|Written by Dr. Kimit Rai|
Body contouring after significant weight loss.
Belt lipectomy, otherwise known as a “body lift,” is a body contouring procedure that is performed on patients who have lost a significant amount of weight. After weight loss, there is usually a laxity of the skin that involves sagging and looseness of the lower abdominal area and the upper arms. These patients need a tummy tuck to tighten the abdominal wall, and truncal or torso lipectomy to tighten the back.
Typically, a post-weight-loss patient’s skin is loose in a circumferential manner: around the abdomen, posterior hips and back. The belt lipectomy procedure is one in which the abdomen and back are trimmed together. It involves a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) and removal of the excess tissue on the torso. Most patients who have had significant weight loss (from 70 to 100 pounds) present with looseness of the arms, abdomen, back and thighs, and droopiness of the buttock area. They can also have back rolls, excess hip area and deflated-looking buttocks, with droopiness of the buttocks and fullness on the back. They need excisional surgery involving the arms, back, abdomen and thighs. Belt lipectomy can be performed on the lower part of the abdomen or the upper part of the abdomen.
The patient must be healthy to have this surgery, and it is possible to have more than one procedure done at the same time. Overweight or obese patients need to lose weight prior to considering a belt lipectomy procedure. If they are unable to lose weight through diet and exercise, gastric banding can be considered. Patients could lose from 30 to 150 pounds and be reassessed to recommend the appropriate kinds of surgery for body contouring. Lipectomy procedures are usually done under general anaesthetic and involve a longer hospital stay with follow-up appointments to manage any post-operative complications if they arise.
Belt lipectomy is a large, involved procedure that has great benefits for motivated patients. The procedure benefits bariatric patients who have lost a significant amount of weight and wish to have a more contoured body and a better functional outcome. Motivated patients who have lost anywhere from 30 to 150 pounds are good candidates for belt lipectomies to improve not only their appearance, but also their health status. These patients require significant preoperative assessment, operative care and postoperative follow-up. With careful management, postoperative complications can be minimized.