Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck: Which Is Right For You

Liposuction and tummy tucks are great options for patients looking to get rid of stubborn fat for a more lean and toned physique. The two, however, are very different. From procedure intensity to down time, it’s important to understand the similarities and differences between the two procedures in order to make the best decision for your body. Whether or not you are an ideal patient for either procedure is a decision to be made between you and your plastic surgeon.

The Tummy Tuck Procedure:

A Tummy Tuck, also known as a Abdominoplasty, not only removes stubborn fat from your lower abdomen but also reconstructs the abdominal muscles and removes excess skin. To do this, your plastic surgeon would create a horizontal incision along your pubic area between your hips. A second incision might be required in the upper area of the abdomen depending on the patient and desired results. These incision sites, while considered more invasive, allow your surgeon to remove stubborn fat in the midsection of the stomach and remove the skin in order to create a flatter, smoother tummy. Downtime from a Tummy Tuck procedure can take anywhere from 2-3 weeks

The Liposuction Procedure:

In contrast to a Tummy Tuck, Liposuction or Lipoplasty can be performed almost anywhere on the body with stubborn fat. A cocktail of saline and anesthesia is injected to the targeted area’s fat cells and removed via a cannula, similar to an IV. This procedure does not allow your plastic surgeon to remove excess skin so it’s best suited for smaller areas of fat. Typically, a patient who has already tried diet and exercise but cannot get rid of stubborn pockets of fat in specific areas will choose to move forward with “lipo”. Liposuction procedure downtime can take anywhere from 5-7 days.

As with any type of surgical procedure, not every patient is a candidate despite a desire to undergo a certain type of surgery.

Ideal Tummy Tuck Candidates:

If you are holding a larger amount of fat in your abdomen and excess skin is a concern for you, a Tummy Tuck might be the better option than Liposuction. Patients who have a wider surface area of fat in their stomachs would be better suited for a Tummy Tuck over lipo because there will likely be excess skin once the fat has been removed and the muscles of the abdomen are reconstructed. It’s important with a Tummy Tuck, or any surgery for that matter, that you are already in good health. Most plastic surgeons will recommend that a patient be within 10-15 pounds of their goal weight.

Patients who have a BMI over 30, (while this is not a perfect measurement, body mass must be taken into consideration) or any underlying medical conditions might not be the best candidates for Tummy Tucks. It’s best to discuss with your plastic surgeon if you are in condition to move forward with the procedure.

Ideal Liposuction Candidates:

The best candidates for liposuction have good elasticity in their skin. You should not harbor an excessive amount of fat in the targeted areas but still require extra assistance in its removal. Patients who are within 30% of their ideal weight are likely the best candidates to receive lipo. It’s important that patients have some foundational muscle tone in the targeted areas for the procedure to be most effective.

Patients who do not have good skin elasticity, are overweight or obese, or not in good overall health might not be best suited for lipo. Your plastic surgeon might suggest an alternative method or prerequisite requirements prior to undergoing the liposuction procedure.

Longevity of Results:

Both the Tummy Tuck and Liposuction procedures are considered “permanent” procedures. However, the body will never be immune to weight gain. It’s important that if you are considering either procedure, you know that post-surgical and lifestyle habits are a top priority. Following a healthy diet and exercise will help keep the fat off. However, if you recede to old habits with no lifestyle changes, there is no guarantee the fat won’t come back.

Your plastic surgeon will likely suggest regular exercise and a healthy, balanced diet. Some patients who struggle with eating habits might be referred to a dietitian or nutritionist for guidance. The surgery, quite frankly, is the easy part. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle post-surgery has proven to be a struggle for many patients. About 43% of patients see weight regain, specifically in the abdominal area or midsection of the tummy if they do not participate in regular exercise or healthy nutrition.

If you are looking to take the next step toward your dream body and need help deciding which procedure is right for you, our knowledgeable team is here to help. Book a consultation today with Dr. Watt or call (813) 878-0089 to schedule!