Deciding to lose weight can have a major impact on your health and lifestyle. However, after dramatic weight loss, you may have excess skin, especially around the lower abdomen. This excess skin may obscure the results of your weight loss and may also cause skin irritation or functional issues. A lower body lift (belt lipectomy) can be an option in these cases, as it removes the unwanted skin from the abdomen while also addressing the buttocks and back.
Recovery after lower body lift surgery, also known as a torsoplasty or belt lipectomy, can be a challenging process. Before deciding to undergo this surgery, you should consult a specialist plastic surgeon like Dr Jeremy Hunt to get a clearer picture of the procedure, its cost, and the recovery timeline after the procedure.
Download Dr Hunt’s Guide to Excess Skin Reduction
Excess Skin Reduction
What is Lower Body Lift (Belt Lipectomy) Surgery?
In a lower body lift, or belt lipectomy, the muscles underneath the skin are tightened and extra skin is removed. This procedure changes the shape of the lower back, sides, thighs, and buttocks by targeting excess skin left behind after major weight loss. When you lose a lot of weight, it can be difficult to see the results of your efforts because extra skin can sometimes obscure them. This excess skin is removed during a belt lipectomy and the underlying muscles are tightened.
The incision made during a lower body lift (belt lipectomy) can target excess skin in various places, including the buttocks and thighs. Your physique and the quantity of skin to be removed will determine the exact length and style of the incision. Your surgeon will try their best to hide the location of the scar. However, it is important to remember that this operation requires a long incision.
This procedure is most frequently performed on patients with moderate to severe excess skin as a result of substantial weight loss through dieting or bariatric surgery. Most patients stay in the hospital for at least 2-3 days after a lower body lift (belt lipectomy) surgery. Some patients, on the other hand, may be able to leave the hospital on the same day. You will learn how to take any prescribed medications during this period as well as how to maintain and take care of your drains.
How long does it take to recover from a Lower Body Lift or Belt Lipectomy?
Your surgeon will inform you when you can resume work and other regular activities. In addition, your surgeon will provide you with comprehensive instructions for your postoperative care, including information regarding drains, the usual side effects you might encounter, and potential warning signs of complications.
It is important to strictly adhere to all the instructions your surgeon gives you concerning your post-operative care. This contains details about using compression garments and the amount of exercise that is suitable for you. Your surgeon will warn you about potential issues to look out for, such as the warning signs of an infection. It’s also critical to understand that there is no specific recovery time after a lower body lift (belt lipectomy) surgery as every individual is unique.
Patients often need to take at least 2 weeks off of work, with the majority having to limit intense activity for 4-6 weeks. Following your operation, you may have swelling, which can linger for a few weeks. It is important to get as much rest as possible during the first week as it is essential for your recovery. After three to four weeks, you should have significantly less swelling. You will gradually notice the results of your lower body lift (belt lipectomy) procedure as you begin to resume your regular activities. Remember to consult your surgeon before resuming any heavy lifting.
What are the Risks and Possible Complications of Belt Lipectomy Surgery?
There are risks to lower body lift (belt lipectomy) surgery, just as with any other surgical procedure. The possible risks of the procedure include: anaesthesia risks, bleeding, seroma, infection, asymmetry, bruising, among others.
How long does it take the Scars to Heal after Lower Body Lift (Belt Lipectomy)?
Patience is required after a lower body lift (belt lipectomy) procedure. This is because it can take up to a year for the scars gotten from the procedure to heal. Your hips, thighs, and lower back will all have some scars because these areas are where the incisions are made. In the majority of cases, the scars from a belt lipectomy progressively diminish and become less visible with time.
Keep in mind that although scars should fade with time, they most likely will never be completely undetectable. When considering any plastic surgery procedure, it is normal to worry about any scars you may have after the procedure. If you have any worries, you should discuss them with your surgeon. If possible, he may be able to recommend a scar minimisation treatment.
Tips for Recovery after Lower Body Lift (Belt Lipectomy)
- Use your compression garment: one of the best ways to speed up your recovery is by wearing your compression garments. In addition to preventing wound separation, compression garments also help to minimise bruising and swelling. You should wear them as often as you can, and strictly adhere to your surgeon’s instructions at all times.
- Plan ahead: you will have severely limited mobility for the first one to two weeks after your lower body lift (belt lipectomy) procedure. This is why you must make preparations in advance before undergoing the procedure because after surgery, you’ll most likely require assistance with your regular tasks and medications.
- Remain patient: you must be patient while recovering from your surgery. You should also relax and let your body carry out its normal healing process. During your recovery, you can get some exercise by taking a short walk. In addition to reducing swelling, this keeps your body functioning normally.
- Rest in an elevated position: initially, sleeping on your back after your procedure may feel uncomfortable. You can place pillows below your knees to elevate your legs, reduce discomfort, and stimulate healthy circulation. The swelling from your procedure can be reduced by resting in an elevated position. In the early stages of recovery, some patients report that they feel more comfortable when sleeping in a recliner.
- Remain hydrated: it is important to remain hydrated throughout your recovery period. Drinking water can help lessen discomfort and swelling. Water also facilitates detoxification and speeds up the removal of anaesthetic from the body. It also plays an important role in wound healing.
- Try to move around: you need to start moving around as soon as possible after surgery. You should make an effort to take walks that are good for blood circulation. To prevent placing too much strain on your surgical site, you should walk with a small bend in your upper body. You can start going for longer walks after the first week if you feel you can handle it. As your recovery progresses, you can go for multiple walks each day.
