Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction: Choosing the Right Procedure for You

If you’ve been carrying some extra stubborn weight around your waist that you are struggling to get rid of with a nutrient-dense diet and regular exercise, you may be considering plastic surgery to help achieve the smooth, flat abdomen you’ve always wanted.

You have probably encountered liposuction and tummy tuck when searching for plastic surgery procedures that will help you achieve a lean physique. However, when researching these two tummy-taming procedures, it can be challenging to see the difference when they both serve different purposes and can create different results.

Read on as we dive deep into the differences between liposuction and a tummy tuck to help you better determine the procedure for you!

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction uses gentle suction to remove unwanted fatty tissue from around the midsection, arms, thighs, and back. During a liposuction procedure, your surgeon will make a series of small incisions in the lower abdomen where a thin tube called a cannula can be inserted to reach the fatty tissue. Your unwanted tummy fat is then prepared for removal before being siphoned out.

What is a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) restores a lean, flat stomach by removing stubborn tummy fat and excess skin. A standard abdominoplasty involves your surgeon making two incisions: one along the bikini line and another hidden with the navel. Through these incisions, your doctor can gain access to remove excess skin and fat from both the upper and lower stomach. For patients with abdominal muscle damage from past pregnancies or past weight gain, Dr. Bryan Armijo can also use self-dissolving sutures to repair the internal abdominal muscles and help relieve the pain and discomfort of this abdominal separation.

Which is More Effective: Tummy Tuck or Liposuction?

Both procedures are highly effective at removing excess fat; however, liposuction leaves your stomach looking leaner, with less fat noticeable fat accumulation around the midsection. Comparatively, an abdominoplasty creates a more toned and firmer abdomen with less sagging skin. If you want to remove fat, address sagging skin, and strengthen your abdominal wall, a tummy tuck will be the more practical option. Liposuction would be the more effective option if you just want to focus on fat removal and achieve a flatter stomach.

Who Is a Good Candidate For Liposuction?

The best candidates for liposuction in Dallas, TX, include patients with good physical and mental health and a healthy BMI under 30. Liposuction is not a tool used for dramatic weight loss but rather a partner to help you shed the last few stubborn inches from around your midsection. Candidates should also have good skin elasticity, as fat removal can cause sagging skin if their skin has lost elasticity.

Liposuction candidates should also be non-smokers. If you are currently smoking, you must be willing to quit all nicotine use for a minimum of six weeks before and after your procedure. Smoking increases the risk of developing surgical complications such as infections and bleeding.

Who is a Good Candidate for A Tummy Tuck?

When considering a patient for a tummy tuck, surgeons want to ensure they are in good physical and mental health and have excess loose skin and fat around their abdomen. A tummy tuck procedure is an excellent choice for patients who are finished having children or have recently undergone significant weight loss and, as a result, have loose, stretched skin.

Before undergoing an abdominoplasty, candidates for surgery should be within 20 pounds of their ideal weight. For your safety, Dr. Armijo can only remove five to ten pounds of excess fat during a tummy tuck. However, patients report seeing a 20 pounds difference after their tummy tuck because of the inches it can remove from their waist.

Dr. Armijo also requires that all tummy tuck patients be non-smokers or willing to quit for six weeks before and after their procedure.

What is the Best Procedure for Belly Fat?

Liposuction is the best option if you just want to target stubborn belly fat and already have healthy skin elasticity. Dr. Armijo can safely remove up to five pounds of fat during a liposuction procedure to help achieve your desired smooth, flat stomach. Additionally, liposuction results are nearly instant. After a brief 5 to 7-day rest period, you’ll notice a significant reduction in belly fat and a boost in self-confidence. However, results will only continue to show over the next several months as swelling gradually subsides, revealing your lean, contoured figure.

Can You Combine Liposuction and a Tummy Tuck?

Tummy tuck and liposuction combined create excellent results for many patients. Pairing these two procedures allows patients to receive the benefits of both. When combining these two procedures, the tummy tuck will focus on removing excess skin and restoring the abdominal walls. In contrast, liposuction removes stubborn fat pockets that accumulate in the abdomen to effectively reshape your midsection. Liposuction as part of your tummy tuck procedure may extend your recovery time, but it can boost your results and help you achieve your body goals more efficiently.

Should You Get a Tummy Tuck or Liposuction First?

Whether you choose to have liposuction or a tummy tuck first largely depends on if you have excess skin and how much extra fat you’d like to remove. For example, if you still have significant amounts of fat accumulated in your abdominal region and have undergone multiple pregnancies or lost a large amount of weight, chances are your skin has lost its natural elasticity. Simply removing the fat won’t create the results you want; instead, it could potentially leave behind unattractive, sagging skin. In this case, you’ll want to talk to your surgeon about either having a tummy tuck first or combining your tummy tuck with liposuction.

Recovery After Tummy Tuck or Liposuction

Recovery after liposuction is considered brief, and most patients don’t report significant discomfort after their procedure. If you choose to have liposuction, you should expect to rest at home for 5 to 7 days while you heal. You’ll need to limit strenuous physical activities like running, lifting, or stretching exercises during this time. However, light walking is permitted and encouraged. Three to four months after your procedure, you’ll gradually start to see the full results of your liposuction procedure as inflammation begins to subside, revealing your new lean, contoured shape.

Compared to liposuction, recovery from a tummy tuck procedure is longer due to the more invasive measures to excess loose skin and tighten the abdominal muscles. A tummy tuck procedure usually requires two to three weeks to recover. Patients are restricted from engaging in strenuous activities for four to six weeks after their procedure. You’ll be able to see the full results of your tummy tuck procedure almost immediately, with full results appearing gradually over the next few months as swelling subsides.

Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck Results

Both liposuction and a tummy tuck procedure create excellent, long-lasting tummy-smoothing results.

Liposuction results focus on less fat around the stomach, giving the patient a flatter, more even-proportioned midsection. Liposuction results are permanent; however, if the patient fluctuates in weight in the future, the remaining fat cells in the stomach can grow. Therefore, liposuction patients must maintain a nutrient-dense diet and active lifestyle to maintain their liposuction results.

A tummy tuck procedure results in a slimmer, firmer midsection. The abdominal wall will look and feel significantly stronger, and excess skin and fat will also be removed, resulting in a flatter core. Results from a tummy tuck procedure are also permanent, but weight fluctuation or pregnancy can stretch the skin in the abdomen and reverse the effects of the tummy tuck procedure.

Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck Cost

The average cost of a tummy tuck nationwide is $6,092, and the average price for liposuction is between $3,000 and $7,000. During your consultation with Dr. Armijo, he will discuss how much the individual procedure will cost you based on how much contouring your midsection needs to achieve your desired results. We can also present financing options for your convenience.

Ready To Get Started?

The best way to decide between a liposuction and a tummy tuck procedure is to schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Dr. Bryan Armijo is a board-certified plastic surgeon based in Dallas who has performed countless successful liposuction and tummy tuck procedures. During your consultation, he will examine your abdomen and discuss your concerns to help you make the best decision regarding your abdominal surgery. Call our office at (214) 540-1434 to schedule your consultation, or contact us through our website. We look forward to helping you finally remove those few inches around your waist and move forward with your best figure.