Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck.
This is an age-old plastic surgery question that both patients & surgeons have struggled with. In except the most obvious cases, there is no one right answer for everyone. There are many individualized factors that come in to play. Both liposuction and tummy tucks have their advantages and certain downsides.
What is Liposuction?
Simply put, liposuction is the suctioning of fat from the body. Now it’s more complicated than that, as liposuction technique approaches an art form. Removing fat in the right amount from the right areas to achieve body contouring, requires an artistic eye. So liposuction is ideally suited to remove fatty deposits from around the body. The other lesser known effect of liposuction is skin tightening. We routinely see at least 50% skin tightening after a liposuction procedure. This is important, as the fat layer gets smaller we want the skin to follow along. This is the basis of shrink-wrap liposuction. There are several advanced liposuction techniques to try to achieve even more skin tightening. They involve performing superficial liposuction, right under the skin to maximize the post-procedure skin retraction. Laser Liposuction using Smartlipo can also be used to introduce heat which further tightens the skin.
The best thing about liposuction is that it can be safely performed under local anesthesia. There are no big incisions, just multiple small entrance points. The patient can resume normal activity almost immediately and downtime is minimal.
What is a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is a surgical procedure mainly indicated to deal with loose skin and muscles of the abdomen. In many women, the weight gain during pregnancy stretches out both the abdominal wall and skin. This leads to droopy, protuberant belly. The tummy tuck deals with this by removing the loose skin and tightening the abdominal wall. The tummy tuck procedure requires a rather large incision below the bikini area. The loose skin is then pulled down and the excess removed. Usually this requires the belly button to be repositioned. Deep stitches are then placed to sew the loose abdominal muscles together. Liposuction can be combined with a tummy tuck for body contouring.
The advantages of a tummy tuck is that it will leave you immediately with a flat abdomen, remove stretch marks and tighten your muscles. It can be performed under local anesthesia, but usually, general anesthesia is required. The downside includes the large scar, higher rate of complications, more downtime and limitations, a ‘surgical’ looking abdomen and added cost.
So Liposuction Vs Tummy Tuck, which is right for me?
If you have excess abdominal fat and no loose skin, liposuction is your best bet. If you have mild loose skin that snaps back after tugging it, liposuction with targeted skin tightening will also work. If you have a large apron of skin that has lost its elasticity or have had massive weight loss, a tummy tuck is required. These are just generalized recommendations. What is right for you depends on your amount of fat and loose skin, your tolerance for a scar and downtime, desired results and available funds. This a where a plastic surgery consultation comes in, to help you assess your situation and give you options for liposuction vs tummy tuck.
Procedure Liposuction Tummy Tuck
Anesthesia Local Awake General Asleep
Scars Small Large
Results 1 Month Immediate
Skin Tightening >50% 100%
Muscle repair No Yes
Stretch Marks No Yes
Downtime 1 Week 1 Month
Cost $$ $$$$
Of course, there are many other changes to a woman’s body during pregnancy besides her belly. A mommy makeover can combine breast rejuvenation procedures like a breast augmentation and/or breast lift with a tummy tuck for decreased downtime and better overall results.
Dr. Staci Hix-Hernandez MD has 7 years experience performing complex abdominal wall and breast reconstructions at a major teaching hospital. She brings her experience and talent to Beleza Medspa to provide cosmetic surgery services. Make your free consultation with her now to discuss how liposuction vs tummy tuck can help you.