Silhouette cosmetic surgery
Body lift (belt lipectomy)
This procedure leads to a dramatic decrease in the overall volume of the body, especially the mid-section.
Lower Body lift (or circular dermolipectomy or belt lipectomy) is a procedure designed to remove excess skin on the abdomen, buttocks and thighs. The remaining skin is tightened. Any excess fat isremoved by liposuction at the same time.
Principle of the lower body lift
Basically, the objective is to remove a 20 to 25 cm strip of skin from around the body at the waist. The procedure is performed in two phases of equal duration :
- the first phase with the patient lying on their stomach is to treat the hips, buttocks and sides of the thighs ;
- the second phase with the patient lying on the back is to treat the abdomen, pubis and upper thighs.
These two phases are usually performed during the same procedure but they can also be done ??several months apart to reduce the enormity of the procedure.
The procedure begins with liposuction of the hips and saddlebags with the patient lying on their stomach. The excess skin is then removed and the skin of the buttocks and sides of the thighs is stretched upwards.
In some cases, the volume of the buttocks can be increased by using the fat located on the hips. This hip fat is remodeled to be used as prosthesis. The patient is then turned over onto their back on the operating table while he is asleep.
Moreover, in case of biggest excess of skin, a vertical scar can be add on the lateral aspect of the thigh to obtain a better result (vertical bobylift).
Whilst the patient is lying on their back the surgeon performs another liposuction session (abdomen, pubis, upper thighs). Then at the end of the procedure an abdominoplasty is performed to remove excess skin and tighten the skin of the abdomen, pubis and upper thighs.
The body lift is performed under general anesthesia. The duration varies between 4 to 6 hours. Hospitalisation ranges from 4 to 6 days.
Although quite invasive this procedure is not usually very painful.
The fatigue and recovery phases however are longer than after other types of plastic surgery. If the fatigue is too serious, a blood transfusion may be administered. To reduce the likelihood of a blood transfusion, the anesthetist will suggest iron treatment before surgery and depending on your hemoglobin levels.
A daily anticoagulant therapy will be prescribed for 8 to 10 days to reduce the risk of developing complications.
Complete healing is achieved within 2 to 3 weeks. The dressings are semi-permeable, therefore showers are allowed.
Special dressings will need to be applied to the scars, even after healing, for 2-3 months to improve their appearance.
Wearing a compression belt is recommended 24 hours a day for 1 month to reduce bruising and improve comfort.
The overall results of a body lift are remarkable, considering the volume reduction, skin retention and the enhancements made to the stomach, pubis, thighs, buttocks, hips and saddlebags.
Aesthetic and comfort levels are greatly improved.
The scar, although long because of its circular nature, is acceptable due to the significant improvement of the figure. In addition, the scar is positioned to be easily concealed by wearing underwear or swimwear. The position of the posterior scar may for example be adapted to allow the wearing of hipster jeans or even Brazilian thongs. However, the patient will need to wait about one year before the scar is fully developed and therefore more discreet.
Risk of complications
As with any surgery, a number of complications can occur. But the likelihood of these complications is reduced in the hands of a qualified plastic surgeon and in the presence of a competent anesthetist. The patient’s compliance to instructions given by the surgeon is also essential and include :
- stopping smoking 1 month before and after the procedure (reduction of all risks) ;
- stopping the pill two months before and after the procedure (reducing the risk of phlebitis and pulmonary embolism) ;
- not taking aspirin for 10 days before and after the procedure (reduced risk of hematoma) ;
- When applicable, respecting the target weight your surgeon has determined before surgery, (reduced risk of phlebitis and pulmonary embolism and the risk of a poor cosmetic outcome).
Fortunately, postoperative effects are generally manageable following a bodylift that has been carried out properly, so serious complications are rare.
In spite of the fact that complications are so rare you must be aware of the following problems :
- Haematomas are quite rare but can occur. They can be evacuated.
- Infection : this is extremely rare when the procedure is carried out in sterile environment.
- Seroma : lymph collection under the skin that can be evacuated and that will dry up rapidly without sequelae.
- Thrombo-embolic accidents (blood clots in the veins of the legs, pulmonary embolism) are rare and can be prevented by strict prophylactic measures (standing and walking as soon as possible after surgery, wearing compression stockings, or heparin therapy).
- Numbness of the skin may be observed. It is usually transient and most patients recover normal nipple feeling after 6 to 18 months.
In case of a complications, your surgeon will treat them successfully if necessary.
In practice, the vast majority of cases take place without any problem and the patients are satisfied with the result.
Health insurance coverage
As this procedure is considered purely for aesthetic purposes, no coverage is provided by health insurance.
In some cases (sagging abdominal skin that partially covers the pubis, post-bariatric surgery) a partial reimbursement of the cost of the procedure may be considered upon prior agreement. Your health insurance fund’s medical advisor will need to examine you in this case.
In case of agreement, you will be responsible for the additional surgeon and anesthesiologist fees which will be redeemable in whole or in part by your health insurance.
Author: Dr. Christophe Laveaux
Specialist in aesthetic surgery - Antibes
Reproductions, even partial, of the texts are allowed on the express condition cite the author (Dr. Christophe Laveaux) with a direct link to the article mentioned.