Body Lift

At Buckhead Plastic Surgery, Atlanta

A body lift, or belt lipectomy, tightens droopy, sagging skin around the abdomen, over the hips and buttocks. It also lifts the buttocks and hips. In a single operation it has the greatest ability to rejuvenate the entire abdomen and waistline.

The body changes greatly after pregnancies or massive weight loss. Sagging skin, stretch marks and even muscle separation are common problems. A body lift can help address these issues: excess abdominal fat, bulging separated abdominal muscles, excessive skin around the entire abdomen and sagging buttocks. Because individual conditions vary, the belt lipectomy technique helps healthy adult patients manage their entire waistline, achieving a flatter, trimmer, more youthful body shape.

Deciding if You Are Right For a Belt Lipectomy (Body Lift)

Patients presenting for a belt lipectomy always have:

  • Excess skin from their ribs to their pubic area
  • Loose skin over their hip bones and on to the lower back and upper buttocks
  • Loss of muscle strength or a separation of the abdominal muscles called diastasis, resulting in an abdominal bulge
  • Sagging hips and/or buttocks

The amount of fatty tissue ranges from almost none to fairly thick. Most patients are female having had one or more pregnancy. Weight-loss patients are also very common and patients that have hereditary characteristics for looser skin or a bulging abdomen.

How It's Done

A belt lipectomy is defined by an incision that runs across the top of the pubic area up along each side from hip to hip and around the top of the buttocks. This procedure is recommended for the patient who has a lot more than just a little lower abdominal bulge. The patient usually has rectus diastasis/separated abdominal muscles, a large abdominal bulge and sagging skin that continues all the way around the hips and upper buttocks. The patient also usually has sagging hips and upper thighs with sagging buttocks.

A belt lipectomy tightens loose skin entirely around your waist line, including the abdomen, hips and buttocks/lower back. The procedure has the greatest corrective power to improve the entire waistline.

Recovery

The belt lipectomy is one of the most painful procedures performed in all of plastic surgery, about the same as a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty. Tightening of the rectus muscles (abdominal muscles) adds to the discomfort. Since the On-Q® PainBuster® was invented, Dr. Alan N. Larsen has used this device to help control pain in patients. This device adds numbing medicine underneath the skin to significantly decrease postoperative discomfort. Pain medications are usually still needed.

The most difficult time is the first night after surgery. Over the next 3-4 days the discomfort rapidly decreases and patients are up moving around much easier within their home. By two weeks patients are back to work and by four weeks they are returning to a limited exercise routine. It takes a full eight weeks to return to full activities and strenuous exercise.

Results to Expect

The bottom line is that the patient should expect a flatter abdomen with tighter skin and loss of some or all of their stretch marks. The skin should be tightened not only on the abdomen, but also over the hips, lower back and upper buttocks. There are, however, several hurdles to overcome. First of all is the tenderness that is experienced after surgery. Within a week after surgery, the discomfort should be much better controlled.

Results should be seen immediately after surgery, however there is still considerable swelling called edema. The edema rapidly resolves and by three weeks, the abdomen should look much better. By three months, the abdomen should start to take on its final contours. It will be one year, however, before full results are realized. Diet and exercise are essential to create the optimal outcome.

Risks

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with body lift surgery. Absolutely following your post operative instructions and returning for post-op care will minimize your risks. Please see informed consent/belt lipectomy for a complete list of possible risks.

Recovery Timeline

  • The first day is very uncomfortable.
  • On days 2-5, tenderness rapidly resolves. You should be able to move around the house more freely without assistance.
  • At 10 days to two weeks, you can usually return to work although no strenuous work or activity is allowed.
  • At 3-4 weeks, you can increase activities such as walking and light exercise which won't stress abdominal muscles.
  • At 6-8 weeks, you can return to full exercise.
  • Over your lifetime, continue with diet, exercise and healthy lifestyle changes.

Learn More About Body Lift Surgery in Atlanta

Do you need more information about body lift surgery in Atlanta? Contact the office of double board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Alan N. Larsen. Our plastic surgery office is located in the Buckhead area of North Atlanta. Call (404) 367‐9005 to inquire about a consultation.