Should I have Liposuction or a Tummy Tuck to achieve a Flatter Contoured Stomach?
Pregnancy, weight loss, and aging can all take a huge toll on your body. You’ll may notice loose overhanging skin and stubborn fatty deposits around your midsection. No matter how healthy you eat or how hard you exercise, sometimes they just won’t disappear. It’s only human to start looking for alternative solutions such as cosmetic surgery. With countless procedures promising you a flat stomach, you can find yourself overwhelmed and confused at which procedure is right for you. Is it a liposuction or a tummy tuck? Although both plastic surgeries address the same areas, there are important differences to consider before deciding on a treatment.
Here at, we take pride in being the leading plastic surgeons in both liposuction and tummy tuck procedures. Our Melbourne-based plastic surgeon can help you choose the right surgery for you. They will provide you with a customized surgical plan that will address all your aesthetic goals and concerns. Learn more about the difference between a liposuction and a tummy tuck surgery, and to find out which one is best for you.
Liposuction Vs Tummy Tuck – How Are They Different?
Liposuction and tummy tucks are the top two procedures that spring to mind when considering plastic surgeries that aim for a flatter, tighter and slimmer abdomen.
However, there are some key differences that you should know:
Liposuction, also called liposculpture, is a less extreme plastic surgery reserved for those with good skin quality and no abdominal muscle laxity. Liposuction removes small to moderate amounts of excess fat deposits, sculpting your body into a more attractive contour and form. The abdomen is a popular area for liposuction, along with thighs, flanks, and neck. There are different techniques for liposculpture, and they can be combined with broader plastic surgeries like full-on mummy make-overs.
Liposuction involves the insertion of a thin rod through a small skin incision made near the treated region. Through this rod, excess fat beneath your skin can be loosened and suctioned out. There are different types of lipo techniques, some utilizing ultrasound energy (Vaser Liposuction) and others using laser energy instead to dislodge fat (Laser Liposuction).
Tummy tuck, or as known medically as abdominoplasty, is a more extensive plastic surgery procedure that involves the tightening of your abdominal muscles, as well as the excision and removal of any excess skin. It can correct your protruding apron belly into a flatter and better-toned abdomen. Just like liposuction, it can also be a part of other plastic surgeries, such as Mommy Make-Overs and Daddy Do-Overs. Depending on your aesthetic goal, your plastic surgeon will choose from four main types of abdominoplasty.
- Mini-Tummy Tuck: This is a less extensive form of abdominoplasty. It involves your lower abdomen only. It’s best suited for those who suffer from a mommy pooch following pregnancy, or those with loose excess skin and stretch marks below their belly button.
- Full Tummy Tuck: Also known as classic abdominoplasty, mainly targets excess skin folds and roundness across the full length of your abdominal wall, both below and above your belly button.
- Fleur-de-lis Tummy Tuck: This is a more extensive type of abdominoplasty. It’s perfect for women and men who have very excessive amounts of abdominal overhanging skin and stubborn fat. It is also known as a vertical abdominoplasty, since it involves a vertical skin incision in addition to the traditional bikini-line incision.
- Extended Tummy Tuck: An extended abdominoplasty is not limited to your abdominal region, but also involves the removal of a significant amount of excess skin or fatty tissue from your hips or lower back “love handle” area.
Liposuction Vs Tummy Tuck – Which One Is for You?
Liposuction and abdominoplasty are often desired by people with similar cosmetic needs. Here are some things to consider before undergoing any of these two procedures.
Liposuction is ideal if you:
- Have small, isolated fat deposits that are responding to neither diet nor exercise
- Feel you have certain bulging areas that are out of proportion with the rest of your figure
- Have good skin quality, and excess sagging skin is not a problem
- Are or near your target weight, as lipo isn’t a weight-loss tool
Tummy Tuck is more suitable if you:
- You have excess overhanging skin around your belly, after significant weight loss
- Are in good shape, but always suffered from a belly that sticks out
- Have completed your family size, and want to tighten your abdominal muscles and skin following pregnancy
- Can’t achieve a toned abdomen nor 6-packs, despite diet and exercise
Liposuction Vs Tummy Tuck – Combining the Two
Both liposuction and tummy tuck surgery are excellent procedures on their own, with long-lasting results. However, many patients decide on undergoing both surgeries together. This combination is so common in the cosmetic plastic surgery industry that it has its own name: Lipoabdominoplasty.
