What is a Belt Lipectomy?

Other terminology for a belt lipectomy include;

  • A lower Body Lift
  • Abdominal lipectomy
  • Circular abdominoplasty
  • Circumferential abdominoplasty
  • Truncal abdominoplasty
  • And, a 360-tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)

This procedure involves the surgical removal of excess skin and fat from the abdomen, hips, lower back and buttocks. In other words, it’s an extensive abdominoplasty that extends around both the front and back.

A lipectomy may help shape the abdomen, buttocks, hips, and sometimes the thighs in one procedure. It is often referred to as post-weight loss surgery as it is common for those that have undergone significant weight loss.

Dr Briggs is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon in Melbourne and has experience performing body lift surgery.

Massive weight loss can cause ample folds of excess loose skin on the belly, lower back, upper arms, and other areas. A 360-tummy tuck/Abdominoplasty is one of the ways to remove excess skin.

After gaining significant weight, your skin stretches. Therefore, it stands to reason that your skin may not return to its original after weight loss. This can also result from less skin elasticity and reduced collagen production as we age.

During the belt lipectomy procedure, Dr Briggs will make an incision and remove excess fat and skin around the abdomen, this incision will then be closed, the patient will be rotated and the fat and excess skin will be removed from the lower back and belly, this incision will then be closed. Bandages will be applied and your surgeon may fit you with a compression garment.

Am I a candidate for Belt Lipectomy?

Weight loss from gastric or bariatric surgery can leave patients with loose, excess skin. A belt lipectomy is suitable for patients that are struggling with excess skin folds.

These folds can leave patients feeling uncomfortable. They can also cause problems including:

  • Ulcerations and infections that are a result of skin rubbing and chaffing.
  • Swelling and rashes between skin folds
  • Discomfort during exercise
  • Problems with walking, urinating and intimacy
  • And, more.

What Are the Reasons Patients Choose Belt Lipectomy?

The procedure has a lot of potential reasons, including but not limited to:

  • Alter body shape: A belt lipectomy helps remove some of the excess skin and fat from the abdomen, back, and waistline.
  • Mobility: Patients with excess skin and fat around their midsection often experience discomfort and difficulty with movement. A belt lipectomy may assist mobility by reducing the amount of excess skin and fat in this area.
  • Reduced risk of skin irritation and infections: Excess skin and fat in the abdominal and back areas can lead to skin irritation and infections. A belt lipectomy removes this excess tissue, reducing the risk of these conditions.
  • Visible results: The results of a belt lipectomy are typically long-lasting (though they do not last forever), as long as the patient maintains a healthy diet and exercise routine.

About Belt Lipectomy surgery – what can I expect?

The aim of the belt lipectomy is to eliminate fat and redundant skin folds around the entire waist or belt line. Below is a rough idea of what will occur during your procedure.

You will be under general anesthesia, for the duration of the procedure.

A drug is injected to decrease blood loss after incision.

Then, the surgeon will make incisions and remove fat deposits and excess skin on both the lower back and the abdomen.

The incisions are then closed, and a temporary dressing is put on, (fat is preserved on areas that drain lymphatics).

The procedure takes about five hours, depending on the patient and the extent of the procedure.

Signs to look out for after surgery

After your surgery, ensure that you contact Dr Briggs and his team if you:

  • Have a fever
  • Discover your wound is red, swollen, or has pus
  • Find your wound is starting to come apart
  • Find your pain does not subside
  • Experience chest pains or labored breathing that worsen
  • Have bruises that are enlarged
  • Have any queries or concerns about anything
  • Feel that something is not right

Risks and complications of Belt Lipectomy

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks and potential complications associated with belt lipectomy. Some of the potential risks and complications may include:

  • Infection: This can occur at the incision site and in severe cases, it can spread throughout the body.
  • Bleeding: A potential risk with any surgical procedure, bleeding in some cases, may require a blood transfusion.
  • Scarring: While the incisions for a belt lipectomy are usually made in areas that can be easily hidden by clothing, poor scarring is still a possibility.
  • Numbness: Patients may experience numbness or loss of sensation around the surgical area. Numbness may be temporary or permanent.
  • Fluid accumulation (Seroma): A seroma is a common side effect of belt lipectomy. It may require needle drainage or additional surgery.
  • Blood clots (deep vein thrombosis – DVT): These can form after any surgical procedure, and if left untreated, can cause serious complications such as pulmonary embolism.
  • Anesthesia risks: Anesthesia carries risks, including allergic reactions and breathing difficulties.
  • Skin necrosis: Although rare, skin necrosis is a potential serious complication where the skin in and/or around the treatment area dies, and may require additional surgery.
  • Poor wound healing: Some patients may experience delayed or poor wound healing, which may also require additional treatments or surgery.

