Circumferential Abdominoplasty – Tummy Tuck and Body Lift Options

Lipectomy: Circumferential Abdominoplasty or Belt Lipectomy

Extended Tummy Tuck Surgery: An Alternative to traditional Abdominoplasty Methods after Bariatric Surgery 

Abdominal surgeries are a key part of body contouring after weight loss, which typically involves skin reduction, fat reductions, liposuction contouring and other body-contouring skin surgery. A Lipectomy (or Belt Lipectomy/extended Tummy Tuck) involves more side and back (side and upper hip areas as well as tummy fat, along with reducing sagging skin).


Tummy Tuck Guide Download


+-What is the difference between a Lipectomy and Abdominoplasty Surgery (Tummy Tuck)?

  • Both an Abdominoplasty and a Belt Lipectomy (Circumferential Abdominoplasty) give an excellent appearance enhancement to the abdominal area.
  • Both are major surgeries and should be done in fully accredited hospitals by highly experienced Plastic Surgeons who are experts in body contouring for skin folds after weight loss.
  • But a Belt Lipectomy is slightly more involved and often a slightly longer surgery,
  • Patients are turned during the surgery in order to help sculpt and contour the hip area as well as the Abdominal area.
  • This can make recovery slightly more uncomfortable but for some patients will get more pleasing results.

+-Are the scars different between an Abdominoplasty 'Tummy Tuck' and Lipectomy (Circumferential Abdominoplasty)?

  • Incisions and scarring may be more extensive for a lipectomy vs abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck).
  • A Belt Lipectomy scar often goes further around the hip area and somewhat into the lower back/rear hip area.
    Scarring from body contouring can fade over the first 12 to 18 months after your surgery.
  • There are things you can do to help your scars heal more quickly.
  • Surgeons do aim to place incisions where Tummy Tuck or Lipectomy scars can be ‘hidden’ or disguised under certain types of clothing.
  • Phone 03 8849 1444 if you’d like to see a Surgeon and review some before and after photos of scars.

+-What other body contouring surgery is popular after losing weight?

  • Other Body Lift/Body Contouring procedures include arm lift, thigh lift or buttock lift procedures. 
  • There are also upper back body lifts as well as breast lifts, back lifts and face or neck lift procedures.
  • Many surgery patients sequence their operations and may have these over several months or years.
  • Your Plastic Surgeon can guide you on sequencing to attain the best possible overall result from various body contouring procedures.

+-What sequence or surgery order should I choose for Body Contouring Surgery after weight Loss re Abdominoplasty, Lipectomy, Breast Lift, Arm Reduction or other Procedures

  • Combined or Sequential Procedures may be an option but Medicare usually forbids combined procedures (or has multiple procedure rules) for body contouring after weight loss or Bariatric Surgery.
  • It depends on you, your Surgeon and what you’re wanting prioritised
  • A patient who has several areas of concern may undertake multiple procedures during one session, OR may engage in combined procedures undertaken in a sequential order.  There often needs to be adequate in-between surgery times for full recovery and healing, and this is something patients discuss with their Plastic Surgeon.
  • Every patient is different, so it’s really up to you and your Surgeon as to what order — or combination — will help you get the results you’re wanting with a BODY LIFT procedure.
  • Sometimes multiple procedures in one session makes a lot of sense for a patient; but other times multiple surgeries at once are simply not appropriate for that patient OR would interfere with healing.

The best order for ANY body lift surgery, however, is typically to start with whichever area of your body that is bothering you the most. Your Surgeon can also discuss sequential preferences in terms of what might make for the best outcomes in terms of the order of complimentary surgeries, as well as which procedures can be combined. But the order or your surgeries should be a fully collaborative decision as well as a well-informed decision: and having realistic expectations about potential surgery outcomes, and surgical risks, is a must.

+-Excess Skin - choices in what to operate on first

There may be a number of choices, however, for Abdominal procedures and other Body Lift surgeries

Some Surgeons prefer to work from the lower part of the body upwards, others the other way around — but an Abdominoplasty is usually one of the earlier procedures for most post-weight change patients.

A post-weight change patient is someone who tends to be suffering from excess, sagging skin folds and an exercise-resistant bulging belly AFTER experiencing significant weight changes such as from Bariatric Surgery, post-pregnancy or after menopause.


Body Lifts and Choices – A Collaboration between you and your Surgeon

If you’re not sure where to begin, one of Specialist Surgeons or Patient Care Coordinators can help you assess which area can help make the greatest differences for you in terms of your appearance.  They can also help you to choose a procedure that can help with the reduction of recurring skin infections or skin-and-fat related back, neck or shoulder pain.  Surgery is NOT a substitute for exercise and good nutrition, however – and weight should be stable for at least six months and ideally for 12 months.