Lipoabdominoplasty can bring you the best of both worlds. The liposuction aspect of it is an excellent tool to sculpt and shape your body contour the way you desire, while a tummy tuck can get rid of any loose overhanging skin and tighten your stretched-out abdominal muscles.
Combining both liposuction and abdominoplasty surgery into one versatile procedure extends the pool of surgery candidates to include obese patients wishing to get rid of overhanging belly fat and skin for a flatter stomach and a slimmer midsection. You will no longer feel as if you have to earn either of the procedures. Moreover, lipo plus tummy tuck can provide you with better aesthetic results, lower risks, and quicker recovery.
Liposuction Vs Tummy Tuck – Recovery
One of the key differences between liposculpture and abdominoplasty is the recovery process.
Liposculpture is an outpatient procedure done under general anesthesia. This means you’ll likely be discharged by your care team only hours after surgery. The recovery process of liposuction relies on how many areas you’ve had operated on, and whether you need any additional future liposuction sessions.
After your surgery, you will experience some pain, bruising, and swelling at the site of your fat removal. It lasts for only a few days, and the majority of your discomfort can be managed by home remedies and over-the-counter medication. In the right qualified surgical hands, recovery after liposuction is remarkably quick.
Most patients are able to resume their regular activity within 48 hours after their surgery and can return to their work a couple of days after.
Tummy tuck surgery is a more invasive procedure compared to lipo, therefore, a longer recovery period is expected and natural. Abdominoplasty is an outpatient procedure as well, and you will likely be able to go home the same day. However, a more extensive abdominoplasty may require an overnight stay at the hospital for safe monitoring.
Like any other cosmetic surgery, pain, bruising, and swelling are part of the tummy tuck recovery process. The expected soreness and discomfort will last about a week or so, with the worst of it being in the first three days following your abdominoplasty surgery. Your plastic surgeon will prescribe you some heavier medications to make the pain more manageable.
It takes about two to four weeks to be able to return to your normal daily routine, and up to six weeks for the initial phase of the tummy tuck recovery period to pass. You will be scheduled for several follow-up appointments to track how well you’re healing. And during this time, you should avoid and strenuous activity that may cause tension on your incisions and delay recovery.
Liposuction Vs Tummy Tuck – Results
Liposuction and tummy tuck surgery can both achieve a flatter, tighter belly with relatively long-term results.
After your liposuction, you’ll enjoy a flatter stomach, and an overall better-proportioned midsection once you have finished your recovery period. Liposculpture removes your excess fat deposits, and the results are meant to be permanent. However, it’s crucial that you maintain a stable weight to make sure that your new and improved body contour looks its best. If you gain weight in the future, your fat will reaccumulate in other locations in your body, though not the areas that have been suctioned.
The improvements made during your abdominoplasty procedure are meant to last. Your abdominal muscles will remain tight and firm, and any excess skin removed will not return unless a future pregnancy or weight fluctuations stretch out your abdominal area again. Therefore, it’s best to complete your family size and reach your target weight before scheduling your tummy tuck procedure.
Liposuction Vs Tummy Tuck – Risks and Complications
Any invasive surgical procedure, be it for cosmetic purposes or otherwise, has its set of possible risks and complications. Liposuction and abdominoplasty are no exception.
The risk of complications after your lipo procedure increases if your plastic surgeon is operating on a larger area or performing liposuction as part of multiple procedures during the same surgery. Possible complications of liposuction may include:
- Contour Irregularities: Uneven fat suctioning, poor skin quality, and unusual postoperative healing may make your skin appear bumpy and result in an irregular body contour.
