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Tummy Tuck or Liposuction?

Posted November 28, 2018 in Liposuction, Tummy Tuck Surgery

As you age, you may look in the mirror and notice a “pooched-out” stomach that can make you feel embarrassed or self-conscious about your appearance. When it comes to addressing body fat, most patients look into either tummy tuck surgery or liposuction.

While both tummy tuck surgery and liposuction can provide long-lasting results that will enhance your waistline, they do not address the same issues. Because of this, you may be wondering which of these body contouring procedures is right for you. Before deciding on whether you should undergo liposuction or tummy tuck surgery, here are a few key differences between the two procedures that you should know.

surgery doctor draw lines with marker on patient belly-img-blog


Both liposuction and tummy tuck surgery can improve the appearance of your midsection. However, each procedure comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Tummy tuck surgery is designed to tighten the stomach muscles and remove excess abdominal fat and skin to enhance your midsection. Simply put, tummy tuck surgery only focuses on correcting the abdominal area.

Although liposuction will eliminate unwanted fat to give you a slimmer appearance, it does not tone or tighten your muscles or skin in the target area. Liposuction is performed to remove unwanted body fat from areas that have developed stubborn fat deposits. These areas include the:

  • Abdomen
  • Hips
  • Back
  • Neck
  • Arms
  • Chest
  • Thighs
  • Buttocks

Skin Elasticity

The older you get, the more your skin will begin to lose its natural elasticity due to weight loss, pregnancy, or others factors. Drooping and sagging skin can be unflattering, and no matter how hard you try, diet and exercise may not be able to get rid of it.

If excess skin is a big concern, then undergoing tummy tuck surgery may be the right choice for you. Abdominal muscles that have either loosened or separated can be repaired and tightened with a tummy tuck, leaving you with a smoother, fitter physique. Some patients may have also developed stretch marks in the abdominal area, and the only effective way to eliminate them is through tummy tuck surgery.

Just as it does not address skin laxity, liposuction does not address abdominal muscle laxity in the way that tummy tuck surgery can. However, if you are suffering from excess fat but still have good skin elasticity, you may be surprised to find that liposuction alone may be able to provide you with the results you desire.

European woman with long abdominal scars after operation standing on black color-img-blog


Now that you understand the key differences between tummy tuck surgery and liposuction, it is also important to know how each procedure is performed.

Tummy Tuck Surgery

Tummy tuck surgery is an extensive procedure that uses general anesthesia and may require you to stay overnight at our surgical center. A horizontal incision will be made between the belly button and bikini line. Once the incision has been made, excess fat and skin will be trimmed while the underlying muscles are tightened and repaired. The remaining skin is pulled down and stitched up.


Liposuction is performed on an outpatient basis through a small incision using a thin cannula to remove excess fat from the target area. The cannula is inserted into the incision and loosens the unwanted fat using a gentle back and forth motion. After the fat has been suctioned out of the treatment site, the incision will be closed.


Both liposuction and tummy tuck surgery require the patient to wear a compression garment afterward. Swelling and bruising will occur but will resolve over time. However, the recovery time for each procedure can vary depending on the amount of correction needed.

  • Tummy tuck surgery: You will need at least six weeks to recover before returning to any normal activities. It is recommended you take small walks to make sure blood clots do not develop. Drains may be placed along the treated area to collect excess blood and fluids. These will be removed after a few days. Because a long incision is required for your tummy tuck surgery, this will result in a long scar.
  • Liposuction: Following your procedure, you will be able to return home. However, you will need at least one week to recover before going back to work. Because minor incisions are necessary for your liposuction procedure, scarring is unlikely. Any scarring that does occur will fade over time.

What to Expect

Every patient desires something different when it comes to achieving their aesthetic goals. No matter which procedure you choose, tummy tuck surgery or liposuction will not only provide you with the figure you have always desired, but it will also significantly improve your self-esteem and lifestyle.

To determine if you are a good candidate for liposuction or tummy tuck surgery, you may schedule a consultation with us online or contact our office at (214) 827-8407.