Liposuction or Tummy Tuck: Which is the Best Option for Flat Stomach?

What are Liposuction and Tummy Tuck procedure?

There is a marked difference between a Liposuction procedure and a Tummy Tuck procedure: Liposuction, also known as a lipoplasty or liposculpture suction lipectomy and lipo, is a surgical procedure aimed at removing fat from various parts of the body. These include mainly the back of the arms, neck, buttocks, thighs, and abdomen. Tummy Tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that is used to reshape the abdominal region into a slimmer and more firm shape. This is done through the removal of excess fat and underlying tissues from the lower and middle parts of the abdomen as well as tightening the muscle and connecting tissues of the abdomen to make it thinner and firm. These are the main points of differences and similarities between a liposuction and a tummy tuck procedure:


Liposuction aims to reshape your body contours and make the body more proportionate by removing excess fat from the deposits near your arms, neck, buttocks, thighs, hips, and abdomen. Tummy tuck procedure aims to make the abdominal region (tummy) firm and slim by removing the excess fat deposits as well as the sagging skin.


Liposuction is considered ideal for people who are considerably younger in age as the skin retains its elasticity in a young age. The patient should be within 30% of the ideal weight and have a lesser BMI (15-20). A tummy tuck is considered for people who have already achieved their desired weight but have excess fat and sagging skin in the abdomen as a result of a drastic loss in weight. This excess and sagging skin is also a result of laxity, old age, multiple pregnancies, previous surgeries as well as hereditary factors.


A liposuction procedure could be done under a local anesthetic or a general anesthesia, depending on the extent of the surgery required in individual cases. The surgeon will make small incisions in the target areas and inject a mixture of saline solution and pain-killer to decrease bleeding and pain. The surgeon uses a cannula (thin surgical rod) to detach the fat from the underlying tissues. This separated fat is then sucked out using a suction machine. These are the basic steps in a conventional minimally invasive liposuction surgery. Laser-assisted liposuction uses a high-energy focused beam of the laser to liquefy the fat before removing it. The ultrasonic-assisted liposuction procedure uses ultrasonic energy beam to disrupt the fat deposit so that they can be easily removed. These are non-invasive types of procedures. Tummy tuck procedure involves using general anesthesia so that the patient does not feel the pain. After administering the anesthesia the surgeon will make very fine incisions in the upper, middle or lower part of the belly according to the required procedure. These incisions are used for the surgeon to access the underlying muscles and fascia (connective tissues) of the abdominal wall. The surgeon removes all deposits of fats, including loose muscles and extra connective tissues, from the abdominal region. The next step involves removing the excess and sagging skin on the abdomen after which the remaining skin is stretched taut over the tummy and stapled, or stitched, together. In cases involving too excessive skin the surgeon might also cut the stalk of the belly button and reposition it proportionately according to the tightened skin on the abdomen. This procedure can be done as a conventional surgical method or as a minimally invasive procedure.


Liposuction is done as an outpatient procedure mostly and the recovery time period for the liposuction procedure is anywhere between a few days to a couple of weeks. Tummy tuck surgery is also mostly an outpatient procedure with a prolonged recovery time period of around four to six weeks.


Liposuction cases may carry the risks of disproportionate contouring due to surgeon’s inexperience, change in sensation in the skin due to nerves getting disturbed during surgery, discoloration or swelling of the skin as well as fluid collecting in the operated areas. Infection can also be seen in some cases. There is a rare risk of fat clots, blood clots and damage to certain blood vessels and nerve groups. Most commonly seen risks in a tummy tuck procedure are symmetrical differences, scarred tissue, and numbness along with skin discoloration. There is also a risk of infection as with any major type of surgery. There is also a rare chance of blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, nerve damage and certain cardiac or pulmonary complications. There are distinct differences and advantages of both, the tummy tuck and liposuction, procedures and the surgeon/doctor will be able to suggest the procedure that is best suited for you and will fulfill your requirements accordingly.
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