Circumferential abdominoplasty (360º abdominoplasty or lower body lift)
A body lift (or belt lipectomy) surgery consists of excess skin and fat removal in the abdomen and lower back area, while tightening loose abdominal muscles. This condition of excess skin and relaxation of the abdominal wall usually occurs in patients who have experienced significant weight loss (whether through bariatric or weight loss surgery such as a gastric bypass, or diets). A body lift achieves a flatter, firmer abdomen and back, and a narrower waist, significantly enhancing the body contour.
Ideal candidates for a body lift are those who have achieved their desired weight loss, but wish to correct the excess skin sagging in abdominal and back areas.
Patients requiring significant weight loss should postpone surgery, as should patients who intend to have future pregnancies, because the vertical muscles of the abdominal wall are tightened during surgery and may relax again in the course of further pregnancies. If the abdomen has scars already, this surgery may be inadvisable or the scars may change position. In some cases, this surgery manages to eliminate them.
In the initial consultation, Dr Mir will assess your state of health, determine the extent of fat accumulation in the abdominal region and the firmness of the skin.
Don’t forget to mention if you have an allergy to any medications or any illnesses, if you are a smoker, or if you are taking any medications or vitamins.
You should state your expectations honestly and frankly so that Dr Mir can explain the alternatives available for your particular issue, and the risks and limitations associated with each. In any case, Dr Mir will guide you to determine the optimal procedure to meet your individual aesthetic goals.
During the consultation, we will also inform you about the type of anaesthesia to be used, whether or not you will need to be admitted to the clinic where the surgery will be performed and the costs of the operation.
Except in disabling cases, body lifts are not covered by National Health Services.
|Your body lift will be performed in the clinic’s operating theatre where the entire team of doctors, nurses and healthcare workers will ensure that you receive excellent care before, during and after the procedure.
This type of surgery should not be performed in the consultancy room. It must be performed in the operating theatre, under strict aseptic conditions, and under the control of our anaesthesiology team.
What type of anaesthesia is used?
A body lift is performed under general anaesthesia, during which you will be asleep until the surgery is completed.
How is this procedure performed?
A body lift takes around four hours. Dr Mir will mark the incision on the body before surgery. The incision is done as low as possible so that the scar is below the swimsuit/bikini line. A second incision is made around the navel to separate it from the surrounding tissues.
Surgery begins at the back, where excess skin and fat is removed. The skin of the abdominal wall is then separated upwards until it reaches the ribs, exposing the abdominal muscles. These muscles are tightened and pulled together in the mid-line, providing a firm abdominal wall and a narrower waist. The separated skin is stretched towards the pubis and the excess skin excised; and the belly button is placed in its new position. Sutures are made and temporary drainage tubes are placed to remove any excess fluid that may accumulate in the operated area. Finally, an abdominal binder is fitted.
An abdominal binder will be fitted once you leave the operating theatre.
Patients are usually hospitalised for one to two days.
During the first few days the abdomen and back are usually somewhat swollen and you may notice some discomfort or pain that is easily controlled with painkillers. Although you should not stretch at first (during the first week), you should start walking as soon as possible. The external skin stitches will be removed after seven days, and the internal stitches (the ends of which come out at each end of the incision), in two to three weeks.
The return to normal
You may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to feel completely normal. If your pre-surgery physical condition was good and your abdominal muscles strong, your recovery time from abdominoplasty surgery will be quicker. Some people return to work in about two weeks, while others need three to four weeks of rest and recovery.
Lymphatic drainage massages and physical exercise will aid recovery. Even people who did not usually do any sport before surgery should follow an exercise routine to reduce swelling, reduce the possibility of venous thrombus forming and tone the muscles. However, strenuous exercise should be avoided until you feel comfortable.
Scars may appear to worsen for the first three to six months while they are healing; this is normal. It takes nine months to a year for the scar to flatten and lighten. Although the scars never completely disappear, they will not be visible, even when using a bikini or swimwear.
Hundreds of body lifts are performed successfully every year. When performed by a qualified plastic surgeon the results are usually excellent. However, as with all surgery, risks do exist, as well as complications related to this particular procedure. Post-surgery complications, such as infection or venous thrombosis can occur, but are rare. Infection is treated with antibiotics and drainage. Venous thrombosis is prevented by moving your legs (from the day of surgery) and getting up as soon as possible after surgery (usually the next day).
Poor healing can result in a poor quality scar, sometimes requiring a second surgery. Smokers should stop smoking a few weeks before surgery. Smoking increases the chance of complications and delays healing.
The risk of complications can be reduced by carefully following Dr Mir’s guidelines before and after surgery, especially those regarding when to resume physical activity.
A body lift provides excellent results in patients whose abdominal muscles are weakened and who have excess skin and fat in the abdomen and back. In most cases the results are permanent, provided patients follow a balanced diet and carry out regular exercise and lymphatic drainage massages. If you are realistic in your expectations and accept the presence of a permanent, but concealable abdominal scar and a long recovery period, abdominoplasty may be right for you.
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