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A circumferential abdominoplasty, or Belt Lipectomy, is a procedure designed to remove excess fat and skin from around the waist after a significant weight loss event, such as gastric banding (weight-loss surgery). It differs from the "Tummy Tuck" by removing excess lower back skin and elevating the buttocks.
Our skin naturally stretches as we gain excess weight, but once the weight is lost, a significant portion of our skin’s elasticity may be lost. This, naturally, prevents our skin from “snapping” back to tightly cover our new, smaller shape. If you suffer with excess skin folds around your midsection after a major weight fluctuation, a belt lipectomy should help.
A Belt Lipectomy is one of several options available in the family of body-contouring procedures.
Anyone who has excess skin and fat in their midsection after a weight-loss surgery, pregnancy, or natural, yet significant, weight loss may be a good candidate for a Belt Lipectomy. Many people feel self-conscious about carrying extra fat and skin in their midsection, but more importantly, there are potential health risks that are associated with extra belly weight.
The skin folds that develop can cause rashes, swelling, and ulcers that may lead to infection, as it’s hard to keep the area between skin folds clean. It may also cause issues with hygiene, movement, and general comfort. As with all surgeries, you should be generally healthy before undergoing a procedure.
To be recommended by Dr. Kuhlman-Wood for a Belt Lipectomy, you will need to be physically healthy. You should also be at a relatively stable weight, because losing more weight after your procedure may lead to new folds of sagging skin. Additionally, gaining a large amount of weight after your procedure may damage your already weakened skin, resulting in stretch marks and scars.
If you are a smoker, you will be required to quit for at least four (4) weeks prior to surgery and remain smoke free until your surgical results have been fully achieved. Smoking has been proven to interfere with the body’s naturally healing process. For your safety and to achieve the desired surgical outcome, Dr. Kuhlman-Wood screens for Nicotine prior to surgery.
At Coeur d’Alene Plastic Surgery™, our entire staff is committed to providing a frictionless surgical experience. It begins with listening to your needs and continues through appropriate education and care across your entire surgical experience. This includes providing you the care you need while you recover.
Dr. Kuhlman-Wood performs all Belt Lipectomy Procedures at Northwest Specialty Hospital. It is a Doctor-owned facility with an impeccable record of patient success and satisfaction.
On the day of your Belt Lipectomy, you will check in at the front desk and be placed in the pre-operative section of the hospital. Dr. Kuhlman-Wood will meet you prior to surgery to answer any questions you may have, calm your nerves and verify you are ready for the procedure. During this time, an IV will be placed to delivery the necessary Anesthesia (Anesthesia types vary depending on patient and procedure). Dr. Kuhlman-Wood will have determined an individualized technique for your procedure depending on the amount of sagging and extra skin, and the overall elasticity of your skin. Using a special marker, she will place marks on your body to serve as her surgical guides.
Dr. Kuhlman-Wood will typically make an incision where your lower back and buttocks meet, and another incision on your lower belly in the front. Excess skin, fat, and tissue will likely be removed from both areas before your remaining skin is repositioned and stitched back together, forming a smooth contour on both sides. Operating on both sides of your body may require that the surgical team move you during the procedure, but this is not always the case, and will depend on your individual factors. The surgical team will apply dressings to the closed incisions to keep them dry and free of infection.
Dressings and/or bandages will be placed over the incisions after the procedure is complete. Dr. Kuhlman-Wood and her staff will provide you with individualized instructions detailing your post-operative care. These instructions will detail information about your dressings, how long you’ll need to wear them, how to change them, and how to keep your incisions clean and free of infection.
Small tubes called drains are placed underneath your skin in order to collect any fluid or blood that may result as a natural part of the body’s healing process. The staff at Coeur d’Alene Plastic Surgery™ will schedule your necessary follow-up visits to drains or non-dissolving stitches removed. Dr. Kuhlman-Wood will prescribe and council you on the appropriate medications to take to prevent infection, aid in your healing, and reduce pain. She will also provide guidance on when it is appropriate to resume your normal daily activities, like exercise and work.
There are many factors that can determine the cost of a Belt Lipectomy. However, you should expect to pay between $10,000 and $15,000. This includes Dr. Kuhlman-Wood’s surgical fee, the cost of anesthesia, facility fees for the hospital and/or surgical center, medical tests, clothing and bandages required after the procedure, and prescriptions for pain medication and antibiotics. It also includes 90 days of post-operative care.
Health insurance plans typically do not cover a Belt-Lipectomy Procedure; however, Coeur d’Alene Plastic Surgery does offer financing to help break up the cost over time. Although monetary cost is important, it is only one of several factors to consider. It is equally important to find a surgeon who is board-certified by the ABPS, trustworthy, and close enough to reduce travel time between visits – especially after your procedure. Perhaps most importantly, choose a surgeon with whom you are comfortable to share in your surgical journey.