What's the Difference Between a Tummy Tuck & Liposuction?

Tummy Tuck Versus Liposuction

Tummy tucks and Liposuction are two complementary procedures that can be viewed as different stages in cosmetic surgery that’s aimed at improving abdominal contours. Liposuction is aimed at removing excess deposits of subcutaneous fat that are localized in the abdomen and elsewhere. Tummy tucks, on the other hand, remove excess abdominal skin and surgically tighten abdominal musculature. Tummy tucks are frequently performed following childbirth and dramatic weight losses. If you choose to have a tummy tuck procedure after giving birth, be sure you are not planning on giving birth in the future.

What Is Liposuction?

Liposuction is intended to siphon away excess fat through hollow cannulas assisted by various types of suction devices. The ideal candidate for liposuction is someone who has already attained most of his or her weight loss goal but who has a few stubborn areas of fat that will not disappear with diet and exercise.

There are Two Main Types of Liposuction:

• Tumescent Liposuction: Tumescent liposuction involves injecting large volumes of fluid saturated with local anesthetics into the fat cells to be removed. This solution solidifies fat and shrinks surrounding capillaries temporarily, making the fat easier to remove. Tumescent liposuction involves less bleeding, less pain and quicker recovery times than conventional liposuction techniques.

• Ultrasonic Liposuction: Ultrasonic liposuction involves the use of ultrasonic equipment to liquefy fat tissues before they are removed. Some practitioners use lasers to liquify fat instead of ultrasonic equipment.

What Is a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, removes excess abdominal skin. Surgeons remove between 30 and 50 percent of the abdominal skin in a typical tummy tuck. This usually gets rid of any stretch marks that are present on the abdomen. Tummy tucks often change the shape of the navel, and many patients end up having their navels reconstructed when they undergo this procedure. 

A tummy tuck also repositions the abdominal muscles. Weakened or separated abdominal musculature can contribute to abdominal bulges. By tightening the muscles holding abdominal organs and other intra-abdominal contents in place, a tummy tuck can contribute to the appearance of weight loss.

Liposuction & Abdominoplasty Procedures Performed Together

When liposuction and a tummy tuck procedure are performed together, liposuction is almost always performed first. Liposuction is less invasive than a tummy tuck, and can be performed on an outpatient basis since it carries less medical risk. Some patients decide they don’t need a tummy tuck once their abdominal liposuction is complete since their shape has improved, and they look better in clothes.

A tummy tuck requires general anesthesia and is always performed in a hospital setting. A tummy tuck can give patients a flatter stomach and a smaller waistline, which can markedly enhance their self-confidence by making them look slimmer.

Consult Your Doctor

Before going under any type of cosmetic surgery procedure, be sure to consult with a certified professional surgeon. There are certain limitations that will prevent you from undergoing plastic surgery such as smoking, certain illnesses, and other health risks that may create a higher risk operation.

Dr. Cara Downey is a premier plastic surgeon located in Houston, Texas. After her 6 year medical school program at Baylor, Dr. Downey decided to focus on the restoration of the female figure after childbearing and DIP flap reconstruction. Her office are conveniently located in the heart of Montrose in Houston, just a short distance from the Houston Medical Center.