Liposuction or Tummy Tuck: Which Is Right for You?

If you’re researching ways to make your midsection smoother, flatter, and tighter, there’s a good chance you’ve come across both liposuction and tummy tucks. Both procedures are designed to make your tummy smaller, but they do so in different ways. 

Before going under the knife, it’s important to understand the differences between liposuction and tummy tucks. Dr. Richard Beck, an expert plastic surgeon at Richard Beck Plastic Surgery in West Orange, New Jersey, dishes out all the details in this post. 

What is liposuction?

Liposuction goes by many names: lipoplasty, liposculpture, lipectomy, and — more casually — lipo. This cosmetic procedure involves sucking body fat out of certain areas of your body, most commonly the thighs and midsection. It’s also used on the buttocks, chin, neck, arms, calves, and back. Depending on how intensive your procedure, you may receive local anesthesia or general anesthesia.

During liposuction, Dr. Peck uses a hollow device called a cannula to vacuum out your body fat. The procedure permanently removes fat cells, so your body will take on a new shape after the procedure. However, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen to maintain liposuction results. 

Liposuction can only remove a limited amount of fat, so people who get liposuction are usually already at a stable and relatively healthy body weight; they just want to remove unwanted pockets of body fat. These pockets of fat are usually resistant to exercise and diet, which is why patients seek liposuction.  

What is a tummy tuck?

A tummy tuck, also called an abdominoplasty, helps tighten your tummy by removing excess body fat and loose skin. This procedure always requires general anesthesia, so you’ll be asleep throughout. 

Many people who get tummy tucks have excess skin that sags, such as after giving birth or after losing a great deal of weight.  During a tummy tuck, Dr. Peck makes incisions to remove fat and excess skin, as well as reposition loose skin. 

Tummy tucks are more invasive than liposuction and require a longer recovery period. 

Should I get liposuction or a tummy tuck? 

The answer really depends on your personal body goals. The most important thing to note is that neither liposuction nor a tummy tuck is a true weight loss method. Sure, you will probably weigh less after either procedure, but these procedures aren’t replacements for a healthy diet and physical activity. 

The major differentiator is that liposuction addresses fat, not skin, whereas tummy tucks address both. So if you have excess skin that is loose or saggy, you may benefit more from a tummy tuck. If you’re only worried about pockets of fat, liposuction is probably your best option. 

Can I combine liposuction and a tummy tuck?

Technically, you can, and this combo does offer some added benefits if you’re a good candidate — but it isn’t always necessary. Dr. Peck will advise you on the best procedure or combination of procedures. 

To learn more about liposuction, tummy tucks, and other body contouring procedures, schedule a consultation with Dr. Peck. Call Richard Peck Plastic Surgery at 973-370-4501, or book an appointment online.