- Seromas: Are temporary pockets of white yellow fluid that can collect under your skin after surgery. They usually go away on their own if they are small in size, however, in some cases, your plastic surgeon may drain them with a needle.
- Numbness: Liposuction involves heavy manipulation of tissue, and some nerves may be damaged in the process. The numbness that follows afterward can take months to heal, and sometimes may be permanent.
- Internal Puncture: This is a rare complication that can happen when the liposuction catheter injures an internal organ.
- Fat Embolism: A very rare yet serious medical emergency. Fat embolism is a result of loosened pieces of fat breaking free during the procedure and lodging into a blood vessel.
Studies have shown that tummy tuck surgeries are associated with higher complication rates than other less invasive cosmetic procedures. Here are some possible risks:
- Fluid Accumulation: Seromas are also common in tummy tuck surgery. Your plastic surgeon may place drainage tubes at your surgical sites for a week to help reduce the risk of excess fluid accumulating beneath your skin.
- Poor Healing: In some cases, your abdominoplasty surgical incisions may heal poorly and start to separate after your procedure. An antibiotic regimen will be given to prevent any possible infection.
- Abdominoplasty incisions during surgery are mindfully placed along your bikini line to remain hidden. Depending on the extent of your tummy tuck procedure, body’s response, and postoperative scar care routine, scarring may be unexpectedly noticeable.
- Tissue Death: During your tummy tuck surgery, the blood supply to your abdominal tissue may be compromised, resulting in tissue damage and death. Smoking is a major risk factor for this particular complication and may triple its likelihood.
- Altered Sensations: Abdominoplasty involves the repositioning of your abdominal tissue, and any nerves in that area may be damaged along the way. This can not only affect your abdominal area but may extend to your upper thighs. You’ll likely feel reduced sensations or numbness that may take months to heal.
Liposuction Vs Tummy Tuck – Cost
It’s hard to put a price tag on any cosmetic procedure, be it liposculpture or abdominoplasty as every body is different. Factors that affect pricing include but are not limited to: your plastic surgeon fees, the extent of your procedure, if it’s done in combination with other procedures (e.g., with breast lift surgery in Mummy make-over), hospital setting, and your geographic location.
Liposuction is a less intensive procedure. If done on its own, it’s decidedly more pocket-friendly than abdominoplasty. However, both liposculpture and tummy tuck patients are satisfied with their final results and find the cost very reasonable and well worth it.
Liposuction Vs Tummy Tuck – Conclusion
Undergoing any type of cosmetic surgery is not a decision that should be taken lightly. And even though both liposuction and tummy tuck procedures aim to make your stomach look and feel tighter, and your body slimmer, they remain different in their patient criteria, recovery period, promised results, complications, and final cost.
Our Coco Ruby team of elite Melbourne-based plastic surgeons will guide you through your decision-making process of choosing between liposuction and abdominoplasty. They will give you their honest opinion, with your aesthetic concerns and well-being in mind. Together with our dedicated team, you’ll receive the best of what liposuction or tummy tuck has to offer.
FAQs – Other frequently asked questions about liposuction and tummy tuck:
What is more dangerous a liposuction or tummy tuck?
- In the right set of surgical plastic surgeon hands, both liposuction and tummy tuck are safe surgeries that produce long-term natural-looking results. However, abdominoplasty is considered more invasive and is associated with a high risk of complications.
How much weight do you lose with liposuction and tummy tuck?
- Though you might lose a considerable amount of weight after either a liposculpture or abdominoplasty surgery, neither should be used as a weight-loss tool.
Does liposuction leave loose skin?
- Liposuction removes a volume of excess fatty tissue beneath your skin. It does not cause sagging skin unless you have poor skin elasticity, to begin with. In that case, you may benefit most from lipoabdominoplasty surgery instead.
Can tummy tuck get rid of my love handles?
- A classic tummy tuck surgery involves the removal of excess skin and tightening of your abdominal muscles. This can draw your waist in and give you a slimmer abdomen, but on its own, it won’t rid of your love handles. You should consider an extended abdominoplasty as it targets your love handle area as well, or even lipoabdominoplasty.