It is important to discuss the potential risks and complications of surgery with your plastic surgeon before deciding to undergo any procedure. Your surgeon can provide you with more information about the procedure and help you decide if it is suitable for you.

All surgical procedures bear some degree of risk. A belt lipectomy is not an exception. All surgery contains risks, read more here.

Dr Briggs will discuss your risk factors and potential complications during your consultation.

Healthy Lifestyle and recovery

Recovery after Belt Lipectomy

After your surgery, you will likely need to stay in the hospital for a few days for observation and monitoring.

Dressings, bandages, and binders will be bound around your abdomen and waistline to provide support, minimise discomfort and movement.

You will be given a prescription for both pain medication and antibiotics. It’s important you take these as your surgeon suggests to manage pain and minimise the chances of infection.

A small thin tube may also temporarily inserted under the skin to drain any excess fluid or blood that may accumulate in the surgical area.

It takes time to heal from surgery and a belt lipectomy is no exception, it is an extensive surgical procedure. You will ample time to need to rest and recover after surgery to avoid stretching or widening the scar post-surgery. A degree of numbness above and sometimes below the incision can be a side effect.

The recovery can feel lengthy. This is due to the fact, patients must avoid bending at the waist for approximately a month to ensure they heal correctly.

Resumption of daily activities can happen around three weeks post-surgery, but patients should avoid strenuous movement and exercise for several months. They should also get the all clear from their surgeon before resuming any of these activities.

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If you’d like more information about a particular surgery, please call our surgical support team on (03) 8849 1400 between 9am – 5am weekdays.

Minimising Scars after Belt Lipectomy

Please avoid subjecting your incision to abrasion or excessive force during the recovery period and healing time.

Our dermal team can assist with scar minimisation techniques including laser, Healite, skin needling and special bandages.

You can ask about scar minimisation during one of your post-surgery appointments.


Belt Lipectomy FAQs

What is the difference between a Belt Lipectomy and a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)?

  • A tummy tuck/abdominoplasty differs from a belt lipectomy because an abdominoplasty effectively treats only hanging abdominal tissue, mostly from the front of the abdomen.
  • In contrast, belt lipectomy, also known as a 360-Abdominoplasty, treats the whole circumference around the lower back.
  • Patients with fat pockets and loose skin extending to the lower back are potential candidates for a belt lipectomy procedure.

How much is a Belt Lipectomy?

  • The cost changes depending on multiple factors, including; what procedures you need, the extent of the procedure, the surgeon fees, the hospital you stay in, how long you need to stay in hospital, the anesthetist fee, whether post surgery appointments are included in the cost and several other factors.
  • You will be given a quote with a cost break down at a consultation with the surgeon once they assess you and determine the extent of the procedure.

How should I sleep after the Belt Lipectomy  surgery?

  • After discharge from hospital, we advise patients to sleep with the head of the bed elevated using 4-5 pillows and keeping the knees bent, sometimes patients will sleep in a recliner post surgery.
  • patients should sleep at around a 45-degree angle for at least four weeks.
    • This is to reduce pressure and strain on the incisions

Paying for Belt Lipectomy surgery

Patients can pay for Belt Lipectomy surgery through various methods. These methods include:

  1. Payment in full at the time of the procedure using accepted payment methods such as credit cards (such as Visa, Mastercard), buy now, pay-later products (such as Afterpay, Openpay, Zip Pay) may also be available.
  2. Non-commercial payment arrangements between the medical practitioner and patient, where the payment is made in installments.
  3. Medicare rebates, if the surgery is considered medically necessary. (this will not cover the total cost and patients will still have out of pocket costs)
  4. Private health insurance, if the patient has an appropriate level of cover. (This is unlikely to cover the total cost and patients may still have out of pocket costs)

It is important to note that we do not encourage patients to take on debt or access their superannuation to pay for cosmetic surgery. Additionally, we do not offer or recommend financing schemes to patients, such as loans or commercial payment plans.