How some patients choose which areas of their body to focus on first 

Other patients sometimes determine where to start with Body Lift surgeries by FIRST focusing on whichever body area has the greatest amount of excess skin folds or sagging, loose and over-stretched skin that they find most bothersome or embarrassing, as well as prone to recurring skin infections or an imbalance in their physique.

For some patients this is the upper arm area as it cannot always be covered; but for many patients, this is the Tummy or Belly area, because it’s the area they notice most and feel distracted by — and hence Abdominoplasty is commonly one of the earlier surgeries engaged in for body-lift and contouring patients.




Are you concerned about:

  • having excess, baggy skin around your tummy, waistline, hips and lower back (your circumference)?
  • a protruding belly and bulging hips or buttocks, surrounded by loose and sagging skin?
  • flappy-looking skin across your belly and lower body including thighs – despite exercise and good nutrition?
  • stubborn fat and saggy skin tissue around what was once a more defined waistline?
  • lax muscles which may have been damaged during pregnancy or surgery?
  • a protruding belly that lacks a feminine shape?
  • a puffy-looking lower pubic area that lacks a masculine or feminine shape?
  • an indistinguishable waistline that looks like you still might be about to give birth long after you last had a child?
  • looking particularly ‘bottom heavy’ and out of balance in relation to your upper body?

You may be a candidate for either a Belt Lipectomy or a Tummy Tuck

A belt lipectomy can result in a less-bulky, less-out-of-balance lower body appearance. It can help give you more pleasing lower body contours, as well as a flatter stomach and a more attractive hip and waist area.

Our leading Plastic Surgeons for Belt Lipectomy Abdominoplasty Surgery in Melbourne and Sydney use precise body contouring and shaping techniques with additional liposuction if necessary to get a great overall result, as well as Rapid Recovery healing protocols to help with your post-surgical recovery.  If you’re not sure if a Belt Lipectomy or a standard Tummy Tuck will suit you best, ask one of our Leading Surgeons. A Patient Care Coordinator can help answer your preliminary questions and get you in touch with one of our Surgeons for a consultation.

Our Melbourne team also offers you FRAXEL treatments to minimize your post-abdominoplasty scarring — and there’s quite a long incision required for a Belt Lipectomy -so Fraxel may really help (so does having patience, for scars settle significantly over the first 12 months post-surgery).

The information we provide is of a general nature and does not take into account an individual patient’s history, pre-existing surgeries or conditions or specific surgery and appearance goals.  Results can vary significantly from Patient to Patient. Read more about surgical outcome variability and individual patient results on our Disclaimer Page.



Our Surgeons can also help you get a ‘whole body’ makeover after either pregnancy, menopause or weight change.

With an Belt Lipectomy (Circumferential Abdominoplasty) procedure, you can regain*

  • smoother stomach and lower body contours
  • smoother, tighter belly skin and less sagging thighs or buttocks
  • a curvier, natural looking waistline and lower torso area – without excess skin and fat stores
  • an attractive, natural-looking naval area
  • more choices in clothing including beach wear, lingerie and summer clothing
  • body confidence and a more contoured, smooth yet shapely body
  • a restored sense of your sexuality (males and females)

*Individual results vary

Why DRAIN-FREE procedures 

Drain free surgery procedures not only help with post-surgical healing and recovery processes, we understand that Circumferential Abdominoplasty drains are often very uncomfortable for patients.  Drains themselves can also be a source site for infections (a risk). So where ever possible, our Surgeons will use NO DRAIN procedures for your Abdominoplasty surgery procedures.

Combined Procedure Options

If you want BREAST and TUMMY surgery, these are often referred to as “Mummy Makeover” or “Daddy Makeover” surgery procedures — which may involve a series of sequential surgeries to help you get the specific body-makeover look you’re wanting after having children.  This can include breast augmentation, breast lift or breast reduction (for men it’s breast reduction for Gynaecomastia).

Read more on our body procedure pages.

Please also be aware that individual surgical outcomes can vary significantly from patient to patient.

Be sure to discuss your appearance aims and your expectations and ideal outcomes with your Surgeon who can help you assess whether or not your expectations for your surgery outcome is (a) achievable and (b) realistic for your body shape and current appearance or fitness levels.


If you’re not sure which of our Specialist Plastic Surgeons to select, a Patient Care Coordinator can help answer your questions and help you decide which particular Plastic Surgeon will best suit your personality, your physique concerns, your preferred procedures and overall appearance goals.

In addition to our Melbourne specialists, we have elite Plastic Surgeons available in Sydney. You can read about our Sydney surgeons on the Sydney Plastic Surgery pages.

Belt Lipectomy Procedure Information: What is a Belt Lipectomy or Circumferential Abdominoplasty?

