Circumferential abdominoplasty – also known as belt lipectomy – is the most comprehensive (and invasive) of all 3 main types of a tummy tuck. This procedure addresses both the lower and upper abdomen along with the entire waistline (including the flanks and the back). This holistic procedure is common with patients who have lost a great deal of weight – possibly after a gastric bypass surgery or other types of bariatric (weight loss) surgery. On this page, we explore what a circumferential tummy tuck is and what you can expect from this procedure.
Ideal candidates for a circumferential tummy tuck
Circumferential abdominoplasty is a type of tummy tuck that is designed to remove loose skin and excess tissue from the abdomen, lower back, waist, and buttocks region. The purpose of this procedure is to achieve massive transformation to a person’s physique after they have undergone massive weight loss. You may be a good candidate for this cosmetic surgery if:
- You are physically and emotionally healthy
- You have had bariatric surgery to address morbid obesity
- You have lost 70 pounds or more worth of weight
- You are troubled by an overabundance of skin and excess fat in areas that are otherwise difficult to tone, such as the buttocks, outer thighs, and abdomen.
- You have realistic expectations about the outcome of this cosmetic surgery
Keep in mind that patients who have mild to moderate abdominal protrusion and excess skin may not benefit from this surgery. Circumferential abdominoplasty is exclusively designed for formerly obese patients who desire to remove extra skin and fat, as well as add muscle tone in order to accentuate their newly found slimmer bodies. During your first consultation visit with a board-certified plastic surgeon, the surgeon will examine your midsection and ask questions before determining whether this comprehensive procedure is for you.
How is a circumferential tummy tuck performed?
A circumferential tummy tuck is usually performed at an accredited surgical facility under general anesthesia. Plastic surgeons create a circumferential incision (like a belt) running around the waist. The surgeon will then use liposuction and other techniques to remove excess skin and fat from the abdomen, lower, back, waist, and other midsection areas. Loosened/separated abdominal muscles are also tightened and the belly button repositioned. Once the desired contouring changes have been completed, the surgeon will close the incision using sutures. The surgery takes between 4 and 6 hours to complete. The patient will then be transferred to a recovery room where their vitals will be monitored before they are transferred to a private hospital room.
Recovery after a circumferential tummy tuck
Patients who undergo this extremely invasive type of abdominoplasty need to stay at the hospital for 2-4 nights. Drainage tubes will be placed in order to drain away excess fluid from the incision sites. Patients will be asked to avoid showering until after these drainage tubes have been removed (which may be one or two weeks after the surgery). Swelling, bruising, and discomfort in the entire treatment area is common following this cosmetic surgery. Your plastic surgeon will provide pain medication to ease the discomfort as well as antibiotics to prevent an infection. You should walk slowly as soon as you are able to in order to reduce the risk of blood clots. Most circumferential tummy tuck patients are able to resume light activities within 4 weeks. However, you should wait until you get the green light from your plastic surgeon (which may take as long as 10 weeks) before you resume strenuous activities.
Risks of a circumferential abdominoplasty
Like any other invasive surgery, a circumferential tummy tuck has its risks. These include typical surgical risks such as fluid collection, pain, bleeding at the incision sites, wound infection, healing problems, and blood clots. Patients can also expect to experience typical side effects such as swelling and bruising. While scars are another concern, your plastic surgeon will enroll you in a comprehensive scar management program to make sure that they fade well with time. Working with a highly experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon is one of the best steps patients can take to ensure a successful procedure outcome.