What is the difference between a belt lipectomy and a lower body lift?

I am looking into getting surgery from losing almost 200 pounds. I have loose skin on my entire stomach (including my upper stomach) , my sides and hips, and the lower/sides of my back that I want removed. I know it's hard to say without an in person consulation, but based on my wants, should I be looking into a lower body lift or a belt lipectomy? What exactly is the difference between the two?

Doctor Answers 10

Body lift

One of the most popular procedures after massive weight loss is a lower body lift. If you are considering a lower body lift - this procedure (LBL) is also referred to as circumferential body lift = belt lipectomy. This procedure is essentially 3 procedures in one: extended tummy tuck + waist/lateral thigh lift + buttock lift. The buttock lift can also include buttock augmentation. The lateral thigh lift will help contour the lateral aspect of your thighs. The procedure can taken between 5-7 hours depending on the amount of tissue/skin that needs removal/treatment. Please see a board certified plastic surgeon to learn more about your options.

Dr. Sugene Kim

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

What is the difference between a belt lipectomy and a lower body lift?

Thank you for your excellent questions.  A belt lipectomy involves removing a band of skin tissue circumferentially around your torso/stomach region.  A lower body lift also removes a band of tissue circumferential around the body, but typically the lower abdomen in the front, and the gluteal region behind, resulting in a lower set scar.  A lower body lift also provides improvement to a patient's outer thighs and gluteal region to further enhance shape and contour.  The best operation for you would depend on an in-person assessment of your skin excess and laxity, as well as a frank discussion on your goals.  See a board certified plastic surgeon who can help you make the best treatment decision.  

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Belt Lipectomy vs Bodylift

Like the term belt suggests, a belt lipectomy removes a circumferential segment of excess tissue from the lower abdomen in the front and around to the back above the buttocks. The scar ends up circling the trunk like a belt would, though generally the scar is lower than a belt would lie in the front so the scar can be hidden by underwear or bathing suits.

Some surgeons would call a belt lipectomy a bodylift, because basically a bodylift involves a circumferential excision of excess tissue. In my patients, a bodylift combines a belt lipectomy with some form of thigh lift. The thigh lift scars can be joined into the abdominoplasty scars to get the benefit of 2 surgeries with 1 scar. This also cuts down on operating time and therefore cost because the combined incision is sutured once.

Cynthia L. Mizgala, MD
Metairie Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Different terms, similar goals

These terms are usually used interchangeably.  Nevertheless, any form of plastic surgery after weight loss is a highly customized procedure since each patient has unique motives and expectations, underlying anatomies, and severity of redundant skin. 

The first step is to have a personal consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon (i.e., certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery) who regularly performs body lift for massive weight loss patients. 

For photo reference, you might want to visit the link below. 

Good luck and best wishes. 

Tarick K. Smiley, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Body lift vs. belt lipectomy

Congratulations on your successful story. You should be very proud of yourself.

Back to the question.
Belt lipectomy is a circumferential reshaping of your lower body (abdomen and buttock).
Body lift can be interpreted as many things. Either addressing the buttock area only, the buttock or the lateral thighs, or some times all the way around.

At the end it does not matter what you call it. Just be specific about the areas that you want to address with your surgeon.

Best luck on your quest.
Julio Clavijo


Sadly this sort of misunderstanding happens all the time in plastic surgery. I can give you dozens of examples. Anatomic, tear drop, shaped breast implants is just one example. They are all the same!!!!

A belt lipectomy, body lift, circumferential abdominoplasty all aim to do the same thing, that is remove and tighten skin from your abdomen, lateral thigh and buttock. In addition there is usually some tightening of the muscles and lifting of your mons region.

You sound like you are an excellent candidate following your weight loss.

Whatever it is called, it is a highly satisfying operation for patients who have lost weight.

Best wishes


Richard Bloom, MBBS (Hons), FRACS
Melbourne Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

Differences Between A Belt Lipectomy And A Lower Body Lift

Your question underscores the fact that these terms are often used interchangeably, even by plastic surgeons. However, a lower body lift is actually different from a belt lipectomy.  Usually the scar from a belt lipectomy sits higher on the waistline, although it is a circumferential incision like a lower body lift.  

A lower body lift incision, on the other hand, usually drops down lower in the front than a belt lipectomy incision, down to the level of the mons pubis, along the inguinal creases, and then rides just over the iliac crest, around the flanks. and then drops down to a "seagull" shaped incision over the lower back and buttocks.  With this design, it is able to exert more of a lift on the lateral and medial thighs, as well as the mons pubis and the buttocks, which can also be auto augmented with some of the soft tissue and fat from the lower back and flanks.

Peter Lee, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

A True Lower Body Lift is NOT a Belt Lipectomy!

This topic is a pet peeve of mine...I even blogged about it a few years ago.  While the procedures mentioned all involve a scar around the waistline, it is only with a Lower Body Lift that you can reliably produce an outer thigh and buttock lift.
Be careful who you choose to have this operation with.  There is a difference!

Thomas P. Sterry, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

What is a belt lipectomy?

Congratulations on your weight loss.   A common first line of attack for patients who have lost weight is a body lift procedure. Most plastic surgeons refer to a body lift as a circumferential body lift = belt lipectomy = lower body lift. This procedure is essentially 3 procedures in one: extended tummy tuck + waist/lateral thigh lift + buttock lift (with the option of buttock augmentation). Again, a physical exam would be needed to make any recommendations. Please visit with a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery to learn more about your options.
Best wishes,

Dr. Basu
Houston, TX

C. Bob Basu, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 209 reviews

Terms used interchangeably but...

These two terms are used interchangeably by most plastic surgeons. Some  like to use lower body lift as a more extensive procedure with dissection of the outer thigh area and lifting the thigh as well. Again, most plastic surgeon would do some degree of this as well during a belt lipectomy. In the end a clinical examination is necessary to determine the appropriate procedure and its compoenents. 

Hisham Seify, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.