When many patients come to our Southern Plastic Surgery office for their first consultation looking for body contouring, they often ask me the difference between a tummy tuck and liposuction. Many people assume that the two amount to about the same thing since both can help improve contours abdominal area. While both tummy tuck and liposuction procedures can help clients eliminate the stubborn, exercise-resistant fat that often clings to the midsection, the two procedures are actually very different.
Liposuction can be used on more than just the stomach area, including areas around the face, legs, chest, flanks, back, arms and buttocks. In tumescent and super-wet liposuction, a small incision is made and a liquid mixture of anesthetic, adrenaline, and salt water is injected in order to make the fat easier to suction. The liquid and fat are then drawn out through cannulas, or metal tubes used to remove fluid from the body. Liposuction can often be performed along with a tummy tuck in certain procedures like Mommy Makeover surgery. Ultrasound-assisted liposuction uses sound waves in addition to liquid injections to liquefy fat, and is most often used in areas like the face where careful accuracy is required.
A tummy tuck (or abdominoplasty) is reserved solely for the midsection and is a fairly major surgical procedure. During a tummy tuck, an incision is made in the lower abdominal region, weakened muscles and fascia of the abdominal wall are restored and tightened, loose skin and tissue is removed, and the stomach-area is flattened and tightened. Unlike a tummy tuck, liposuction does not address sagging skin that may come along with stubborn fat, which is why tummy tuck and liposuction are often used in conjunction for post-bariatric weight loss patients. For patients who do not need as much fat or loose skin removed, a mini-tummy tuck may offer the results they desire with less down-time afterward.
While both treatments are used to contour the curves of the body and re-establish the patient’s desired silhouette, each procedure is often better suited to specific patients. For example, patients who have recently lost a large amount of weight in a short period of time are often left with loose, sagging abdominal skin which can easily be removed with a tummy tuck. For patients who require less skin and muscle tightening and would like to just smooth and improve contour in a few areas, liposuction may be a better option. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your desired look with Dr. David Whiteman and determine which procedure(s) will best suit your needs.
Check out our before and after galleries of both tummy tuck and liposuction procedures to get a better idea of how the results can be beneficial to you. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates and recent news.