What Are the Differences Between a Tummy Tuck & Liposuction?

If you have always coveted a flat, toned midsection, a tummy tuck and liposuction are great options to consider. They may seem like similar procedures, but they correct different issues in your midsection. So, which option can help you achieve a flat, taut, and sculpted midsection? Looking at the difference between tummy tuck surgery and liposuction makes your options more clear.

A Tummy Tuck Can Improve More Areas in Your Midsection

While both liposuction and a tummy tuck can remove fatty tissue from the midsection, a tummy tuck is a more complicated procedure. A tummy tuck works to remove excess skin and repair abdominal muscles that might have separated during pregnancy or significant weight gain. If your vision is to tighten, flatten, and improve your midsection, a tummy tuck would be more beneficial than liposuction.

If your main issue is specific fat deposits in the midsection, liposuction is a great way to remove that excess fat from your abdominal area.

Comparing liposuction vs. tummy tuck results using before and after pictures is helpful. Browse our patients’ tummy tuck photo gallery and liposuction photo gallery to see the type of results that are possible with each.

A Tummy Tuck Is a More Complex Procedure Than Liposuction

A tummy tuck procedure is more complex than liposuction as the plastic surgeon is working on different areas of the midsection. During a tummy tuck, your plastic surgeon will make two incisions: one very low on your abdomen from hip to hip and another around your bellybutton. This allows your surgeon to access and repair underlying muscles, remove excess abdominal skin, reposition and reshape the navel, and pull the remaining skin down to the main incision line to tighten the belly.

A tummy tuck takes around 3 hours to complete, while a liposuction procedure takes about 1 to 3 hours (depending on the areas being treated).

Are You a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck or Liposuction?

A good candidate for a tummy tuck is someone who has loose skin and stubborn fat, in addition to weakened abdominal muscles. You need to be healthy and at a stable weight, as this will impact the recovery process. If you are a smoker, it’s a good idea to quit at least 3 weeks before and after the procedure to boost healing after surgery.

If you are only concerned about stubborn fat on your midsection, you are likely a good candidate for liposuction. You will need to be at a healthy weight with firm, supple skin and good muscle tone. These factors will help your incisions heal well and optimize your liposuction results.

Can You Combine a Tummy Tuck and Liposuction?

An advantage of liposuction is that it can be paired with most cosmetic surgery procedures. The reason to combine liposuction and a tummy tuck is for the varied benefits you would get from both, enhancing your results. Combined, the two procedures can address skin and muscle laxity and stubborn fat in one surgery. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons discusses these and other reasons to combine the two procedures.

However, combining procedures may carry the risk of additional complications. If you combine your tummy tuck with liposuction, it’s even more important to choose an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon to ensure your safety and reduce your risks.

Will I Have Scarring After a Tummy Tuck or Liposuction?

You can expect some scars after surgery, but they should fade and flatten over time. Your plastic surgeon will make tummy tuck incisions in well-concealed places and use special surgical techniques to reduce visible scarring. Dr. Ford also advises his tummy tuck patients to apply silicone cream to scars to help them fade.

The degree of scarring after a tummy tuck partially depends on your skin elasticity, genetics, and overall health. Lifestyle factors such as smoking can constrict blood vessels and delay the healing of your incisions, which may lead to more scarring.

Liposuction incisions are tiny and usually result in minimal scarring. However, like tummy tuck scarring, overall health and genetics play an essential role. A skilled and experienced plastic surgeon can ensure you have minimal scarring after liposuction.

Recovery Process After a Tummy Tuck and Liposuction

As discussed earlier, tummy tuck surgery is a more complicated procedure than liposuction. It’s probably no surprise, then, that it has a longer, more difficult recovery. You should refrain from strenuous activities and heavy lifting for around 2 to 3 weeks. You can learn more about tummy tuck recovery from this related blog post. Liposuction recovery time is around 1 to 2 weeks, with minimal discomfort. You may need to wear a compression garment after both procedures to reduce swelling.

When deciding between a tummy tuck and liposuction, you will need to do your research and thoroughly discuss your options with your plastic surgeon. If you are ready to enhance your midsection through a tummy tuck or liposuction, request a consultation or call my office at  (416) 925-7337 to schedule an appointment.

2 Responses to What Are the Differences Between a Tummy Tuck & Liposuction?

  • Bridget says:

    I am interested in going through with either a liposuction or tummy tuck. I would like to set up a consultation please and as soon as there is availability in the next few weeks.

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