Lower Body Lift (Belt Lipectomy)

Lower body lift (belt lipectomy) gives you a smoother, more toned appearance along your belt line. It removes sagging skin from your lower abdominal area and buttocks. You may benefit from this procedure if you’ve lost a lot of weight and aren’t achieving results from exercise.


What is a lower body lift?

This procedure, also known as a belt lipectomy, removes loose skin and fat from around your waist. It creates a firm, more toned appearance in your lower body, including your buttocks and abdominal area.


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What’s the difference between a lower body lift vs. tummy tuck?

A lower body lift and tummy tuck have some similarities. Both procedures are designed to remove excess skin and tighten abdominal muscles to help tone your midsection.

There are also many differences. Where a tummy tuck focuses on your abdominal area only (the front), a belt lipectomy uses a large wrap-around (360-degree) incision and tightens both your lower abdominal area and buttocks (the back).

Why is this type of surgery necessary?

After losing a lot of weight, your skin doesn’t always tighten on its own. A lower body lift eliminates excess tissue and tightens areas in ways you can’t achieve with diet and exercise alone.


What else is important to know about a lower body lift after weight loss?

You may benefit from belt lipectomy if you:

  • Live with loose skin along your waistline and buttocks.
  • Have maintained a healthy weight, are stable and don’t plan on losing or gaining more.
  • Can live with the appearance of surgical scars on your waist and lower back.
  • Don’t have medical conditions, such as uncontrolled diabetes, that can complicate your recovery.
  • Aren’t a smoker.

Procedure Details

What happens during lower body lift surgery?

If belt lipectomy surgery is right for you, here’s what to expect:

  1. Your surgeon draws lines with a marker around your torso while you’re standing. This helps them determine the best place to make the incisions.
  2. You receive general anesthesia, a combination of medications that puts you to sleep and block sensation.
  3. Your surgeon makes an incision around your entire torso.
  4. They remove an apron of excess skin. They may also tighten the muscles, as well as lift and reposition the remaining tissue for a smooth, toned appearance.
  5. Before completing the procedure, they close the incisions using stitches, skin adhesives and clips.
  6. Often, drains are placed.

Will insurance pay for a lower body lift?

Insurance isn’t likely to cover the procedure for cosmetic reasons; meaning if you’re pursuing it only to enhance your appearance. But if sagging skin is causing medical issues, like recurring infections, your insurance might consider it. Approval depends on the type of insurance you have and individual circumstances.

Risks / Benefits

What are the benefits of a belt lipectomy?

A belt lipectomy can firm up the appearance of your mid-section. In addition to feeling more confident, you’ll also have an easier time finding flattering clothes.

What are the risks of belt lipectomy?

Lower body lift risks include:

What else should I know about belt lipectomy?

Belt lipectomy complications are more common compared to other forms of plastic surgery. This is because your torso is constantly in motion. Even when you’re sitting still, abdominal muscles are working to keep you upright. Bending at your waist adds even more strain, increasing the likelihood that incisions may not heal as they should.

Even with higher complication rates, a lower body lift is still a safe procedure. Your surgeon will review all the risks and steps you can take to reduce them.

Recovery and Outlook

What is lower body lift recovery like?

After your procedure, bandages protect the incision while it heals. You may be asked to wear a snug-fitting garment to minimize swelling. Often, there will tiny tubes under your skin to drain excess fluid. To reduce pressure on the incision, you spend a lot of your recovery sitting in a comfortable chair instead of lying in bed.

During lower body lift recovery, you should:

  • Change bandages as necessary.
  • Manage your drains.
  • Get plenty of rest and eat a healthy diet, which promotes healing.
  • Avoid bending at your waist or excessive activity during the early stages of recovery.
  • Not exercise or lift anything heavy for approximately six weeks.
  • Avoid submersion of wounds in tubs, pools or oceans/seas.

How soon will I notice results?

Your lower torso will look slimmer immediately after surgery. Swelling and bruising will take a few weeks to subside. Scars will fade in time but never disappear entirely. And it can take up to a year or more for skin and tissue to settle into their new position.

When To Call the Doctor

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

You should contact your surgeon if you experience signs of complications, such as:

  • Chest pain.
  • Infections, which can cause a fever or discharge from the incision.
  • Pain that doesn’t respond to medications.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Signs of blood clots, such as sudden swelling in your legs or feet.
  • Unusual heartbeat (palpitations).
  • Issues with your incision.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Belt lipectomy is a surgical procedure to remove sagging skin from your lower body. It helps people who have lost a lot of weight achieve a slimmer contour. The procedure requires a larger incision than other forms of cosmetic surgery, increasing the risk of complications. You can lower the likelihood of an extended recovery by closely following your surgeon’s instructions.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/27/2022.

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