Although liposuction and tummy tucks are both cosmetic procedures that result in a slimmer, shapelier midsection, those considering this type of surgery should understand critical differences between the two. Whether liposuction or a tummy tuck is the best choice for you depends on a range of factors, including your desired results.
With liposuction, excess fat is removed from the abdominal area. Tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a more involved procedure in which the surgeon removes fat as well as excess skin, then tightens the abdominal muscles before closing the incisions. While liposuction is an outpatient procedure, abdominoplasty requires a hospital stay.
Not only is liposuction a shorter operation, you'll also recover more quickly than with a tummy tuck. Abdominoplasty requires a night's stay in the hospital and at least two weeks off from work with limited activity. This operation is also more painful during recovery than liposuction because of the tightened abdominal muscles.
For women who have loose skin in the abdominal area, such as older women, those who have had multiple pregnancies, and those who have had a dramatic weight loss, a tummy tuck is usually the better choice. That's because while liposuction will remove the fat from the area, the loose skin will remain. However, for women who would like a smaller pants size but don't plan to hit the beach in a bikini, liposuction is often an appropriate choice that meets their expectations without a long recovery time.
While a tummy tuck primarily focuses on the abdomen, many women are bothered by excess fat around the hips, back, or flanks. In these cases, abdominoplasty combined with liposuction is often the best solution.
Liposuction, which uses a thin tube, results in minimal scarring, with marks fading almost immediately after surgery. While a tummy tuck results in a long scar on the lower abdomen, the surgeon takes care to ensure that it's under the bikini line. With proper aftercare, this scar will also fade with time.
Keep in mind that neither of these procedures is used to lose weight, so women who are considering cosmetic surgery should first reach and commit to maintaining a healthy weight. Every woman's body is different, so the best way to decide on any plastic surgery procedure is through evaluation by and consultation with a surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties.