body contouring

Body lift: Plastic surgery of the abdominal belt

A body lift is a cosmetic and reconstructive surgery procedure of the abdominal belt. A body lift is particularly appropriate for patient who underwent an important diet or after bariatric surgery ("by-pass",installation of a gastric ring). A body lift procedure treats a strong cutaneous slackening on the whole of the middle third of the silhouette (abdominal belt, hips, buttocks, back, external part of the top of the thighs, breeches of horse) in the same operative time.

The result of a body lift procedure is are often spectacular but it should be known that it is a relatively heavy plastic surgery in term of post-operative recovery. It usually requires 2-3 days of hospitalization and 21 days of convalescence.

What is a body lift?

A body lift is a plastic surgery procedure that involves removing skin and fat in excess by retaining tissue from the pelvic area. A body lift treats the entire middle third of the silhouette (abdominal belt, hips, buttocks, back, breeches) in one surgical procedure.

Sometimes called circular belt lipectomy, a body lift is a surgery for people who have a significant sagging skin in the abdominal belt.

After a by-pass or the installation of a gastric band

In the majority of cases, the excess skin treated during a body lift is explained by a significant weight loss following a diet or a bariatric surgery procedure (treatment of obesity) such as a "by-pass" or the installation of a gastric band.

A body lift may also be indicated after a major liposuction (if the skin has not sufficiently tightened after removal of fat tissue).

Reimbursement by social security

A body lift can be considered as a procedure of reconstructive surgery for patients who have experienced a major weight loss. It can therefore be covered by social security and health insurances (in France).

Result obtained with a body lift

The results obtained by a body lift are generally spectacular. Indeed, a circular belt lipectomy treats sagging skin on the entire middle third of the silhouette and the abdominal belt in one procedure.

After a body lift: :

  • The hips are regrooved and put back in tension,
  • the buttocks are raised and regalbées,
  • the arch of the back is corrected,
  • the size is dug,
  • the abdomen is flattened and the skin of the abdomen put back in tension,
  • the tighs are flattened and tightened towards the belt.

Description of a body lift surgery

During surgery, the surgeon removes a strip of skin (between 20 and 40 centimeters wide) around the abdominal belt. The skin is then stretched ("lifted") at the waist. This surgical procedure is usually accompanied by liposuction of the affected areas (stomach, hips, buttocks, external thighs).

The procedure begins with a preoperative marking to position the scar (symmetry).

Positioning of the incisions:

The first phase of a body lift often consists of liposuction of the tighs and hips. The goal is to remove more fat and mobilize excess skin which will then be lifted.

Dorsal phase:

Excess skin is first removed at the lower back, buttocks above. This allows to "lift" the skin of the outer face of the thighs. In some cases, the fat sucked earlier can be reused to further contour the buttocks (lipostructure).

Then, the body of the patient is returned so that the operation can continue in the abdomen (ventral phase).

Ventral phase:

The ventral phase of the operation is similar to a tummy tuck. The goal is to **stretch the skin of the abdomen down **(in the pubic area) and stretch the front of the thighs upwards. Liposuction generally allows the tissues to be mobilized so as to avoid detachment.

Finally, the surgeon joins the posterior incision to create continuity with the anterior incision.

Location of the scars induced by a body lift

Recovery after a body lift

The procedure, lasting an average of 4 hours, is performed under general anesthesia or spinal anesthesia. Despite the magnitude of the intervention, postoperative pain remains moderate.

When can we see the result?

The result of the intervention on the abdominal belt can be assessed immediately despite the postoperative edema. The edema gradually decreases in the days and weeks following the operation.

The result of a body lift is often spectacular, but it must be known that this is a major surgery, requiring 2-3 days of hospitalization.

Follow up after a body lift

A physiotherapy of drainage and physiotherapy started in the days following the intervention is very useful to favor a faster and more comfortable recovery.

Dressings are needed during the first two weeks. The patient must wear restraints for 2 to 4 weeks.

The seated position must be avoided during the first days following the procedure. Getting up and walking the day after surgery is necessary to reduce the risk of phlebitis. Anticoagulant treatments are usually prescribed as a preventive measure for about ten days.

With Dr. Kron, you will leave the clinic with special dressings that will allow you to shower every day, the day after the intervention. These dressings will be systematically reviewed in consultation with Dr. Kron without you having to do them yourself or see a nurse (unless there are exceptions).

Resuming professional activity is generally possible after 3 weeks. It is possible to resume sport activities after 4-6 weeks.

After 3-4 months, the result obtained on the abdominal belt and the lower third of the body can be considered definitive (except for he scar which will continue to diminish over the course of 1 to 2 years).

Possible complications

Like any surgical procedure, a body lift presents risks that will be explained to you by the surgeon during the preoperative consultation (see Risks in surgery).

The risk of an asymmetrical result (offset of a few centimeters between the two sides of the pelvis and the abdominal belt) should be considered. A correction intervention, less cumbersome, can then be considered after a few months.

Smoking increases the risk of surgical complications of any surgery. Stopping smoking 6-8 weeks before the procedure eliminates this additional risk. If you smoke, talk to your doctor, surgeon, and anesthesiologist, or call Tobacco-Info-Service at 3989 to help reduce risk and put the odds on your side.

Scars after a body lift

Since a body lift involves the removal of a band of skin, a scar is a mandatory sequel of this procedure.

The cicatricial ransom of this type of procedure must be clearly explained by the surgeon during the preoperative consultation.

If the position of the scar depends on the initial anatomy of the patient, it is nevertheless possible to favor this or that position so as to adapt to the patient's clothing style (high waist, low waist) so that this is the least visible possible in the majority of situations (it is placed at the level of the elastic of a "string").

The evolution of the scar lasts from 6 to 12 months. Red at first, it will gradually become pink then closer to the color of the skin.

🇬🇧About the translation: Parts of the English version of this website were translated using computer generated translation. If you notice a significant error or if you have any doubt regarding the medical information provided, please send us a message.

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Dr Cédric Kron - Plastic surgeon in Paris

Former resident, Gold Medal of Surgery and Head of Clinic of Paris Hospitals (APHP), Dr. C. Kron is qualified in Plastic, Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery. He practices as a plastic surgeon in Paris, with a comprehensive and tailor-made approach of aesthetic treatments.