Body Lift Surgery After Weight Loss

Abdominoplasty (Tummy tuck)

Generalised laxity of the abdominal tissues circumferentially occurs following significant weight loss. This condition is more common now with people undergoing bariatric surgery. 

A body lift or belt lipectomy can improve multiple regions including the abdomen, back, flanks and thighs. The operation involves circumferential excision of skin and subcutaneous tissue. The musculature of the abdominal wall is tightened as for a standard abdominoplasty.

On the day of the surgery your surgeon will mark your abdomen and back which indicates where incisions will be made. Photos will be taken for your medical records. During the surgery your position is changed to allow the surgeon to perform the circumferential procedure. 

A body lift or belt lipectomy is for patients who have lost significant weight leading to excess skin over the abdomen, flanks and back. The procedure will improve the contours of these areas. Some patients don’t need a circumferential operation to get their optimal trunk contour. An abdominoplasty is a much less invasive operation with a quicker recovery which is desirable for most patients.

At your first consultation your surgeon will assess your suitability for a body lift.  If you smoke cigarettes or have other medical problems which may impede wound healing you may not be suitable for this kind of surgery. Other serious medical problems can also preclude you from surgery.

In some cases it may be recommended that the body lift be performed in stages. In the first stage an abdominoplasty is performed and this is followed up with a back lift during another operation.

For body lift surgery to be covered under Medicare, you must have had significant weight loss (at least 5 BMI* points), skin irritation and rashes not responsive to 3 months of conservative treatment, the redundant skin must interfere with your activities of daily living and your weight must be stable for 6 months.

*BMI = Body Mass Index = mass in kilograms / (height in metres)2

At your first consultation your surgeon will discuss your desires and concerns. Your past medical history and medications are also recorded and it is important to bring this information to the consult. Your surgeon will record your body mass index and perform an examination. Photos may be taken for your medical records. We recommend that you have a second appointment before the surgery so that you have another opportunity to discuss any concerns with your surgeon.

Following the surgery you will be required to stay in hospital for a few days. You will have surgical drains in place and wear a compression garment. It is important to avoid any unnecessary activity for the first 2 weeks. Over this period it is okay to dress yourself, make a cup of tea and go to the toilet for example. It is not okay to drive. Gradually, from 2 to 4 weeks, you will regain your independence and increase your level of activity. By 6 weeks, most people are able to resume more strenuous activity.

If you have an infection or problems with the wound healing, the amount of time spent convalescing is significantly increased. Allowances with work and other commitments should be considered.

The results of a body lift procedure is durable but the scars and contour will change subtly over time. If you gain or lose weight this will affect the contours. 

The risks and complications of a body lift are not insignificant. General complications including bleeding (requiring a blood transfusion), infection (requiring hospital admission) and further surgery to address a complication can cause significant delays in your recovery and increased morbidity. At the time of your consultation your surgeon will discuss these complications with you.

When body lift surgery is undertaken and meets the suitability requirements according to Medicare listed above, the majority of the cost is rebatable through Medicare and standard private health insurance. This does require a referral from your family doctor. 

After your consultation, a detailed quote will be provided to you including the surgeon fee, anaesthetic fee, hospital fee and support garments for your initial recovery.  

Our Body Lift Surgeons

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