Abdominoplasty procedures include a variety of Tummy Tucks and are often part of a ‘body lift” sequence of body contouring procedures, many of which might also include liposuction.

The main purpose of body lift procedures is to shift residual or stubborn pockets of fat from certain areas of the body and to reduce excess, sagging skin folds – which result from lost skin elasticity after major weight changes or after pregnancy.

Body lifts and Abdominoplasty surgeries also may involve repair of umbilical or abdominal-area hernias and underlying abdominal muscle damage, such as tears, which lead to a protruding stomach.

Although not all surgeons do this, Our Plastic Surgeons feel you cannot get a great result from most Abdominoplasty procedures unless you also perform a precisely-planned surgical procedure that also includes repair of hernias or muscle tears.  This includes the belt lipectomy procedure, which for best results often includes abdominal muscle repairs.

Tummy Tuck Abdominoplasty procedures can vary widely, but they are often called body lift or body contouring procedures, and the BELT LIPECTOMY falls into this category of procedures. 

Suitable Candidates for Circumferential Abdominoplasty

These types of surgeries are suitable for post-weight loss patients who once suffered from obesity, and who are now at a stable weight but have excess folds of skin. They are also popular amongst women who have lost their ‘tummy firmness’ or ‘tummy tone’ after having children or amongst men who suffer from heavy lower body skin or a ‘pear-shaped’ body.

A circumferential abdominoplasty – known as “a belt lipectomy” –firmly falls into the category of a “body lift” procedure and is sometimes simply CALLED a body lift procedure. That’s because this particular form of a Tummy Tuck-style operation reduces the excess skin, fat and tissue that lies around the hips and waistline area as well as the lower back.

The main areas for change with a belt lipectomy are the lower abdomen and hip area – the ‘belt’ area – which happens to be the area of the body most likely to have stubborn pockets of fat or excess, sagging skin folds.

How much fat and skin tissue is excised and reduced during a belt lipectomy?

The size or width of the area modified by your belt lipectomy will depends upon the amount of extra skin and fat that you have.

For some patients, the area of skin-removal can be as wide as over 21 cm or greater. It does vary and will depends on each individual patient.

Following excision-based reduction of the tissue in this “belt” area of excess skin or fat distribution, your upper skin and tissue is then pulled down whilst your lower skin and tissue area is pulled up — giving you a tighter, rejuvenated body — including your tummy, back, hips and waistline as well as your thighs or buttocks.

For certain physiques, this can give you a wonderfully smoothing abdominal and hip/waist effect and a rejuvenated abdominal and hip area.

Scarring after a Belt Lipectomy

The scar for a Circumferential Abdominoplasty WILL wind all the way around your body.

Most scars tend to fade quite dramatically over the first 12 or more months after surgery; and to help reduce your scarring, our Melbourne team offers you FRAXEL laser scar minimisation treatments during your post-op healing period.  This treatment can significantly reduce the formation of scars – which, again, usually fade over time but are otherwise permanent.

How does a Belt Lipectomy vary from a Tummy Tuck?

Tummy tucks tend to best suit loose, hanging abdominal tissue (sagging skin) if your excess fat is located primarily in the front (and somewhat to the side) of their abdomen; e.g. mostly front-based skin and fat.

Many individuals, however, have significant loose tissue that can extend further around their entire waist and lower body.  This cannot always be corrected with a more traditional tummy tuck, even with added liposuction contouring of the waist, hip or naval areas.

So if you have more ‘circumferential’ fat distribution rather than mostly in the front of your abdominal area, then a belt lipectomy may offer you better surgical results than a different Tummy Tuck procedure.*

Technical Complexity and Time in Theatre – A Belt Lipectomy (Circumferential Abdominoplasty) is often a more complex and extensive surgery than other types of Abdominoplasty surgeries. It also involves a longer incision.

Tummy Tucks with Liposuction may work quite well if you have mostly localized fat deposits and front-focused excess skin; but if you have a lot of cellulite, stretch-marked and saggy, flappy skin or lax muscles, you’ll often get more pleasing results from having a Circumferential Abdominoplasty.

In essence, it gives a more complete-looking lower body lift for some patients; as it also helps take care of flabby, sagging buttocks and thighs, as well as reducing localised belly fat and excess skin — all in the same operation


Surgery Risks and potential complications

General Anaesthesia Most healthy patients respond well to general anaesthesia as modern techniques are very safe. Our team will provide you with the details of your anaesthetists prior to your surgery to discuss any specific concerns.

Bleeding (Haematoma) – This may require a visit to the operating theatre to remove the blood clot.

Infection – Your Surgeon will prescribe you with antibiotics and monitor you closely.

