The Differences Between a Tummy Tuck and a Lower Belt LipectomyJuly 29, 2020
Weight loss, health, and fitness are the focuses of many New Year’s resolutions, with the flip of the calendar serving as the perfect blank slate to start working on a new goal. Now that we’re well into this year, is body contouring a goal for you?
Whether you are just beginning your weight loss journey or have already achieved your goal weight, you may have concerns about being left with loose skin, separated abdominal muscles, stubborn pockets of fat or a combination of these common post-weight-loss concerns.
Fortunately, there are a number of body contouring procedures that can help to address these issues and refine your weight loss results. Tummy tuck surgery and lower belt lipectomy are two of the most common procedures used for this purpose. While they are similar in many ways, there are a few key differences between a tummy tuck and a lower body lift that you’ll need to know to help you decide which could be right for you.
Overview: Tummy Tuck vs. Lower Belt Lipectomy
The primary distinction between a tummy tuck and lower belt lipectomy is that a tummy tuck is just part of a lipectomy procedure. Thus, the two procedures are quite similar but can address slightly different needs.
A tummy tuck, also called abdominoplasty, removes and tightens loose, stretched skin in your abdominal area. This procedure is also able to correct separated muscle tissue in this area, which can occur as a result of obesity and pregnancy. Abdominoplasty is very commonly combined with liposuction in order to remove stubborn pockets of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise. However, liposuction alone is not a method of weight loss.
Many people ask whether or not a tummy tuck will be able to get rid of stretch marks. The answer is that it depends. If your stretch marks happen to be located in the area of loose skin that is removed during your tummy tuck, this procedure will, in fact, get rid of them. However, this is not guaranteed and does not always address all stretch marks you may have.
A lower belt lipectomy, also called a lower body lift, combines a tummy tuck with other body contouring procedures in order to achieve a more comprehensive outcome following massive weight loss. Because of this, a belt lipectomy is able to address the front, back and sides of your abdomen, your inner and outer thighs and your buttocks. Like abdominoplasty, lower belt lipectomies are often combined with liposuction in order to address both excess skin and isolated pockets of exercise-resistant fat.
Tummy Tuck Options
There are a few types of tummy tuck surgery that you will likely come across during your research.
- MINI TUMMY TUCK:
A mini tummy tuck is ideal for people who have only a small amount of excess skin located strictly below their belly button. This procedure involves a shorter incision and slightly shorter recovery period, although its results are somewhat limited. Liposuction can still be combined with a mini tummy tuck, but you will only address the “belly pooch” area of the lower abdomen.
- FULL TUMMY TUCK:
A full tummy tuck is what most people have in mind when they think of traditional abdominoplasty. This procedure typically involves an incision made from hip to hip, but it is able to address a larger amount of excess skin and can also repair loose or separated muscle tissue. A skilled plastic surgeon will take great care to place your incision in such a way that it will be easy to hide underneath a bikini. In the majority of cases, a full tummy tuck with or without muscle repair will offer the best results.
- TUMMY TUCK WITH MUSCLE REPAIR:
If you are getting a full tummy tuck, you have the option of including muscle repair in your procedure. Some people who have lost a significant amount of weight find that their abdomen seems to have a permanent bulge in the center. This is commonly caused by a condition known as diastasis recti, in which the two sides of your abdominal muscles separate from each other, creating a gap. This can be difficult or even impossible in some cases to correct through exercise. If this is the case for you, adding muscle repair to your tummy tuck can help.
Lower Belt Lipectomy Options
A lower belt lipectomy includes several body contouring procedures wrapped into one. The typical lower body lift includes these procedures:
- TUMMY TUCK:
In addition to addressing excess skin in the front of your abdomen, a lower body lift is able to lift loose skin along the sides and lower back of your torso. If you struggle with loose skin and/or stubborn fat in your "love handle" area, a lower body lift would be able to address this concern.
- THIGH LIFT:
Following massive weight loss, some people are left with excess skin in other areas of their body that a tummy tuck alone would not be able to resolve. Both inner and outer thigh lifts can be included in your lower belt lipectomy in order to achieve a smoother contour and restore a more comfortable movement.
- BUTTOCK LIFT:
Similarly, a butt lift removes excess skin and fat from your buttocks and lower back area. Unlike a Brazilian butt lift or BBL, this procedure does not necessarily add volume to your backside. Rather, it reshapes and "lifts" your buttocks by removing sagging skin and excess fat and tightening the remaining skin.
Liposuction can be combined with any of these procedures in your lower belt lipectomy, offering a more refined result.
Which Procedure Is Best for You?
So how do you know which post-weight-loss body contouring procedure could be right for you? You can start by asking yourself a few questions, like:
- What are your goals?
- What do you expect to achieve from body contouring surgery?
- Where are your trouble spots located?
- Where are you in your weight loss journey?
If your main concerns are isolated to your abdominal area, a tummy tuck might make the most sense for you. However, if you have trouble spots in other areas outside the realm of abdominoplasty, you could benefit from a lower belt lipectomy.
It is never too early to sit down with an experienced plastic surgeon to discuss your weight loss goals and post-weight-loss plan. They can guide you as to whether a tummy tuck on its own or a lower body lift is better suited for your needs. Meeting with a plastic surgeon to discuss your post-weight-loss goals can be a great motivation to succeed in your final weight loss efforts.
Results: What to Expect
It is crucial that you are able to maintain realistic goals for your final outcome throughout the process. These procedures are not meant to stand in for traditional weight loss methods, so you will see the best results if you are able to come as close to your target weight as possible prior to moving forward with cosmetic surgery. That said, both of these procedures can help bring your weight loss journey full circle, as well as boost your self-confidence.
Expect the final results of either your abdominoplasty or belt lipectomy to develop gradually over the course of several months. Continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and fueling your body with nourishing food in order to enjoy your same excellent results for years to come.
Check out more articles by Dr. Mariotti on ObesityHelp!
ABOUT THE AUTHORDr. Eric Mariotti, a board-certified plastic surgeon, is still just as excited about plastic surgery as he was when he entered the field decades ago. “I am blessed to have a job I love." At the Mariotti Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery in Concord, he performs most cosmetic procedures & breast reconstruction. He has developed his niche in plastic surgery after massive weight loss over the past 10 – 12 years. Dr. Mariotti is a regular speaker at weight loss support groups in and around the area.