Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck: 3 Questions To Help You Know Which Is Best for You

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Woman wearing underwear with a visibly flat stomach (model) standing in front of a bare white wall.

If your midsection is a problem area for you, you might be considering a tummy tuck or liposuction. Both of these procedures can give you a slimmer waist and abdomen, but how and under what circumstances they’re performed are very different.

Before you choose between a tummy tuck and liposuction to improve your midsection, here are 3 things to consider:

1. Is it just fat?

Has your tummy always been a problem area for you? Do you tend to gain weight in your middle? Is your skin relatively smooth and elastic? Then you’ve probably got pockets of excess fat in this area. This is precisely what  liposuction is great for. Your surgeon can target this excess fat and sculpt it away so that you’ll have a slimmer middle.

2. Have you had children or massive weight loss?

If you’ve given birth or lost a significant amount of weight, your tummy troubles might not be excess fat. You may have a condition called diastasis recti. This is when the abdominal muscles become pulled and separated and don’t return to their original position, causing a bulging tummy and thicker waist. Liposuction can’t do anything to help with this condition, but during a tummy tuck, your surgeon can bind these muscles back together permanently. This helps slim the waist and the abdomen.

3. Do you have excess skin?

This is one of the most important differentiators between these two procedures. Liposuction is great for individuals whose skin retains enough elasticity to “snap back” after the underlying fat is reduced. If you have rolls of sagging skin and stretch marks, you are not a good candidate for liposuction. Liposuction can actually make those conditions worse.

A tummy tuck, however, is designed to remove all that excess skin and restore a smooth, firm appearance. It’s a more extensive surgery, but it addresses a more extensive problem: sagging skin and separated muscles. Although surgeons often add liposuction to a tummy tuck to smooth the contours of the flanks and remove residual fat, liposuction alone would be very unsatisfying for someone who truly needs a tummy tuck.

Tummy tuck recovery takes several weeks, versus about a week or less for liposuction. At our practice, we offer drainless tummy tucks so you can have a more comfortable recovery with reduced swelling. Read this previous blog post to see how you can recover smoothly after a tummy tuck.

We understand that every patient is unique, and while a tummy tuck or liposuction can yield impressive results individually, combining both procedures is sometimes necessary to achieve the desired outcome. Your physical characteristics and concerns will dictate which approach is best for you. Our patients enjoy excellent tummy tuck results, and liposuction results, as you can see in our photo gallery. If you want to learn more about tummy tuck and liposuction, request a consultation or call us at (209) 834-0626 to schedule an appointment.






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