Delayed Wound Healing – Your Surgeon and Nurse coordinator will manage the healing process. This usually occurs within patients who are overweight, smokers or who have an infection.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Fluid build-up (Seroma)

Scarring – (every effort is made to place the scar within the areas covered by high cut swimwear or underwear).   Initially there is almost always some contour issues or puckers. These settle over the months but sometimes may require a small revision often under local anaesthetic. Scars continue to mature    and improve for up to 18 months after surgery. Stretch marks may not all be removed or new ones may be created. You will receive 3 Fraxel Laser treatments approximately 8 weeks post-surgery to manage and improve scarring with our Dermal Clinician.

Numbness – This  will occur 100% of the time and mostly settles over the months and up to 1-2 years.

Asymmetry –    There may be irregular ridges and crease to both sides. Scars may be slightly different on your right compared to you left side.

Umbilical Malposition/Loss – This is a very rare complication and may require further surgery.

Pain – This will be managed appropriately with pain medications and prompt aftercare.

All successful surgery outcomes are the result of realistic expectations of the patient, realistic surgical goals and the knowledge of possible risks and complications. Nothing is ever guaranteed in science and medicine. Risks are minimised through careful patient screening and planning, high standards of surgical training, meticulous surgical technique and vigilant post-operative care. Small, less serious issues are common and every effort is made to resolve them quickly. These rarely have long term effect on an excellent final result.


Our approach to recovery is simple. We do whatever we can to get you back to your normal life as soon as possible.

Our team is dedicated to keeping you as comfortable as possible during your pre-op sessions, your surgical procedure and your post-operative healing period. It is important that you follow your Surgeon’s post-op instructions and allow yourself adequate down time to heal.

Surgeries should never be taken lightly, and all surgeries tend to involve some degrees of pain.

Individuals are different in how they experience pain, however, so it can be difficult to predict exactly how much pain you will personally experience after your Belt Lipectomy surgery — there are just so many variables.   But we offer patients DRAIN FREE procedures, which often means less pain during recovery, and because we operate in FULLY ACCREDITED HOSPITALS, you will have excellent pain management care during your initial recovery period, as well as pain management advice and support from our Care Team once you are home.

For your post-op care, we also supply healing products in a Science & Love” Rapid Recovery healing package. This pack includes products and protocols which can help accelerate your body’s healing processes and your recovery.  But do allow yourself adequate down time to heal.

If you have surgery with one of our leading Melbourne Surgeons, you’ll also get a FREE Healite II session, an award winning technology that facilitates healing and helps rejuvenate the skin.

If you’re concerned about pain, then please discuss your pain management needs with your Surgeon during your initial consultation and with your Surgeon or his Surgical Nurse or Patient Care Coordinator duringthe post-operative period so that we can help minimise your post-operative surgery pain.


Support for Overseas Surgery & Interstate Plastic Surgery Patients

Please visit our Interstate & Overseas Surgery Patient page to find out how Our Surgeons may be able to help you.

We also offer Revisional Surgery for ‘botched’ surgery including “medical tourism” procedures.  But we like to see Patients get the results they are after in their FIRST surgery experience, not a second Revisional surgery. Read more on the dangers of cheap medical tourism or discounted cosmetic surgery procedures.

NEXT STEPS on your Surgical Journey

Visit our FAQs pages, learn more about your procedure, have a look at our photo galleries and patient reviews.

How to Book your Initial Consultation

  • Email us or Call on (03) 8849 1400 to arrange your surgeon consultation appointment.
  • A Referral from your GP or from your Specialist is helpful but NOT essential – you can have a consultation without a GP Referral
  • Schedule a confidential consultation with your selected Specialist Surgeon by paying the $200 booking fee.

What to Bring to your Surgeon Consultation

  • Bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices
  • Take lots of notes and read the documents provided thoroughly
  • You may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes

Want more information before scheduling your Surgeon consultation?

  • Request more information about the procedure – call or contact us
  • Book a Complimentary Nurse Consultation (FREE)
  • Organize a phone call with Patient Coordinator (FREE)
  • Attend our Regular Practice EVENTS and hear from our of Plastic Surgeons and their top support team (FREE)
  • Organize a Skype call consultation with a Surgeon (available for Interstate patients)
  • Speak with a past patient that has had the procedure – call or contact us
  • Browse our Frequently Asked Questions including how to choose a Surgeon for your procedure

Please contact us using this form to arrange to book a consultation with one of our expert Specialist Plastic Surgeons or to speak with our Patient Care Coordinator.

Send a Confidential Enquiry form today.  Or phone us during business hours on (03) 8849 1444 and ask for one of our Patient Care Coordinators (Michelle or Donna).

Payment methods your Tummy (Abdominoplasty) Tuck Surgery

There are a number of payment methods options available – please read our Surgery Payment Methods page to find the best option for you.