Liposuction versus Tummy Tuck: How to Decide Which is Right for You

Darren M. Smith, liposuction

Time is rarely kind to your tummy. Weight gain and loss, pregnancy and loss of tissue tone as you age can add up to a pouch that zaps your confidence and compromises your self-image. When this happens, it’s natural that you’ll turn to aesthetic surgery for an answer, and both liposuction and tummy tuck will likely come up for discussion. On the surface, each procedure seems to address common cosmetic goals, but they have important differences that may affect your decision. Let’s look at each, so you have an informed perspective when discussing your body image goals with Dr. Smith.

The targets of treatment


Perhaps the biggest strength of liposuction is the removal of localized fat deposits that stand between you and your ideal body image. The best candidate for liposuction is someone at or near their ideal weight who has trouble with stubborn fat deposits remaining in the stomach region. Liposuction is also effective for other parts of your body, such as buttocks, hips, and thighs.

Tummy tuck

As well as removing fat from the stomach area, a tummy tuck addresses excess skin that may result from fat removal, previous weight loss, or pregnancy. Abdominal muscles may separate during pregnancy; these can be rejoined during a tummy tuck procedure. Like liposuction, a tummy tuck isn’t a weight loss procedure, even though it removes fat stores from your stomach area.

Differences in procedures


Typically performed with sedation and local anesthetic, liposuction is performed with small incisions that permit the insertion of a narrow tube called a cannula that’s used to break up fat deposits for removal with a medical suction device. Remaining fat cells redistribute, and the result is an overall reduction and reshaping in the tummy area. It may take more than one session to produce your desired results.

Tummy tuck

Performed under general anesthesia, a large incision along the bottom of your abdomen exposes the stomach area for the necessary procedures. With stomach muscles exposed, separated tissue can be stitched together. Excess skin is trimmed, pulled tight, and stitched as well. Tummy tucks are done in a single procedure that lasts several hours.

The results of liposuction versus tummy tuck

Both procedures are considered permanent and will flatten the appearance and restore the proportions of your stomach. Both conditions may also be affected by later body weight fluctuations. Liposuction patients may see irregularities if more fat tissue forms, since it typically doesn’t in areas receiving the procedure.

A tummy tuck that includes muscle reconnection results in a stronger and more stable stomach area. The excess skin is gone for good and won’t return unless you experience a major weight gain or an additional pregnancy, neither of which are recommended after the procedure.

Choosing between liposuction and tummy tuck is a more complex decision than simply reading about the differences. Call the office, or use our online booking tool to arrange a consultation with Dr. Smith, who can advise you further on the pros and cons of each procedure, as well as how they apply to your body condition.

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