Lower Body Lift, Belt Lipectomy, and Corset Body Lift Surgery

Genetics and lifestyle choices combine to create our body shapes.  Some people develop significant laxity of the tissues of their abdomen, sides, backs, and thighs. This happens to some people who lose a lot of weight. It also happens to people who have always been near their ideal weight but whose tissues are just naturally loose.  When lax, hanging tissue becomes bothersome it may be possible to have that tissue removed.

Circumferential Body Contouring

Tummy tuck surgery addresses the front, and to a lesser degree the sides, of the abdomen. When loose tissues of the lower back, outer thighs, and buttocks are bothersome, tummy tuck surgery may not be enough. In these situations a more circumferential approach may work best. Lower body lift, belt lipectomy , and corset body lift are different operations that may be done to address these concerns.

Lower Body Lift and Belt Lipectomy Surgery

Lower body lift surgery and belt lipectomy surgery are similar procedures.  In both procedures the front of the abdomen is addressed by doing an abdominoplasty (“tummy tuck”).  Skin and fat of the flanks and back are removed in both procedures as well.  This also results in the outer thighs and buttocks being lifted.

The biggest difference between a lower body lift and a belt lipectomy is where the incisions are made. In a lower body lift the incisions on the side and back are lower than in a belt lipectomy.  This may work best for the patient who has bulges of loose skin over the hips and upper thighs. Lower body lift surgery creates more substantial changes in the outer thigh than belt lipectomy surgery. Belt lipectomy incisions are higher on the sides and the back.  Making the incision higher on the side and back may help create a more tailored, sculpted waist than a lower body lift.

Corset Body Lift

Corset body lift is different than lower body lift and belt lipectomy operations. A corset body lift is done through incisions on the front; there are no incisions on the back. The loose abdominal skin is pulled tightly together in the midline of the abdomen from between the breasts to the pubic hairline. Pulling the tissue together in the midline of the abdomen allows tissues on the back to be pulled forward too.  Extra skin and fat are also removed from beneath the breasts and from the lower abdomen. This results in a “corset” look to the central trunk.  A corset body lift provides dramatic changes in the look of the abdomen and trunk, all accomplished through incisions on the front.

Customized Treatment for Optimal Results

A visit with Dr. Kunkel and his staff usually takes about 2 hours. The Vectra 3-dimensional photography system is used as part of the consultation. Photographs are taken of the person’s abdomen and back. The Vectra software reconstructs those photographs into three-dimensional images, allowing the person to see herself/himself from angles that are almost impossible to see in a mirror.  After listening to and examining the patient, Dr. Kunkel customizes a treatment plan. The consultation is not a quick “in-and-out” visit with a random office staff person. The patient has substantial interaction directly with Dr. Kunkel. The patient is also provided with a booklet written by Dr. Kunkel that contains essential information to know about body contour surgery.

Recovery after Lower Body Lift, Belt Lipectomy, and Corset Body Lift Surgery

These types of body contour procedures may take 4 to 6 hours.  Patients typically spend one night in the surgical facility.  Intravenous medications help minimize nausea and discomfort.  The nursing staff gets the patient out of bed that evening and helps her become stable on her feet.   Devices are placed on the legs before surgery to intermittently squeeze the calves, and these are left on overnight.  Staying overnight helps keep the patient comfortable and Dr. Kunkel believes it enhances the safety of the procedure.

Rather than having a lot of pain, Dr. Kunkel’s patients more commonly talk about feeling tired and “drained” for about five days. Their tissues are usually pulled so tight that they actually walk in a “bent-over” position during those first several days. Beginning about 5 days after surgery some energy returns and they begin to walk more upright. Most patients take two to three weeks off from work. Women with young children need to make arrangements for someone else to be driving their kids to school and other activities for at least the first week. Compression garments are often worn for two months or more. Strenuous activities like running, bicycling, working out, and swimming should be avoided for about six weeks.

Risks of Lower Body Lift, Belt Lipectomy, and Corset Body Lift Surgery

Every surgical procedure includes risks. All operations, from hernia repairs to cesarean sections to body contour procedures include risks of infection, bleeding, blood clots, and poor healing. Issues that are more unique to body lift and belt lipectomy surgery include the possibility that the belly button could end up in a slightly different position than it had been before surgery, the scar on one side of the abdomen or back could be higher than the scar on the other side of the abdomen or back, and it is possible to have long-term numbness in the lower abdomen or even the upper thigh. With the corset body lift there is also a risk of some distortion of the breasts.



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