Both tummy tucks and liposuction are body-contouring techniques. Liposuction is used to remove small, localized collections of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise. It is done on an outpatient basis, but the patient does go under general anesthesia. The doctor places small tubes through incisions near the fat deposits. There are several different types of liposuction. Liposuction can also be done on different parts of the body, not just the abdomen.
A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure done to remove excess fat and skin in the abdomen. The surgery may also restore separated or weakened abdominal muscles. There are four types of tummy tucks that are distinguished by the amount of work done. The more minor of these can be treated on an outpatient basis, while the more major are performed in a hospital. Regardless of type, the patient is put under general anesthesia.
The tummy tuck, since it involves the skin, is generally better for a patient who wants a flatter stomach. Stomach skin tends to lose elasticity as a person ages. Getting liposuction in the abdomen can therefore result in sagging excess skin that doesn’t retract and simply hangs. A tummy tuck removes the excess skin and tightens up the stomach muscles. Liposuctions tend to work better on areas with elastic skin and tight skin like the hips.
The tummy tuck is, however, a more involved procedure. It will quite likely involve a night in the hospital and a longer recovery period than will the liposuction. A patient who has had a tummy tuck generally needs to take two weeks off from work to recover. A tummy tuck also leaves a scar while a liposuction does not.
Both procedures should be done after the patient has achieved whatever weight loss goals they might have had. Neither procedure is intended to help with weight loss. In fact, losing weight after having a tummy tuck may result in excess or loose skin — which is one of the things a tummy tuck is supposed to take care of in the first place. Gaining weight after a procedure may cause fat deposits to accumulate in the hips, back or even face.
The two procedures can be combined. In fact, many plastic surgeons who do tummy tucks will also do liposuction on the hips and sides to keep the patient’s body in proportion. They do not, however, do the two procedures in the exact same place as that can cause problems with the patient’s blood supply.
If you’re interested in sculpting your body with liposuction or a tummy tuck, Dr. Anthony Stephens can help. We’ll work with you to determine the most effective treatment for your needs. Contact Dr. Stephens’ office today to schedule your consultation. We can customize a treatment plan that is tailored to your needs to ensure you get the best possible results.