Dr. Wigoda’s Notes: Liposuction Vs. Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) – What’s the Difference?

As the Florida economy warms up, so is the demand for beach body plastic surgery procedures such as lipo and tummy tucks.  Fort Lauderdale plastic surgeon, Dr. Paul Wigoda, warns patients to do their homework first, learning the risks and potential results. Last year, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reported almost 9.5 million cosmetic procedures; with Liposuction being the second most popular choice for women.

“People need to educate themselves on the difference between cosmetic procedures such as tummy tucks versus liposuction,” said Dr. Wigoda, plastic surgeon and Chief of Plastic Surgery at Broward General Hospital.

Liposuction and tummy tucks are procedures performed to contour the body. While they both involve removing excess fat, they accomplish different things.

Liposuction

Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty, is a surgical procedure that involves making small incisions where the fat is to be removed using thin, hollow tubes called cannulas to suction the fat out. Typically, the area is anesthetized using a combination of lidocaine and epinephrine. The person may elect for local or general anesthesia. There are different types of liposuction including ultrasonic, laser assisted, power assisted, and traditional suction assisted. Which one is used often depends on the surgeon’s preference and experience.

Liposuction surgery may be considered to treat areas of excess fat in the stomach, buttocks, hips, love handles, saddlebags, thighs, calves, ankles, breasts (including male breast enlargement), back, arms and neck. Liposuction is equally effective in both men and women.

Good candidates for liposuction

  • If you have areas of fat deposits that are out of proportion with the rest of your body and do not go away with diet and exercise –sometimes referred to as “diet resistant fat”
  • Areas with minimal amounts of excess skin (Liposuction removes fat not skin) and good skin elasticity

Tummy Tucks

Abdominoplasty will enhance your body contour by making your abdomen firmer and flatter. You may find that you feel more comfortable in your clothing and are more confident about your appearance

Good candidates for Tummy Tucks

If you have

  • If you have excess or sagging abdominal skin
  • A protruding abdomen that protrudes out of proportion to the rest of your body
  • Abdominal muscles that have been separated and weakened
  • Excess fatty tissue that is concentrated in your abdomen

In this procedure, a long incision is made in the lower abdomen, just above the pubic area. The abdominal muscles are tightened, excess fat is removed, and excess skin is trimmed away. Tummy tucks, also called abdominoplasty, are great for men and women who have loose sagging abdominal skin, weak abdominal muscles, and excess fact that has settled under the skin around the stomach.

While you can achieve dramatic changes in your appearance, including a change in your dress or pants size, you won’t necessarily lose a significant amount of weight using these methods. If you are looking to lose weight, then it is best to follow a healthy diet routine of diet and exercise.

Tummy tucks and liposuction can be regarded as complementary procedures that, combined with other healthy lifestyle choices, can help you look and feel your best.

In brief:

Tummy Tuck vs Liposuction

• Though both tummy tuck and liposuction are surgical procedures to get rid of excess fat, tummy tucks also address problems with loose skin and muscles.

• Liposuction may be less painful and has a shorter recovery time but will not be the ideal procedure if the primary problem is loose skin and/or loose muscles.

• Liposuction is, in some cases, better for younger patients as the results tend to be better when the skin is firm and elastic while tummy tuck can be suitable for patients of all ages

• Tummy tuck is preferred when there is loose skin or muscles, while for persons who have concentrated areas of excess fat, liposuction is more appropriate.