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Tummy Tuck Vs Liposuction: What Do I Need for My Abdomen?

If you have stubborn fat or excess skin on your stomach that does not respond to diet or exercise and hangs on no matter what you do, you are not alone. This is a common situation and the good news is there are cosmetic surgeries that can correct these issues.

If you research surgical cosmetic treatments that target the abdomen, you will likely find a bunch of information comparing a tummy tuck vs liposuction. What is the difference? How do you know which one is right for your needs?

Today’s article will look at lipo vs tummy tuck and discuss some of the differences and similarities between these two procedures.

What Is The Difference Between A Tummy Tuck And Liposuction?

The goals of liposuction and a tummy tuck are similar but they are two different surgical techniques and are often done together for optimal results. To understand both of these cosmetic procedures, let’s look at the lipo vs tummy tuck surgeries individually.

Comparing A Tummy Tuck vs Lipo Procedures

A tummy tuck is also called an abdominoplasty and is done to remove unwanted fat and skin from the stomach often after experiencing significant weight loss. A tummy tuck can also repair torn or stretched abdominal muscles that were damaged due to obesity or pregnancy.

Depending on the amount of correction needed, patients can opt for varying degrees of tummy tucks ranging from a full tummy tuck to a mini tummy tuck.

Tummy tuck procedure

  • General anesthesia;
  • Incisions that vary in length and placement depending on the type of tummy tuck being performed;
  • Abdominal muscles are pulled back together and sutured in place;
  • Liposuction (as an optional part) is used to remove excess fat;
  • Excess skin and tissue are cut away and removed;
  • The remaining skin is pulled taut and sutured in place.

Liposuction procedure

  • General or local anesthesia;
  • Very small incisions are made to insert a special surgical tool called a cannula (a hollow tube). A special fluid is injected under the skin to numb the treatment areas and make it easier to remove the fat;
  • The cannula is placed under the skin and is used to remove excess fat. The surgeon will use gentle motions with the cannula moving it back and forth while the unwanted fat is vacuumed out;
  • The surgeon will remove the cannula and close the small incisions.

There is much more involved in a tummy tuck vs liposuction and the results are more dramatic. In summary, a tummy tuck tones and eliminates loose saggy skin and fat and lipo removes excess fat deposits from under the skin.

What Areas Can Be Treated with Lipo vs Tummy Tuck

Both a tummy tuck and liposuction offer benefits to patients who desire a more contoured slimmer physique. If you desire to remove fat from multiple areas of your body, you will need liposuction vs tummy tuck. A tummy tuck is most often performed in the abdominal area while liposuction can be performed in many different locations such as the thighs, upper arms, back, buttocks, bra line, flanks, hips, waist, and stomach.

Lipo 360 can be performed to create more substantial contouring and involves removing excess fat deposits not only in the tummy area but also in the upper and lower back, flanks, and around the entire midsection.

If the patient has an abundance of loose skin such as after a significant weight loss they would be best served by a tummy tuck vs lipo 360 as liposuction does not remove excess skin and only removes the fat deposits.

360° VASER Liposuction Before And After
360° VASER liposuction Before And After

Benefits of Tummy Tuck vs Lipo

Tummy tuck

  • Improved appearance;
  • Boosts self-confidence;
  • Helps clothing fit better;
  • Improves posture and reduces back pain;
  • Will correct certain hernias;
  • Reduces urinary incontinence.

Liposuction

  • Gets rid of stubborn fat that was resistant to diet and exercise;
  • Permanently removes fat cells;
  • Improves your appearance;
  • Helps clothes fit better;
  • Boosts your self-esteem.

Who Is A Candidate for Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck

The cosmetic surgeon will determine if a patient is a good candidate for a tummy tuck or liposuction based on a few factors. Some of the factors that qualify a patient for one of these procedures are listed in the chart below.

