When some patients with circumferential truncal excess undergo traditional abdominoplasty, the trunk is not addressed as a unit. Belt lipectomy, a procedure that combines abdominoplasty with circumferential excision of skin and fat, is often more ideal for these patients. In this article, the authors review the literature on belt lipectomy and evaluate their series of 32 patients who underwent belt lipectomy at the University of Iowa. The evolution and current preoperative markings, intraoperative surgical technique, and postoperative care are described. The patients' charts and their preoperative and postoperative photographs were examined retrospectively. It was found that belt lipectomy improved abdominal contour, abdominal wall laxity, mons pubis ptosis, back rolls, waist contour, and buttocks contour. Initially, the procedure was performed on post-weight-reduction patients only, but its indications were extended to three other groups: patients who were 30 to 50 pounds overweight, patients of normal weight who desired a significant overall truncal improvement, and an obese patient with persistent intraabdominal excess. The improvements were significant in all groups of patients except for the latter patient. Complications included a 37.5 percent seroma rate, a 9.3 percent pulmonary embolus rate, and one dehiscence that required reoperation. The authors concluded that belt lipectomy should be seriously considered for patients who present with circumferential truncal excess and for a select group of normal-weight patients. It is not recommended for the obese patient with excessive intraabdominal content. Furthermore, belt lipectomy should be undertaken only in patients who are well informed about the possible risks and complications.
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