Both a tummy tuck and liposuction can improve the appearance of your abdomen. But which one is right for you?
Tummy Tuck vs Lipo: How to Choose
When it comes to tummy tuck vs lipo, the two procedures are entirely different, though they both address cosmetic issues on the abdomen. Tummy tucks primarily address loose skin, and liposuction addresses excess fat. Up ahead, we’ll take a look at each procedure in turn and describe how they differ from each other.
What Is a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that aims to eliminate excess sagging skin on the abdomen. For the most part, tummy tuck surgery addresses skin on the front of the abdomen, but in some cases, the surgery may also get rid of droopy, excess skin all the way around the trunk.
The vast majority of individuals who choose to get tummy tuck surgery have either had their abdominal skin stretched due to pregnancy or from significant weight loss. Still, anyone may be a candidate for this surgery.
What Is Liposuction?
While a tummy tuck addresses loose skin, liposuction addresses unwanted fat. It’s important to note that liposuction is not a weight loss procedure, however. It takes care of those last few pounds of hard-to-lose fat (fat that’s resistant to diet and exercise), but the procedure should only be performed on individuals who are within a healthy body weight range.
Can You Get a Tummy Tuck and Liposuction at the Same Time?
Yes! In fact, this is likely the most common option for patients who opt for tummy tucks to begin with. With nearly all of the tummy tucks we perform, we also do a bit of liposuction. This is because we all tend to have at least a little bit of excess fat on our abdomens. Even super-fit individuals who exercise regularly and eat right will usually have some hard-to-get-rid-of fat that can be successfully removed via liposuction.
Note that it is less likely that patients who initially seek liposuction will also opt for a tummy tuck. Patients tend to know when they need a tummy tuck because they have excess skin. If you don’t have any excess skin and you’re just looking to remove excess fat through liposuction, there is no reason to get a tummy tuck as well.
Tummy Tuck vs Lipo: Scarring
With tummy tuck surgery, you’re going to have more scarring than you will with liposuction. A typical tummy tuck — also called a full tummy tuck — requires two scars. One scar is made by an incision within the belly button. This actually circumscribes the navel (belly button) so that the abdominal skin can be lifted and repositioned while the belly button remains attached to the underlying muscles. Shifting the abdominal skin is a primary part of tummy tuck surgery.
The other scar will be a bit bigger. This scar is made by an incision on the lower abdomen. Surgeons usually refer to this as a “hip to hip” incision. It runs laterally under the panty line. After this incision is made, your surgeon will gently pull the bottom of the abdominal skin to create a smoother surface on the abdomen. Naturally, this is going to adjust the position of where the belly button needs to poke through, so another new, small incision will also be made where we can reattach the belly button.
Liposuction is far less invasive than tummy tuck surgery and although it does require incisions, they are extremely small — usually, just a couple of millimeters long. They can also be placed in places where you will hardly notice any scarring after your recovery.
Tummy Tuck vs Lipo: Recovery & Results
Recovery from tummy tuck surgery is more intensive than recovery from liposuction. Both will require some downtime, so you’ll need to ask for time off from work. But tummy tuck surgery will necessitate a longer downtime. You will also have more discomfort after tummy tuck surgery. Both procedures will involve swelling and bruising during the recovery stages.
As with all surgeries, total recovery times will vary. However, with most tummy tuck procedures, the recovery time is going to be around two to three weeks, at least. On the other hand, liposuction recovery time is usually only around one week.
Both procedures can provide excellent results for patients. Usually, tummy tuck patients see the biggest results. Patients who have lost a lot of weight in the past or have had several children and have struggled with a lot of excess sagging abdominal skin are extremely happy to be rid of that extra bulk. It’s much easier and more fun to fit into their clothes, wear a bathing suit at the beach, and move around in general. In fact, many tummy tuck patients actually go on to become even fitter after surgery because they can actually exercise easier and are more confident about their bodies in general.
Liposuction will also provide amazing results, but they may be more subtle than tummy tuck results. One thing to note about liposuction is that it’s not just a surgery that removes unwanted fat. It does do this, but it also contours the body. Dr. Lahar is uniquely skilled at sculpting curves while performing liposuction. He will discuss your goals with you in depth before your procedure to get an idea of the figure you’d like to have when you recover. And he will use these notes to help achieve your ultimate silhouette through lipo.
Of course, the biggest results for patients occur when both tummy tuck surgery and liposuction are combined. In fact, this combination surgery is extremely common. It’s one of the combinations we recommend for all of our mommy makeover patients, for example, and it can have a profoundly beneficial effect on patients’ lives.
Choosing the Right Procedure for You
Depending on your preferences and needs, both a tummy tuck and liposuction can provide amazing results. Still, it’s important to go for the procedure that will give you the greatest outcome with the fewest drawbacks. If you’re not sure what’s right for you, make a consultation appointment with Dr. Lahar today to discuss your options and candidacy for surgery.