Lipo vs Tummy Tuck Candidate Qualifications Chart
Liposuction Tummy Tuck
The patient is within 30% of their ideal body weight The patient is at or close to their ideal body weight
Non-smokers
The patient has good skin elasticity & muscle tone The patient has excess skin from a significant weight loss that has lost elasticity
The patient is In overall good health
The patient does not have bleeding disorders or any medical condition that would prevent healing
The patient has stubborn fat deposits that do not respond to diet and exercise The patient has lax abdominal muscles, excess fat, and sagging skin
The patient has realistic expectations of the procedure results

What Results to Expect After Tummy Tuck vs Liposuction

Both a tummy tuck and liposuction have similar goals when performed on the abdominal area, however, a more dramatic outcome will be experienced in patients who undergo a tummy tuck vs lipo alone.

Tummy Tuck Results

After a tummy tuck, the patient’s abdominal muscles will be stronger and their posture improved. Their waist will be smaller and there will be no excess skin in the abdominal areas but it will be more toned and slimmer-looking. The results of a tummy tuck will be long-lasting provided the patient adheres to a healthy lifestyle and does not gain weight.

Liposuction Results

After liposuction, the patient’s stomach will be flatter, more proportional, defined, and smoother. The fat cells that are removed during liposuction are gone forever, they will not return. If the patient gains weight after undergoing liposuction it may collect in unusual places. Patients should eat healthily and exercise to maintain the results of their liposuction surgery.

Recovery After Tummy Tuck vs Liposuction

Tummy Tuck Recovery

Most patients who undergo a tummy tuck are fully recovered within about 6 to eight weeks. It will be very important that no strain or pressure is exerted on the new incisions until they have had ample time to bind together and heal.

Patients will be given aftercare instructions to follow regarding keeping their wounds clean and dry and maintaining any drains they may have. They must wear compression garments after their surgery to help minimize swelling and bruising. Patients are given prescription pain medication to help ease discomfort and will not be able to stand or sleep straight for a few days. Most patients find that sleeping in a recliner is the most comfortable and does not require the use of their abdominal muscles to get up.

There will be restrictions on lifting for several weeks so enlisting help with small children or pets will be necessary. Patients will need to be cleared by the surgeon before returning to work and other activities.

Liposuction Recovery

Depending on the extent of the liposuction procedure, the recovery can be just a few weeks to six weeks. Patients are required to wear compression garments after liposuction to mitigate swelling and bruising. These garments also help to hold the newly formed contours.

Most patients do not experience much pain until the day after the procedure because the treatment areas are still numb from the solution used during the surgery. Patients will be discharged to return home with instructions on caring for their incision sites and drains if applicable. The surgeon will also provide them with prescription pain medication to ease discomfort.

Normally after the first week or so, any pain or stiffness will be mild and can be controlled with over-the-counter medications.

Patients are not given any sleeping restrictions after liposuction vs a tummy tuck where they must sleep at an angle after surgery. They are encouraged to take it very easy for the first few days and rest but not to remain sedentary in the days that follow. Vigorous exercise or lifting heavy objects can normally resume after about six weeks and the surgeon has given the “all clear”. And like a tummy tuck, you will need to get some help around the house and with the kids for a few days (not for as long as with a tummy tuck).

Most of the swelling, soreness, and bruising usually disappear by the third week but residual swelling can last for six months masking the final results of the surgery.

Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck: Which One Is Right For You?

Multiple factors must be considered when determining between liposuction and a tummy tuck. Both procedures are designed to improve the appearance of your abdominal area making it flatter, tighter, and more toned but each provides different results and uses a different technique.

A cosmetic surgeon would be best able to examine the patient and depending on their needs and aesthetic goals recommend the procedure that would deliver optimal results.

To learn more about if a tummy tuck vs liposuction might be right for you, or if your needs would be best served with a combination of both procedures, contact Surgicare Arts & Aesthetics to schedule a consultation. Dr. Angelina Posteov, MD, FACS is not only a triple-board certified cosmetic surgeon but a talented skilled artist in body contouring.

Angelina Postoev, MD, FACS, a triple board-certified plastic surgeon, and Christopher Ibikunle, MD, FACS, offer tummy tuck and liposuction treatments for men and women in Lawrenceville, Suwanee, Johns Creek, and the surrounding areas of Georgia. To learn more about these body contouring procedures, contact us today to schedule a personal consultation.

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