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Tummy Tuck, Liposuction, or Both?

Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) and liposuction are two separate and very different cosmetic procedures. Both are used to address concerns surrounding the abdominal area, and in some cases, like mommy makeovers, these surgeries are combined to provide dramatic and sculpted results. 

Before deciding on any plastic surgery or cosmetic procedure, it is important to do your own research and familiarize yourself with the procedure or procedures you are interested in before scheduling your in-person consultation. 

If you have been considering having a tummy tuck, liposuction, or possibly both, continue reading to learn more about each procedure and how they are sometimes used together to help determine which procedure is right for you. 

Table of Contents

What is a Tummy Tuck?

Am I a Candidate for an Abdominoplasty?

What Is Liposuction?

Am I a Candidate for Liposuction?

Are Liposuction and Tummy Tucks Done Together?

Find a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon to Help

How Can Beautifi Help?

What is a Tummy Tuck?

Abdominoplasty, commonly referred to as a tummy tuck, is a complete surgical procedure. A tummy tuck is not a weight loss surgery but is used to help remove excess fat that cannot be lost with diet and exercise and to remove excess or protruding skin caused by pregnancy, weight loss, or other surgeries. 

A tummy tuck procedure involves anesthesia and is performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon. Most tummy tucks involve removing excess skin and fat, as well as tightening the abdominal wall, and when necessary, relocating your umbilicus, or belly button. This is achieved by making an incision across your lower abdomen, from one hip to the other. 

The surgeon will then expose your abdominal muscles and then will repair any stretched muscles and stitch them tightly together with medical-grade nylon sutures. Once the muscles are repaired and tightened, your surgeon will pull your skin tightly over the top of your newly repaired abdomen, trim off the excess skin and fat, and secure your incision site with stitches. 

The surgery itself generally take up to 3 hours and recovering from an abdominoplasty can take up to 8 weeks. You can expect your scarring to fade over time and to be easily hidden by your underwear or bathing suit. The results of a tummy tuck are considered permanent. However, it is important to remember that significant weight gain or a subsequent pregnancy can adversely change or alter your results. 

Am I a Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?

While tummy tucks are often associated as a procedure geared toward women, both men and women are candidates for abdominoplasty and the surgery is performed safely for both. 

You may be a good candidate for a tummy tuck if you meet these standard requirements:

  • You are physically healthy and at a stable weight
  • You have realistic expectations
  • You are a nonsmoker
  • You are bothered by the appearance of your abdomen
  • You have loose, sagging skin on your abdomen
  • You have had pregnancies or a significant amount of weight loss
  • You are done having children
  • You are committed to a healthy lifestyle to maintain your results

Your doctor will also evaluate your health, medical history, and other important factors to determine your eligibility for a tummy tuck procedure. 

What Is Liposuction?

While a tummy tuck is a full surgery that addresses fat around the abdomen, the primary focus of an abdominoplasty is to tighten and repair muscles and tighten skin. Liposuction, however, is a cosmetic procedure that only removes deposits of fat from areas like the abdomen, hips, thighs, and buttocks. 

Liposuction works by suctioning out these fat deposits to reduce bulging and improve the contour of your body shape. This surgical procedure is less invasive than an abdominoplasty and is not designed to help you meet weight loss goals. 

Liposuction is sometimes performed with IV sedation, commonly known as “twilight,” and involves the use of local anesthetics. Once your target area is property numbed, your surgeon will make small incisions around the area. A thin tube called a cannula is inserted underneath your skin and moved around to loosen up the pockets of fat. A medical vacuum is then used to suck out the loosened fat. 

Depending on your desired results, you may require a few sessions to achieve your desired results. Liposuction is performed as an outpatient procedure, and you can expect to recover in as little as 48 hours. The most common post-procedure symptoms are swelling and minor bleeding from the incision sites. 

There is some debate as to whether liposuction results are permanent or whether your fat deposits can reappear in other areas of your body, but with a healthy diet and lifestyle, you can expect to enjoy your new sculpted form for many years. 

Am I a Candidate for Liposuction?

Scheduling an in-person consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon can help you determine your unique eligibility for liposuction, but you may be a good candidate if:

  • You are within 30% of your ideal body weight.
  • You have firm, elastic skin and good muscle tone.
  • You don’t smoke.
  • You have a positive outlook, specific body contouring goals, and realistic expectations for the results.
  • Nonsurgical management like diet and exercise haven’t worked.
  • You are committed to a healthy diet and lifestyle. 

Are Liposuction and Tummy Tucks Done Together?

Depending on your desired results and specific concerns about the appearance of your abdomen, combining these two procedures can help you achieve a smoother, flatter, and more sculpted appearance. Liposuction and tummy tucks are combined so often, that you can find it referred to in the plastic surgery community as a lipoabdominoplasty.

Adding liposuction to your tummy tuck can be the best approach especially if you are struggling with both excess, stubborn fat and loose, sagging or stretched skin. One of the biggest benefits of combining these two surgeries it that your surgeon will be able to not only tighten and repair your abdominal muscles and remove loose skin, but they can remove more excess fat and sculpt the shape of your stomach and sides. 

Lipoabdominoplasty is an effective way to achieve fat removal, body contouring, and a flatter, slimmer abdomen all in one scheduled surgery. If your doctor decides that you are a good candidate to combine both liposuction and a tummy tuck, they will provide you with detailed information on what to expect during your procedure. 

Generally, when these two procedures are combined, liposuction is performed first to eliminate excess fat and to sculpt the desired shape. Next, your surgeon will perform your tummy tuck. Because the extra fat deposits were removed prior to your abdominoplasty, the skin is able to be pulled tighter and smoother over your newly repaired abdominal muscles. 

Beyond the benefit of avoiding having two separate procedures, combining these two complimentary plastic surgeries can also reduce your risk of blood loss, blood clots, and seromas (pockets of fluid beneath the skin). Combining your tummy tuck and liposuction can also result in a lower cost overall in comparison to scheduling the two procedures separately. 

Find a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon to Help

If you are considering liposuction or a tummy tuck, you will need to meet with an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon. In your consultation appointment, you will be able to ask all your questions and learn whether combining these surgeries is right for your goals and your body type. 

Abdominoplasty and liposuction are two of the most popular and most effective ways to slim your waistline, remove unwanted skin, enhance your appearance, and boost your self-esteem and confidence.

How Can Beautifi Help?

The Beautifi team is always here to help when choosing a surgeon or financially planning for a cosmetic procedure. Learn how our process works or fill out an application to start your procedure journey!