Cosmetic Surgery Tips

How do i know if i need a tummy tuck or lipo

You can be sure you need a tummy tuck if you have loose skin, a bulging abdomen and an unattractive belly button. A tummy tuck is also recommended for people who have suffered from massive weight loss or other forms of body contour problems. Tummy tucks can also be performed on people with loose abdominal skin due to pregnancy.

The procedure involves removing excess skin and fat from the abdominal area. The surgeon then tightens the muscles that surround the belly button and sculpts them into the desired shape before sewing them back together again to create a flatter abdomen. If you’re considering undergoing surgery to remove loose skin and fat in your stomach area, there are several factors that may affect your decision:

You may find it hard to access the right information on the internet, so we are here to help you in the following article, providing the best and updated information on How do i know if i need a tummy tuck or lipo, tummy tuck risks of death. Read on to learn more. We at cosmeticsurgerytips have all the information that you need about tummy tuck complications years later. Read on to learn more.

How do i know if i need a tummy tuck or lipo

tummy tucks

It’s normal to feel some insecurity about the way we look and to look for ways to change our look. At Rios Center for Plastic Surgery in Edinburg, TX, we understand insecurities, and we offer several treatments and procedures to help you take back your self-confidence. Today, we reveal six key differences between tummy tucks and liposuction to help you determine which, if either, will help you achieve your aesthetic goals.

What They Have in Common

A tummy tucks and liposuction both seek to improve the appearance of the abdomen. They can both be used to remove excess fat from the tummy region. But that’s about where the similarities end.

6 Key Differences Between a Tummy Tucks and Liposuction

When considering which procedure is right for you, there are six key differences you need to consider: the results of each procedure, how long the results last, what type of anesthesia you will be put under, what you can expect during the procedure, what you can expect from the recovery process and whether you are a good candidate.

1. Results

The most important difference between tummy tucks, also known as abdominoplasty, and liposuction is the results. This is the most common question we get about these Tummy Tucks procedures and it is important to understand all this as you decide which is right for you. Liposuction is used to remove body fat from a trouble region, usually the lower abdomen, upper abdomen, inner and outer thighs, chest and buttocks.

Abdominoplasty, just like liposuction, removes excess fat from the abdomen. However, it also removes excess skin. The most common reason to get an abdominoplasty is due to pregnancy, which stretches your skin and often comes with significant weight gain. The walls of your abdomen can even be stretched to the point of tearing during pregnancy. Depending on the type of abdominoplasty you receive, the walls of your rectus abdominis may be sewn together and excess skin may be removed from your upper or lower abdomen.

2. Longevity

Once our clients understand the realistic results of the tummy tucks procedures, the most common follow-up question is how long will the results last. The results of both these procedures are considered permanent. However, your lifestyle has influence over how successful the long-term results will be. The results of liposuction are considered permanent because once the fat is removed the cells are gone forever. But if you gain weight in the future, remaining fat cells in the treated regions may expand, negating the results of your procedure. Remember, you can’t control where you gain fat.

The results of abdominoplasty are also considered permanent. However, again, the real longevity of the results comes down, in part, to your lifestyle after the procedure. You may end up with loose skin in the future if you gain so much weight your skin has to grow and stretch to accommodate the excess mass. The older you get, the weaker your collagen and elastin become. This increases your risk of the skin not “snapping” back in place after you lose the weight again. Moreover, ventral hernias, future pregnancy and other life events increase your risk of your abdominal walls separating again.

3. Anesthesia

A fairly significant difference between abdominoplasty and liposuction is the anesthesia used. In the case of liposuction, intravenous sedation is typically used. Depending on your personal preferences, a local anesthetic may also be applied to the treatment site. During abdominoplasty, you are put under general anesthesia. During your initial consultation, we will review your current health status, personal preferences and medical history to determine which combination of sedation and anesthesia is right for you.

4. Procedure

During liposuction, a thin tube known as a cannula
is inserted into tiny incisions made at the treatment site. The cannula is moved beneath your skin to loosen excess adipose tissue. Then, a medical-grade suction device is used to remove the dislodged fat cells.

During abdominoplasty, an incision is made at the bottom of the skin covering your abdominal wall. Once the muscle has been exposed, Dr. Rio will sew together the muscles making up your abdominal wall if it has been stretched out and separated. Any excess skin is trimmed off and the incision is closed with sutures.

5. Recovery for Two Weeks Post-Op

The recovery period of liposuction depends on how many areas were targeted, the amount of fat that needed to be removed, the technique used and several other factors. Most clients find that they can return to a white-collar job within a few days. However, you cannot return to a blue-collar job within the first two weeks post-op.

As with liposuction, abdominoplasty is an out-patient procedure. When you wake up from the general anesthesia, Dr. Rios will cover your incision in surgical dressing. This will need to be changed several times. You will also be given a compression garment called a “belly binder”. Within 24 hours post-op, you should be able to walk with assistance to mitigate the risk of blood clots. You will also need to take prescription antibiotics to mitigate your risk of infection and analgesics to alleviate discomfort. You may need surgical drains for up to two weeks post-op.

6. Candidacy

To be a good candidate for liposuction, you must have excess pockets of fat which are resistant to diet and exercise. However, you should also be within 30 pounds of your goal weight. This is a fat removal procedure rather than a weight loss procedure. If you need to lose too much fat, you may be left with excess skin and need several procedures to achieve your desired aesthetic.

To be a good candidate for abdominoplasty, you should have a body mass index no greater than 30, not be actively trying to lose weight, not suffer from a chronic heart condition and not plan to become pregnant in the future. There are no risks to you or your fetus if you get pregnant, but pregnancy causes weight gain in the abdomen particular.

This always increases the chance that you will tear your stomach wall and need another abdominoplasty in the future to correct this. You are also a good candidate for abdominoplasty if you are bothered by excess skin around your lower or upper abdomen, hips, sides and lower back.

Types of Abdominoplasty

If you think abdominoplasty is the right procedure to help you achieve your aesthetic goals and you’re a good candidate, the next logical question is which type of abdominoplasty is right for me. The three types of abdominoplasty are a mini-tuck, traditional tuck and extended tuck. Here’s what you can expect from each:


A mini-tuck is most popular among women who have never given birth. This procedure only addresses excess skin and fatty tissue beneath the navel. If you’re satisfied with your upper abdomen, this quick procedure is all you need to perfect your contours and eliminate any skin laxity or lower abdominal bulges. With a mini-tuck, your abdominal wall itself is not treated.

Traditional Tuck

After significant weight fluctuations, traumatic injuries or pregnancy, the abdominal muscles can become loose or separated. A traditional tuck, like a mini-tuck, addresses excess skin and fat beneath the navel. However, it also addresses excess skin and fat above the navel. This procedure can also be used to repair the abdominal wall if it is loose, separated or damaged by a ventral hernia.

Once the abdomen is repaired, excess fatty and skin tissue are removed, the remaining abdominal skin is tightened over the repaired abdominal wall, and the navel is typically repositioned. This procedure may be combined with liposuction if you have a fairly significant amount of excess fat to be removed.

Extended Tuck

An extended tuck is most often sought by clients who have achieved significant weight loss, typically through bariatric (weight loss) surgery. With the help of this procedure, you get all the benefits of a traditional tuck. However, excess skin and fatty tissue are also removed from the thighs, hips and back. You can also use this procedure to tighten the muscles of the back and flanks.

Medical Benefits of Abdominoplasty

Abdominoplasty is often combined with several other cosmetic procedures, such as liposuction, breast reduction, vaginal rejuvenation and buttocks augmentation, as part of a “mommy makeover”. A mommy makeover is designed to help mothers take back their pre-natal bodies. However, there are several medical benefits of abdominoplasty, as well. Here are a few medical benefits of this procedure you may not be aware of:

Reduction of SUI

SUI, more commonly known as stress urinary incontinence, is a common side effect of vaginal birth. This condition is characterized by uncontrollable leakage triggered by “stress” to your bladder. If you’ve ever leaked when you laughed, coughed, sneezed, ran or jumped, you suffer from stress urinary incontinence.

If you’re dissatisfied by your abdomen and don’t want a separate procedure to cure SUI, we strongly recommend a traditional tuck with a minor bladder obstruction created with the soft tissue near your pelvis. You’ll be amazed by how much your life improves when you don’t have to worry about embarrassing, uncontrollable leaks.

Alleviated Back Pain

Poor posture is one of the leading causes of back pain. If your stomach muscles have become distended through multiple pregnancies or dramatic weight loss, no amount of diet and exercise can repair the abdominal wall. A traditional tuck tightens weak abdominal muscles, correcting lordosis, also known as sway back. Once your torn, damaged muscles are repaired, your spine is better supported by your abdominal muscles.

With an extended tuck, the back and flank muscles are also repaired and tightened. All this excess support can alleviate pain of the lower back, middle back, hips, pelvis and groin. Even better, improved posture enhances the appearance of your new toned abdomen.

Depression Relief

With drastic weight loss often comes significant excess skin. This excess skin can make exercise difficult, if not impossible. However, exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your emotional health. First, it releases happiness chemicals, such as dopamine and serotonin, to elevate your mood in the short-term. Second, regular exercise helps you sleep better at night. Regular quality sleep is essential for regulating your stress hormones, helping you keep excess weight off and minimizing your response to life’s stressors.

Tummy tuck risks of death

Abdominoplasty alone is considered a “major” surgical procedure in terms of risk and impact on normal homeostasis. Relative to other aesthetic surgical procedures, it is associated with higher rates of morbidity and morality, although with lower rates when compared with such reconstructive procedures as craniofacial surgery. According to Grazer and Goldwyn, it carries a mortality rate of 1:617 (.16 percent). about the same as that of hang gliding (1:600). A recent survey reported a rate as 1:2324 (.04 percent). The implication is that abdominoplasty has a significant and definable mortality risk associated with it; therefore, any additional procedure added to an abdominoplasty with further risk should caution the surgeon to minimize adverse outcomes before proceeding. Since not operating incurs no medical hardships, any further risks imposed by liposuction must be weighed by the physician and patient against potential gains.

