People often come to my practice because they are unhappy with the appearance of their midsections. They want a firmer, flatter, and more toned abdomen, but they are unsure which body contouring procedure is best for them. A tummy tuck and liposuction are 2 procedures that effectively sculpt your midsection, but they work to improve different areas.
If you’re wondering which would be the best procedure to achieve your goals, keep reading. I’ll explain the differences between a tummy tuck and liposuction and show you some before and after pictures that demonstrate their benefits.
What Does a Tummy Tuck Do?
A tummy tuck, also called an abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that improves the appearance of your abdominal area. It’s often chosen by people who want to diminish changes in their midsection caused by aging, weight fluctuations, or pregnancy. Some of these changes include skin laxity and weakened abdominal muscles.
During a tummy tuck, your plastic surgeon will create an incision very low on your abdomen from hip to hip and another incision around your navel to release the stalk from the rest of the skin. They then lift the abdominal skin, repair separated or weakened muscles (if necessary), and pull the skin taut, removing any excess skin. The result is a smoother, tighter abdomen and reshaped appearance around the bellybutton. The procedure takes around 3 to 4 hours, and you will be given general anesthesia to keep you comfortable.
What Areas Can A Tummy Tuck Improve?
You can improve the following areas with a tummy tuck:
- Weakened abdominal muscles
- Excess skin
- Skin laxity
- Misshapen bellybutton
Depending on where you have stretch marks, they might also be removed during the surgery.
What Does Liposuction Do?
Liposuction is a surgical procedure that targets pockets of stubborn fat on your body and is often used to improve the midsection, contour the waist, and slim the hips and thighs. Your surgeon will use a cannula to extract fat from the desired areas during the procedure. Typically, patients must be close to their ideal weight to achieve optimal benefits from liposuction.
Is a Tummy Tuck or Liposuction Best for Me?
Consider the issues you want to improve when deciding between a tummy tuck or liposuction.
Weak Abdominal Muscles and Excess, Sagging Skin
To improve loose skin and separated abdominal muscles, your best option is a tummy tuck. Liposuction can reduce fat deposits and contour your abdomen but can’t address slackened muscles or excess and sagging skin.
Flabby, Undefined Midsection
Liposuction is a good option if you only want to reduce stubborn fat deposits on your midsection that don’t respond to diet and exercise. Candidates for liposuction need to have healthy, elastic skin that can easily conform to their new contours after the procedure.
Post-Pregnancy Abdominal Changes
Our patients who have undergone a pregnancy often feel dissatisfied due to loose, sagging skin on their abdomen. Although you can lose excess abdominal fat with diet and exercise, no amount of exercise can remove the excess skin caused by pregnancy or significant weight fluctuations.
A tummy tuck and liposuction are not weight loss procedures. It’s important to be close to your ideal weight for both procedures to reap the benefits and enjoy a smooth recovery. If you have a lot of extra weight to lose, try to lose the weight through diet and exercise before you consider a tummy tuck or liposuction.
Can I Combine a Tummy Tuck and Liposuction?
Yes, you can combine these 2 procedures and achieve excellent results. Liposuction, when combined with a tummy tuck, can reduce excess fat in your midsection for an overall contoured and toned look. It can also slim your love handles and flanks so your tummy tuck results look even better.
Only some people will be good candidates to combine procedures, so talk to your plastic surgeon about whether this is an option for you. Your plastic surgeon will consider your body goals, overall health, and desired results to determine if you will benefit from a combination of tummy tuck and liposuction.
What Is the Recovery Process for a Tummy Tuck and Liposuction?
Recovery is more extensive after a tummy tuck than liposuction, although you’ll need to wear a compression garment after either procedure. Full recovery from a tummy tuck can take up to 6 weeks, whereas liposuction recovery is approximately 4 to 6 weeks, depending on the areas treated. You can manage discomfort with pain medication after a tummy tuck and liposuction.
Read this previous blog to learn how to prepare for your tummy tuck.
Whether you choose a tummy tuck, liposuction, or both, you need an experienced plastic surgeon who can give you excellent and long-lasting results. You can see more of our patients’ before and after photos in our photo gallery. To learn more about how tummy tuck and liposuction can benefit you, request a consultation or call us at (407) 218-4550 to schedule an appointment.
For more from Dr. Soto about the two procedures, watch our youtube segment on the differences in treatments: