Summer is in full swing and if you haven’t already, chances are you’ll be spending time at the pool, beach or lake for some fun and relaxation. If the thought of wearing a swimsuit makes you uneasy because of stubborn excess fat or skin in your midsection that just won’t go away despite your best efforts, don’t worry. Monarch Plastic Surgery offers two of the most common cosmetic procedures for addressing a nuisance tummy: liposuction and abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). But which one is right for you? Both have their respective benefits as well as risks. Monarch Plastic Surgeon Dr. Keith Hodge breaks down the key differences to help you decide which will provide your desired look.
Liposuction is a simple procedure that targets and removes unwanted fat from specific areas of the body, especially the midsection. This procedure is ideal for patients who are already at a healthy body weight and is not a solution for losing weight. Dr. Hodge told one RealSelf user, “An ideal candidate is someone close to their ideal body weight with good skin elasticity and reasonable expectations. Liposuction is great for body contouring for a leaner and more curvy appearance, if that is the desired result.”
Typically, patients are not required to go under general anesthesia. The surgeon will apply a local anesthetic to numb the area, make a small incision and insert a tube to remove the excess fat. The procedure usually only takes a few hours and the recovery time is quick - only a couple of weeks. After the procedure, you will experience mild soreness and may have a few small scars, but they usually fade.
On the other hand, a tummy tuck is a more complex procedure. While both procedures remove unwanted fat, a tummy tuck also tightens the abdominal muscles and trims excess and loose skin that may be left over from pregnancy or recent weight loss. Similar to liposuction, this procedure is not a substitute for weight loss.
A tummy tuck is performed under general anesthesia and carries more potential risks and complications than liposuction. It also requires a longer recovery time and you may need to take a full week off work. The procedure also leaves a larger, more visible scar than liposuction, but can be easily concealed with a bikini.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, it comes down to what you are really seeking from your procedure. Dr. Hodge said, “Liposuction will just address the excess fat, whereas a tummy tuck will address the excess fat, the excess skin and the muscle laxity.” Often, for patients with excess skin, Dr. Hodge recommends a tummy tuck combined with liposuction to achieve the best cosmetic appearance.
To find out which is right for you, it’s best to schedule a consultation with one of our plastic surgeons to discuss your options and determine the best route to achieve the look you desire.