Another Abdominoplasty Study Showing a 20% Blood Transfusion Rate!

Department of Plastic Surgery, Queen Mary’s Hospital, London

A 6-year retrospective series of 133 abdominoplasties was studied and type and incidence of complications are presented. From this series a group of 34 patients was re-examined between 4 and 10 1/2 years postoperatively and conclusions were made from this long-term follow-up. A high incidence of injury to the lateral cutaneous nerve of the thigh was recorded. A blood transfusion was required in 19% of the cases, the average hospitalization was 12.4 days and the complication rate ranged between 24% in those who did not attend review and 65% in those who were re-examined. Objectively judged, 55% of the patients had excellent or good results, but subjective patient satisfaction was nearly 90%.

A Safer Alternative

We recommend instead the Yoho Method “No Scalpel Tummy Tuck”, done with liposuction, which in most cases gives you a much better result with skin shrinkage and almost no scarring. If you are indeed a tummy tuck candidate, we will tell you. For more information, read “Liposuction vs. Tummy Tucks”.

Tummy tuck complications years later

Abdominoplasty—sometimes called “tummy tuck”—has a higher risk of major complications than other cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, reports a study in the November issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Complication risk is particularly high for the large proportion of patients undergoing abdominoplasty in combination with other procedures, according to an analysis of nationwide data by Dr. Julian Winocour of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, and colleagues. They write, “Combined procedures can significantly increase complication rates and should be considered carefully in higher-risk patients.”

Database Shows High Risk of Major Complications after Abdominoplasty

The researchers assessed abdominoplasty complication rates and risk factors using the nationwide CosmetAssure database. CosmetAssure is an insurance program providing coverage for complications related to cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, which are typically not covered by health insurance.

The study included nearly 25,000 abdominoplasties performed between 2008 and 2013, representing about 14 percent of all procedures in the database. Abdominoplasty is done to remove excess skin and tissue from the abdomen, to create a smoother, firmer abdominal profile.

Ninety-seven percent of abdominoplasty patients were women; the average age was 42 years. Sixty-five percent of patients underwent abdominoplasty combined with other cosmetic surgery procedures.

Overall, major complications occurred in four percent of patients undergoing abdominoplasty—significantly higher than the 1.4 percent rate after other cosmetic surgery procedures. (The database didn’t include less-serious complications that can be managed in the clinic). Hematomas (blood collections) were the most common major complication, followed by infections, blood clots (venous thromboembolism), and lung-related problems.

Combined procedures were a key risk factor for complications. Compared to the 3.1 percent rate with abdominoplasty alone, risk increased when abdominoplasty was combined with other procedures: up to 10.4 percent when abdominoplasty was combined with body contouring plus liposuction. After adjustment for other factors, the relative risk of major complications was 50 percent higher with combined procedures.

Other risk factors for major complications included male sex, age 55 years or older, and obesity. Risk was lower when abdominoplasty was performed in an office-based surgical suite, compared to a hospital or surgical center. Dr. Winocour comments, “Surgeons often refer patients with major illnesses, such as heart disease, to hospitals, which may be responsible for this observed trend in complications.”

Diabetes and smoking—two major surgical risk factors—were not associated with a significant increase in complications after abdominoplasty. “That likely reflected Board-certified plastic surgeons’ practice of not offering abdominoplasty to poorly controlled diabetics and recommending strict smoking cessation for at least four weeks before and after surgery,” Dr. Wincour adds.

Abdominoplasty is the sixth most common cosmetic surgical procedure performed in the United States, with more than 117,000 procedures performed in 2014, according to ASPS statistics. The number of abdominoplasties has increased in recent years—partly because of the increased number of patients undergoing body contouring surgery to remove excess skin and tissue after massive weight loss.

The study adds to previous evidence that abdominoplasty carries a higher complication rate than other cosmetic plastic surgery procedures. “Although the overall incidence of major complications is low, such complications can leave a potentially devastating cosmetic outcome and pose a significant financial burden on the patient and surgeon,” the researchers write.

They draw special attention to the risk associated with multiple procedures—especially since nearly two-thirds of patients in the database underwent other cosmetic procedures combined with abdominoplasty. Dr. Winocour and colleagues suggest that some patients at high risk of complications might be better off undergoing staged rather than combination procedures.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® is published by Wolters Kluwer.

About Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

For over 75 years, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® has been the one consistently excellent reference for every specialist who uses plastic surgery techniques or works in conjunction with a plastic surgeon. The official journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® brings subscribers up-to-the-minute reports on the latest techniques and follow-up for all areas of plastic and reconstructive surgery, including breast reconstruction, experimental studies, maxillofacial reconstruction, hand and microsurgery, burn repair and cosmetic surgery, as well as news on medico-legal issues.

About ASPS

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. Representing more than 7,000 physician members, the society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises more than 93 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal Colle

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