- Minimise sodium intake and eat a high-protein diet: the best recovery diet combines a high protein intake with minimal salt intake. Swelling can be exacerbated by a high-sodium diet. Protein, on the other hand, aids the body’s healing process. Eating a nutritious, well-balanced meal after surgery can help aid your recovery.
- Avoid driving: you will have to stay away from driving for some time after undergoing a lower body lift (belt lipectomy). We advise against getting behind the wheel for a few weeks following your procedure. Take note that using potent painkillers may also affect your ability to focus while driving.
- Scar care: once your incisions have healed, you can discuss scar minimisation treatments with your surgeon. Scars healing can be assisted by using silicone strips, gel, or tape. Scar management typically lasts for only a few months after your incisions have healed.
- Have realistic expectations: that implies you shouldn’t return to work too soon or push yourself too hard during the early stages of your recovery. You should be prepared and realise that your recovery process may not be as easy as you would have wanted it to be. You should also remember that since a lower body lift (belt lipectomy) is a major procedure, it will most likely also require a lengthy recovery period.
What Can I Do to Speed Up Recovery after Belt Lipectomy?
There are many things you can do to speed up your recovery after a lower body lift (belt lipectomy) surgery. For instance, you may try:
- Staying away from hot showers as they can increase swelling
- Applying cold compresses to lessen swelling and pain
- Avoiding smoking
- Using silicone strips and gels for scar management
- Eating healthy foods and staying hydrated
- Getting massage treatments
FAQs about Recovery after Lower Body Lift (Belt Lipectomy) Surgery
How long does it take for a lower body lift or belt lipectomy to heal?
- It can take up to a year for the scars from the procedure to heal. Patients often need to take at least 2 weeks off of work, with the majority having to limit regular activity for 4-6 weeks. Following your operation, you may have swelling, which can linger for a few weeks. It is important to get as much rest as possible during the first week as it is extremely important for your recovery. After three to four weeks, you should have significantly less swelling. It’s also critical to understand that there is no specific recovery time after a lower body lift (belt lipectomy) surgery as every individual is unique.
Where are the scars when a lower body lift (belt lipectomy) is performed?
- Incisions made during a lower body lift (belt lipectomy) leave a permanent scar around the lower trunk. The scar begins just above the pubic area and wraps around the hipbones where it joins with the incision on the opposite side. Keep in mind that although scars should fade with time, they most likely will never be completely undetectable. Your hips, thighs, and lower back will all have some scars because these areas are where the incisions are made. In the majority of cases, the scars from a belt lipectomy progressively diminish and become less visible with time.
How long do the results of a belt lipectomy surgery last?
- The results of a lower body lift (belt lipectomy) operation can last for years, if not decades, with a healthy lifestyle and proper care. Patients must realise, however, that over time, little alterations will still happen as a result of the changes that occur in the body due to ageing.
When can I bend over after a lower body lift (belt lipectomy)?
- You should try as much as possible not to bend or stretch for the first few weeks after your lower body lift or belt lipectomy procedure. To prevent placing too much strain on your surgical site, you should walk with your back slightly bent forward.
How long does swelling lingers on after a belt lipectomy?
- You can expect to experience some swelling after a lower body lift (belt lipectomy). The swelling usually subsides after about six to nine weeks. Following the procedure, it is normal to have some pain, moderate burning, and numbness along the lower incision. These symptoms should soon get better as your recovery progresses.
Further Reading about Body Procedures
- Read Dr Hunt’s Skin Removal after Massive Weight Loss page
- Read Dr Hunt’s Belt Lipectomy Surgery page
- Read Dr Hunt’s Upper Arm Lift Brachioplasty Surgery page
- Read Dr Hunt’s Upper Body Lift Torsoplasty Surgery page
- Read Dr Hunt’s blog about What Does a Body Lift (Torsoplasty) Surgery Do?
Medical References about Belt Lipectomy Surgery Recovery
- Lower Body Lift (Belt Lipectomy): Surgery & Recovery
- Body Lift (Belt Lipectomy) Recovery – American Society of Plastic Surgeons
- Skin removal surgery: Types, recovery, and what to expect
About Dr Jeremy Hunt – Plastic Surgeon
Dr Jeremy Hunt is a specialist plastic surgeon and a member of FRACS & ASPS. He has over 20 years of experience providing plastic surgery in Sydney.
Careful, considerate and honest, Dr Jeremy Hunt works with you to find a solution that is suitable for your body and your lifestyle. Every patient is unique and requires a personalised approach to reach their goals.
Dr Hunt has provided his one-on-one service and attention to detail to thousands of women and men from the Sydney & Wollongong NSW area and across Australia.
Dr Hunt’s qualifications and education
Dr Jeremy A. Hunt MBBS FRACS graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine degree from Sydney University in 1990 and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and member of ASPS – the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. He completed a Fellowship at the University of Texas in the United States, where he learnt from well-established and experienced plastic surgeons.
Next Step – Make an Enquiry or Request a consultation with Dr Hunt
Want more information before scheduling your consultation?
- Find out more about pricing, medical payment plans and paying for your surgery
- Request more information about the procedure – call on 1300 157 200 or contact us
If blepharoplasty is something you’re considering, Dr Hunt can thoroughly explain all the options to you in a one-on-one consultation.
- Make an Enquiry or Request a consultation with Dr Hunt
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health professional.