Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction: Which Procedure Actually Works Better?

People who are unhappy with the appearance of their stomach are usually candidates for a cosmetic procedure. Diet and exercise are the first things you should do if you want to achieve your ideal body. You shouldn’t use surgery as a replacement for healthy lifestyle decisions. However, if you’re finding that your lifestyle changes still haven’t brought the results you want, there are options.

Liposuction and tummy tucks are both surgical procedures that alter the appearance of your stomach. A tummy tuck is a more involved surgery, and it usually includes some liposuction.

These are the factors that influence which procedure is best for you.

Your Skin Laxity

You might be focused on the fat deposits in your abdomen, but there are other factors to consider. The two biggest ones are your abdominal muscles and your skin. People who have lost a great deal of weight tend to have sagging skin. The same is true for those who have given birth.

Sagging skin can’t be fixed with liposuction. The skin will still sag even when the fat cells are removed. But a tummy tuck can remove the extra skin to allow a flatter, tighter appearance.

For people without sagging skin, liposuction alone may be enough to give you the results you want. Because the surgery is less involved, it tends to have a shorter overall recovery time.

Muscle Laxity

There are a number of natural factors that can affect the laxity of your muscles. The most dramatic changes in musculature are caused by pregnancy. As your belly grows, the abdominal wall becomes increasingly looser. The muscles push apart from each other, causing your stomach to bulge after pregnancy. You might mistake bulging muscles for fat. 

Because of this, you should get a physical examination and consultation before choosing between liposuction or a tummy tuck. Liposuction addresses fat cells, but only a tummy tuck can repair and move the abdominal muscles back to their original position. Total reparation of the abdominal muscles cannot be achieved through liposuction alone.

Aesthetic Goals

The perfect body is one that feels perfect to you. As such, you and your surgeon should create your plan around your goals. If you’re okay with a little excess skin, you probably don’t need more than liposuction. But if you really want tight and flat skin, you should mention this goal to your surgeon.

Your surgeon might advise you to undergo a liposuction procedure and allow it about four months to heal. If you’re unhappy with your abdomen after that, you can schedule a tummy tuck.

Combining Procedures

Some people want to remove fat, repair muscle, and restructure their skin. These patients are good candidates to undergo both a liposuction and tummy tuck in the same procedure. However, if large quantities of fat must be removed, the liposuction and tummy tuck should be scheduled separately to minimize the risk of complications.