Liposuction is a popular cosmetic surgery procedure used to remove unwanted fat deposits from the body. This is done with the use of a thin tube called a cannula that is inserted under the skin. Liposuction can be used in areas like the stomach, thighs, buttocks, and arms.
The procedure is not intended for weight loss, but instead targets specific fat deposits that are resistant to other methods of fat removal. These areas may include the stomach or abdomen, which is one of the most common areas for liposuction.
Abdominal liposuction is a procedure that involves removing excess fat around the stomach area to create a flatter stomach and waistline. It’s often done as part of an overall weight loss program to help get rid of excess belly fat after losing weight elsewhere on your body.
When it comes to liposuction for your abdomen, there are two options: traditional liposuction and tummy tucks.
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If you’re carrying extra weight around your midsection that you can’t seem to lose, you may be considering plastic surgery to help you get the lean physique you’re after. Lipo and tummy tucks are two popular procedures to address these concerns, but what are the differences between the two surgeries? In this post, we’ll talk about the differences between the two and how to tell which is right for you.
First, it’s important to know that these are not weight loss surgeries. Both liposuction and a tummy tuck are meant to sculpt the body, not reduce your weight.
What is Involved in a Tummy Tuck
During a tummy tuck, Dr. Ortiz will make a horizontal incision across your hips, between your pubic area and belly button. This incision allows him to repair the muscles by pulling them together and stitching them with medical-grade nylon.
Once the muscles are repaired, excess skin is trimmed away and the remaining skin is sutured together. The result is a flatter, smoother stomach with a faint scar across the hip area. The results of a tummy tuck can be permanent with proper diet and exercise. Substantial weight gain will undo the results of your tummy tuck.
Tummy tucks are more intensive procedures than liposuction. While lipo only removes excess fat, a tummy tuck reconstructs the muscles of the abdomen and removes excess skin.
Who is a Tummy Tuck For?
Tummy tucks are ideal for healthy people who have stubborn fat on their midsection that they cannot lose with diet and exercise. If your abdomen is sagging or protruding due to age, pregnancy, weight loss, or prior surgeries and you have no other health conditions, you are likely a good candidate for a tummy tuck.
What is Involved in Liposuction
Liposuction is a far less invasive procedure than a tummy tuck. It can be performed on almost any part of the body that has excess fat: the stomach, back, arms, legs, and even under the chin.
During the procedure, a solution of saline, water, and anesthesia is injected into the fat cells to be removed. Then, using a cannula similar to an IV needle, the fat is sucked out. The result is a more sculpted figure.
Unlike a tummy tuck, liposuction does not remove excess skin. This is why it is best suited for removal of small fat deposits. In addition, it’s important to know that liposuction is not a weight loss surgery and you will not lose drastic amounts of weight with this procedure.
The removal of the fat cells is permanent, but lipo does not prevent you from gaining weight in the future. You will need to maintain your new figure with diet and exercise.
Who is Lipo For?
Like a tummy tuck, a healthy person with stubborn fat deposits that do not respond to diet or exercise is likely a good candidate for liposuction.
Which is Right For Me: a Tummy Tuck or Lipo?
If loose skin is a concern for you, a tummy tuck will give you the best results.
If you simply have small pockets of fat around your midsection that you’d like to address, liposuction is probably the best option for you.
liposuction vs tummy tuck pictures
Abdominoplasty (also called a “tummy tuck”) and liposuction are two different surgical procedures that aim to change the appearance of your midsection. Both procedures claim to make your stomach appear flatter, tighter, and smaller. They’re both performed by plastic surgeons, and are considered “cosmetic,” so they aren’t covered by health insurance.
In terms of the actual procedure, recovery time, and risks, there are some key differences between the two. Keep reading to learn more.
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Liposuction and tummy tucks often appeal to people with similar cosmetic goals. But there are some important differences.
Liposuction may be a good fit if you’re looking to remove small fat deposits. These are commonly found on the hips, thighs, buttocks, or stomach area.
The procedure will remove fat deposits from the targeted area, reducing bulges and improving contour. However, liposuction isn’t recommended as a weight loss tool. You shouldn’t get liposuction if you’re obese.
In addition to removing excess fat from the abdomen, a tummy tuck also removes excess skin.
Pregnancy or significant shifts in your weight can stretch out the skin that surrounds your stomach. A tummy tuck can be used to restore the look of a flat and contoured midsection. This procedure may involve bringing the rectus abdominus, or sit-up muscles, back together if they’ve been stretched or separated by pregnancy.
