If you have been struggling to get the flat stomach of your dreams, you may have considered plastic surgery. Liposuction is a popular option, but it is not right for everyone. For people with excess skin as well as excess fat, a tummy tuck may be the way to go. You are warmly invited to learn about the key differences between these two cosmetic options and which may be the better option for you.
What is Liposuction?
This is a form of plastic surgery designed to remove small pockets of fat. People commonly have it done on the abdomen, thighs, hips, etc. It is limited in the amount of fat that can be removed and is not intended to treat obesity. Rather, this is more of a body contouring procedure.
Prior to having this surgery, anesthesia is administered. The type will depend on the area being treated and other factors. The fat is then broken up prior to being removed. In the past, this was always done using a cannula, which is a long, thin tube. Now, there are more advanced liposuction techniques that use things such as lasers and ultrasound energy to break up the fat. Typically speaking, the entire procedure can be done with no hospital stay required. Someone to drive you home is required, however, if the procedure is done under general anesthesia. It is also a good idea to have someone stay with you for the first few nights as you recover.
What is a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck does more than remove deposits of fat, although it certainly does that. This procedure also removes excess skin and tightens the muscles, effectively strengthening the core. It is great for people needing help to flatten their midsection.
This is a procedure that is also done under anesthesia. The surgeon will tighten loose muscles. Excess fat and skin can be removed as well. Everything can be pulled together tight to help support the core. Of course, the exact details of the surgery vary from patient to patient.
When to Choose a Tummy Tuck Over Liposuction
When helping people decide which procedure is right for them, there are several things we factor in. Here are some of the major considerations:
Muscle tone: Of the two options, only one can help you restore muscle tone. If you are someone who has been pregnant or recently lost a great deal of weight, a tummy tuck may be what you need to get the flat stomach you are after.
Skin laxity: Similarly, only one of these options can help remove excess skin. Again, this is a common problem after pregnancy or weight loss. While liposuction can help remove bulges of fat, it cannot help your skin tighten to its new shape.
Overall goal: Ultimately, liposuction may work with you if you are not concerned about a bit of excess skin. If your goal is to show off a flat stomach, however, and you are concerned about muscle tone and/or skin laxity as well, a tummy tuck is the way to go.
Time: Due to how much more thorough a tummy tuck is, it does take more time to recover from. Although there are many variables that impact how long recovery from liposuction takes, you can expect it to take less time than a recovery from a tummy tuck. If you are someone who can take the time to go with the procedure that will get you more dramatic results, a tummy tuck is the better option.
Stretch marks: Bothered by the appearance of stretch marks? Liposuction can do nothing to reduce their appearance. A well-done tummy tuck, on the other hand, can often remove the portion of the skin with the marks. This leaves your skin not only tighter but smoother and more aesthetically pleasing as well. With that being said, the surgery does not guarantee stretch mark removal; you can just see it as a potential added bonus.
Candidates for a Tummy Tuck
Candidates for this procedure are those who are seeking to do more than eliminate stubborn pockets of fat. Women who have been pregnant are typically better candidates for this option because their skin has been stretched out around their stomach. The same is true for those who have lost a large amount of weight. For women, it is often advised to wait until you are done having children to have a tummy tuck. This is simply because the results are more likely to become undone with another pregnancy.
Like with all forms of plastic surgery, it is important to be in good overall health. We will discuss the procedure in detail with you prior to beginning. Fully understanding what a tummy tuck entails and what you can expect is an important part of being a good candidate. It is also helpful to have a positive outlook and realistic expectations regarding the surgery and results.
Certain individuals would not be considered good candidates. These include those with serious health problems. People who are still trying to lose weight and women who are planning to become pregnant again should also wait before having this surgery.
Candidates for Liposuction
In order to be considered a good candidate for liposuction, you will need to have good skin laxity and be at or very close to your goal weight. If you already have some drooping or sagging of the skin in the area, this will just be made worse if you have liposuction done alone. The benefits of liposuction include less downtime, so it is an option worth considering if you are a good candidate for the procedure. Additionally, liposuction can be done on areas of the body other than just the abdomen, which is another small advantage it has over a tummy tuck.
Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction: The End Results
The results from both of these procedures are typically considered permanent. Research has recently suggested, however, that those who have liposuction are likely to regain the weight in a different area of the body within a year. Dramatic changes in lifestyle resulting in significant weight loss can have a negative impact on your results, no matter which procedure you had done.
Skin that is removed during a tummy tuck will be permanent. That being said, the skin can still be stretched out through weight gain and pregnancy. At the end of the day, both surgeries have the potential to give you permanent results as long as you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
It is understandable that people are seeking the best possible improvements with the least amount of downtime. However, many people will be disappointed with their liposuction results if they were better candidates for a tummy tuck. Ultimately, if you are going to invest the time and energy into your body, it is important to choose the proper procedure.
Combining the Two Procedures
In some cases, having both procedures done is recommended. This is one of the things established at your initial consultation, where a physical exam can be completed and your goals can be discussed. Having liposuction done in conjunction with a tummy tuck can help to remove any remaining excess fat and skin, as well as tighten the underlying muscles and tighten the remaining skin. This can be beneficial when there is a larger amount of fat to remove and for minimizing the amount of skin that needs to be removed.
The Different Types of Tummy Tucks
There are actually two different options when it comes to having a tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty. Depending on your needs, it may be recommended that you have a full or “mini” procedure. These two surgeries have the same ultimate goal, but they vary on how involved they are. The biggest difference between the two is how long the incision needs to be.
If you elect to have the mini type, a smaller incision is typically required, but less skin can be removed. This is yet another reason that a consultation is so important. By evaluating your needs and discussing your goals, we can recommend the proper treatment choice for you.
What About Non-Invasive Body Contouring?
You may have heard about the growing trend of non-invasive forms of body sculpting. While these treatments certainly have their uses, it is important to realize that they cannot provide nearly the same level of results as a tummy tuck and liposuction can. Also, they are designed to only attack fat, not to dramatically tighten up the skin or help with muscle tone underneath. Non-invasive treatments often claim to permanently destroy fat, but people often find themselves needing maintenance treatments down the road. This will not be the case with a surgical procedure like abdominoplasty or liposuction. In short, if you are looking for one procedure to dramatically improve skin laxity, muscle tone, and your body contours, a tummy tuck is likely the way to go.
Learn More About Your Options During a Consultation
Whether you have decided that an abdominoplasty procedure is right for you or you are still wondering about your options, we invite you to reach out to us at Burt & Will Plastic Surgery. The first step is to schedule your consultation at one of our offices, where we can evaluate your goals and help you decide which path is best for you and your needs. For many people, a tummy tuck is just the thing to give them the flat abdomen they have been dreaming of! However, it all depends on the unique case. For your convenience, we have offices located in Plainfield, Burr Ridge, Morris, and Limelight. Contact us today to book an appointment and get started.