery. Although this is not a very painful procedure, during the first month after surgery, patients often report tightness around the operated area. Compression garments should be worn 24/7 for the first six weeks to reduce swelling and shearing of the incisions. Numbness and a firmness over the skin surface of the operated areas are often reported and will resolve over time. The improvement in contour of a body lift is visible almost immediately after surgery. However, swelling will take at least 6 months to resolve and to show the true final result.  

The biggest concerns after a body lift are wound breakdown and blood clot formed in the legs or lungs. Nutrition, skin preparation, and strict adherence to activity limitation and compression garment can reduce the risk of wound breakdown. Limiting surgical procedure time to not exceed 4 hours, post-operative use of blood thinner, and post-op mobility can reduce the risk of blood clots. It is crucial to have these risks assessed in detailed pre-operatively during the initial consultation so that you can be best prepared for surgery and recovery.