Medicare, payment plans and funding Belt Lipectomy Surgery in Melbourne

Paying For A Belt Lipectomy

Some Belt Lipectomy- Circumferential Abdominoplasty procedures may be eligible for Medicare.

Purely cosmetic surgery Belt Lipectomy procedures are NOT covered by Medicare or private health insurance so you must fund the cost of the surgery yourself.

How to find a Belt Lipectomy surgeon in Melbourne

Always choose an experienced plastic surgeon with the right qualifications, look at their online reviews and before and after patient photos.

If you are interested in having a belt lipectomy, Dr Briggs may be able to help you.

Your surgical results will depend on the surgeon you choose. Since belt lipectomy is a major procedure, you’ll need a surgeon with experience performing belt lipectomy procedures.

In Australia, a plastic surgeon must have the following qualifications:

  1. An undergraduate degree in medicine, typically a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree.
  2. A minimum of two years of general medical training as a junior hospital doctor.
  3. Completion of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) surgical education and training program, which includes at least five years of accredited surgical training, with at least two years in plastic and reconstructive surgery.
  4. Fellowship with the RACS (Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Plastic surgeons in Australia must also be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and adhere to the standards and guidelines set forth by the Medical Board of Australia.

You also want to ensure the surgeon you choose has:

  • Extensive experience in different types of Abdominoplasty Surgeries.
  • Available Patient Before and After Photos
  • Detailed recovery plans
  • A reliable support team.
Best Belt Lipectomy Specialist Plastic Surgeons in Melbourne


The information provided in this article is for educational and informational proposes. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article. The author and publisher of this article make no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, or completeness of the content of this article. The information contained in this article is strictly at your own risk.

Dr Patrick Briggs Melbourne

Dr Patrick Briggs FRACS (Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) is a Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon.

Both he and his team are dedicated to patient care and are committed to treating each and every patient with respect and privacy.

Furthermore, he is experienced in BreastBody and Face Surgery having performed over 4500 Surgeries in private practice.

How can we help?

Dr Briggs’ Patient Coordinators take pleasure in assisting you with any questions when considering a plastic surgery procedure. Please call the Hawthorn East clinic in Melbourne between 9 AM – 5 PM on Weekdays.

Phone (03) 8849 1400 Or Email us.

What Next?

Want more information about your Procedure?

  • For more information about pricing and payment methods, please visit our page on Surgery Payment options.
  • Talk to our Patient Care Team from 8 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday on (03) 8849 1400.

What to Bring to Your Consultation

  • If you like, please bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices.
  • Take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents your surgeon provides.
  • You may need to undress so it’s a good idea to wear simple clothes.

How to Book a Consultation

  • Dr Briggs’ Consultation fee is $300.
  • A referral from your GP or your specialist is essential (as of the 1st July 2023).
  • Please contact the Patient Care Team at Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery to book your consultation.

Further Reading – Medical References 

  1. Carloni, Raphael, et al. “Are There Factors Predictive of Postoperative Complications in Circumferential Contouring of the Lower Trunk? A Meta-Analysis.” Aesthetic Surgery Journal, vol. 36, no. 10, Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. 1143–54.
  2. ElKafrawy, Hossam, and Sherif Wasief. “Circular Abdominoplasty (Belt Lipectomy) in Obese Patients.” Body Contouring and Sculpting, BoD–Books on Demand, 2016, p. 109.
  3. Pajula, Susanna, et al. “Complications after Lower Body Contouring Surgery Due to Massive Weight Loss Unaffected by Weight Loss Method.” Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery, vol. 72, no. 4, Elsevier, 2019, pp. 649–55.
  4. Belt Lipectomy – Circumferential Abdominoplasty for Excess Skin Removal After Massive Weight loss in Melbourne