You may want to reconsider a tummy tuck if:
- your body mass index is over 30
- you’re considering getting pregnant in the future
- you’re actively trying to lose weight
- you have a chronic heart condition
Liposuctions and tummy tucks are both performed by a plastic surgeon and require incisions and anesthesia.
You may be intravenously sedated for this procedure. In some cases, your surgeon will apply a local anesthetic to your midsection.
Once the area is numb, your surgeon will make small incisions around the site of your fat deposits. A thin tube (cannula) will be moved underneath your skin to loosen the fat cells. Your surgeon will use a medical vacuum to suction out the dislodged fat deposits.
It may take several sessions to achieve your desired result.
Your surgeon will put you to sleep via general anesthesia. After you’re sedated, they’ll make an incision at the bottom of the skin that covers your abdominal wall.
Once the muscles are exposed, your surgeon will sew the muscles in your abdominal wall together if they have become stretched out. They will then pull tight the skin over your abdomen, trim off excess skin, and close the incision with sutures.
A tummy tuck is done in one procedure. The entire surgery typically takes two to three hours.
Although liposuction and a tummy tuck both claim permanent results, significant weight gain after either procedure can alter this outcome.
People that have liposuction on their abdomen tend to see a flatter, more proportioned midsection once they have recovered from the procedure. These results are supposed to be permanent. But at least one studyTrusted Source disagrees. According to this study, up to a year after the procedure, the fat deposits reappear, though they may show up elsewhere on your body. If you gain weight, fat will reaccumulate in your body, though not typically in the areas that were suctioned.
After a tummy tuck, the results are considered permanent. Your abdominal wall will be more stable and strong. The excess skin that has been removed won’t return unless fluctuation in weight or a subsequent pregnancy stretches out the area again.
Although there are side effects associated with any surgery, each procedure poses different risks that you should be aware of.
With liposuction, your risk of complication increases if your surgeon is working on a large area. Performing multiple procedures during the same operation can also increase your risk.
Possible risks include:
- Numbness. You may feel numbness in the affected area. Although this is often temporary, it may become permanent.
- Contour irregularities. Sometimes the fat that’s removed creates a wavy or jagged impression on the top layer of your skin. This can make the skin appear less smooth.
- Fluid accumulation. Seromas — temporary pockets of fluid — may form under the skin. Your doctor will need to drain these.
Rare risks include:
- Infection. Infections may occur at the site of your liposuction incision.
- Internal organ puncture. If the cannula penetrates too deeply, it may puncture an organ.
- Fat embolism. An embolism occurs when a loosened piece of fat breaks away, becomes trapped in a blood vessel, and travels to the lungs or brain.
Tummy tucks have been shown to carry more complication risks than some other cosmetic procedures.
In one study, 8.5 percentTrusted Source of people who had a tummy tuck needed to return to the hospital because of some kind of complication. Wound complications and infections were among the most common reasons for readmission.
Other possible risks include:
- Changes in sensation. Repositioning your abdominal tissue may affect the superficial sensory nerves in this area, as well as in your upper thighs. You may feel numbness in these areas.
- Fluid accumulation. As with liposuction, temporary pockets of fluid may form under the skin. Your doctor will need to drain these.
- Tissue necrosis. In some cases, fatty tissue deep within the abdominal area may get damaged. Tissue that doesn’t heal or dies must be removed by your surgeon.
The recovery process is also different for each procedure.
Your recovery process will depend on how many areas were operated on, and whether additional liposuction sessions are needed.
After the procedure, you may experience:
- swelling at the site of your fat removal
- draining and bleeding at the site of your incision
Your surgeon may recommend that you wear a compression garment to help reduce swelling and help your skin heal smoothly over your new shape.
Because liposuction is an outpatient procedure, regular activity can be resumed fairly quickly. You should be able to do anything you usually do within the next 48 hours.
However, you should hold off on heavy weight lifting and extensive cardio until you’ve gotten approval from your doctor.
When you wake up, your incision will be covered in surgical dressing, which will need to be changed several times. Your surgeon will also provide you with a compression garment or “belly binder.”
Within one day, you should be up and walking (with assistance) to prevent the formation of blood clots. You’ll likely be taking prescription pain relievers and antibiotics to help ease any discomfort and reduce your risk of infection.
Surgical drains may also be in place for up to two weeks.
It takes six weeks for the initial recovery phase of a tummy tuck to pass, and you’ll need several follow-up appointments with your doctor to check on how your incision is healing. During this time, you should avoid any position that involves abdominal extension or bending backwards, which may pull or place too much tension on the incision.
You should also hold off on any strenuous physical activity or exercise until you get your doctor’s approval.