Are you annoyed by the fat in your abdomen? You may have heard about liposuction as a way to remove fat from problem areas, such as the abdomen, sides, and legs.
But what about a tummy tuck? Will a tummy tuck eliminate fat, too, or only loose skin?
If you have questions about having liposuction vs. a tummy tuck, this post is for you.
The Difference Between Liposuction And Tummy Tuck
According to San Antonio Plastic Surgeon Dr. Scott J. Farber, “There is some confusion between liposuction and tummy tuck. Both procedures target your abdomen with a different focus.”
Farber adds that liposuction makes the abdomen flatter and smaller by removing extra fat deposits that resist diet and exercise. However, it doesn’t do anything to address loose skin.
On the other hand, a tummy tuck removes loose skin that may develop from pregnancy or weight loss.
These are separate procedures with different outcomes. But many patients decide to have both liposuction and a tummy tuck as part of their mommy makeover.
Experts note that liposuction is the most popular choice for people near their goal weight but can’t lose that last five or 10 pounds of extra fat.
Tumescent liposuction is considered the gold standard in the liposuction world. This procedure involves first injecting lidocaine and epinephrine into the target area to reduce bleeding and swelling.
Then, the surgeon inserts a thin cannula or tube and suctions the fat and liquid out.
Tumescent liposuction requires general or IV sedation. Most patients recover from liposuction after two or three weeks.
There are other types of liposuction that your surgeon may consider, depending on your needs. One type involves using a laser to liquify that fat, which is then sucked out with a cannula.
Tummy Tuck Procedure
This procedure involves removing loose skin from the abdomen that developed from pregnancy or weight fluctuations.
First, the surgeon puts you under general anesthesia. Then, they make the incision below the navel from hip to hip.
The surgeon may sew the abdominal muscles together if they become stretched during pregnancy when the abdominal muscles are exposed. Next, they pull the skin tight over the abdomen and trim away the extra skin.
Finally, the incisions are closed with sutures.
A tummy tuck is one of the more invasive plastic surgeries, so you will need up to two months of taking it easy. This procedure usually takes about three hours.
If you only have extra skin below the belly button, you may be a candidate for a mini tummy tuck. A full tummy tuck is needed if you have loose skin above the navel.
Tummy Tuck Or Liposuction?
A tummy tuck and liposuction can provide impressive results to give you a flatter abdomen and slimmer profile. To decide which is best for your situation, it comes down to whether the problem is extra skin or extra fat.
The difficulty with getting a flat stomach is one of the challenges after pregnancy, weight loss, or just getting older.
How fat is distributed in the body varies from person to person. It’s affected by your age, gender, lifestyle, genetics, and more.
Some women notice they have more fat in the abdomen after menopause; this may be linked to changing estrogen levels.
Also, your age, genetics, and activity level tend to affect how elastic your skin is. Skin elasticity refers to how well the skin can keep a tight shape and resist gravity.
You may develop sagging, loose skin when the skin stretches because of pregnancy, weight gain, or age. Even if you diet and exercise, there isn’t much you can do about loose abdominal skin.
Ideal Liposuction Candidates
Experts note that the best liposuction candidates have these characteristics:
- Are in good health and within 10 to 20 pounds of their ideal weight
- Don’t smoke; smoking and tobacco use can impede the healing process
- Don’t have sagging and loose skin in the abdomen
- Have good skin elasticity so it can ‘bounce back’ after liposuction
Ideal Tummy Tuck Candidates
You may be better suited for a tummy tuck if you have these characteristics:
- Are in good health and near your ideal body weight; if you are still significantly overweight, you may want to wait on this procedure
- Have extra, loose skin in the abdomen that is made worse by dieting
- Have completed your final pregnancy
- Are ready for a plastic surgery procedure that will take about two months of recovery time
Experts also point out that the best patients for liposuction are often under 40 because their skin elasticity is better.
If you are over 45, you may be better suited to a tummy tuck. This is because weakened abdominal muscles tend to happen in those over 45 or if you have had several pregnancies.
Liposuction Vs Tummy Tuck Results
Liposuction and tummy tuck can give you the smoother, flatter stomach you have dreamed of. Both can provide long-term results, too. However, be aware that gaining weight in the future will affect your results.
The fat that is removed with liposuction won’t come back. However, there will still be some fat left there, and it can get larger if you gain weight. You also can gain weight in untreated parts of the body.
Once the swelling and bruising dissipate, most patients are thrilled with their abdominal liposuction results. Having that fat removed can make you more enthusiastic about diet and exercise so you can maintain your new shape.
Tummy tuck results are also permanent if you don’t gain weight or get pregnant. The skin that is removed won’t come back, and the result should be a tighter, trimmer tummy.
You will have a visible scar from hip to hip below the navel. But this can usually be hidden by underwear or a bathing suit. The scar will fade over one or two years.
In summary, both liposuction and a tummy tuck offer many advantages. Abdominal liposuction is ideal for that patient who cannot get rid of those last few pounds of fat in the belly.
A tummy tuck is perfect for the person who has loose and flabby abdominal skin. Unfortunately, there may be loose skin and some fat that you cannot eliminate even after significant weight loss.
Some patients decide to have liposuction first, then a tummy tuck in the same procedure. Next, your plastic surgeon will conduct a physical examination and let you know which procedure is best for you.