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Dr. Michaels' Blog

Belly Basics: Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck

Belly Basics. Liposuction versus Tummy Tuck

You want a nicer belly, but, which is right for you; liposuction or an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)? It all depends on the quality of your tissues, specifically the skin and muscles. If you have tight, well positioned muscles and smooth stretch-mark free skin, liposuction is for you. On the other hand, if you have stretch-marks, hanging skin, or loose muscles, abdominoplasty is what you need.

Liposuction removes excess fat from between the skin and the muscles of your abdomen. It’s great for improving the contour and shape of your body. It can be done with local anesthesia and minimal sedation. For the liposuction procedure, a thin hollow metal tube with a blunt end is passed under the skin in the fat. Fat globules fall into holes cut in the side of the tube when the instrument is moved back and forth.  Suction removes the fat that collects in the tube. So, liposuction removes only fat.

Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, is a more involved technique that can improve all the superficial tissues of the belly. While liposuction is performed through several small incisions, abdominoplasty is done through an incision from hip to hip just above the pubis. The belly skin is lifted and excess skin and fat are removed, and the 6-pack muscles are re-positioned to their original position. Abdominoplasty tightens the skin and muscles, flattening the belly and smoothing the skin.

People that have had significant weight loss, or pregnancies that stretched out the skin and muscles usually need an abdominoplasty. People who just want isolated fat pockets removed are best served with liposuction.