Unhappy with the state of your midsection? You’re not alone.
Millions of men and women struggle with excess abdominal fat that they just can’t seem to get rid of. Often, the problem involves excess skin as well.
These issues do more than affect a person’s self-confidence. Excess skin, for one, can make exercise problematic. It can be difficult to fit into clothes or find undergarments that feel comfortable. Moreover, excess belly fat has been linked to higher rates of morbidity when related to health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Plastic Surgery or Lifestyle Changes?
Naturally, a situation like this should prompt you to look at your diet and lifestyle. A nutritious diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can go a long way at slimming your waistline and improving your overall health. Likewise, getting regular exercise — even if it’s just 15 minutes a day — can help as well.
Still, we all know that diet and exercise can only go so far. What happens when you’ve been paying attention to what you eat and your physical activity and you’re still struggling with annoying abdominal fat and/or excess skin around the waist?
Speaking to a Plastic Surgeon About Your Options
Plastic surgery has come a long way over the past decade. Today, there are more procedures than ever designed to help you achieve your desired silhouette and boost your confidence.
As far as abdominal fat and excess skin around the waist goes, patients usually have two options: tummy tucks or liposuction.
A lot of patients know this already, but they may not know which procedure is best for them. While it’s always good to consult directly with a plastic surgeon about your option, we can take a look at each surgery individually right now.
Up ahead, we’ll examine the key differences and similarities between tummy tucks and liposuction to help you decide which procedure will be best for you.
Tummy Tucks Vs. Liposuction
Of the two procedures — tummy tucks and liposuction — tummy tucks tend to be more invasive. Larger incisions must be made so that excess skin can be removed, and small deposits of excess fat are generally removed as well.
Even though tummy tucks can target fat, they are primarily targeted at individuals who have excess skin that they want to get rid of. Often, candidates for tummy tucks have excess skin because they have recently lost a significant amount of weight — 50 pounds or more. Alternatively, they may be mothers who have gone through one or more pregnancies and are now finished having children and are looking to find their shape again. Pregnancy can cause a separation of the stomach muscles (diastasis recti) as well as loose skin that doesn’t bounce back to its original shape.
With a tummy tuck, a flat midsection can be restored when your plastic surgeon repairs your stomach muscles (rectus abdominis), removes excess skin, and gets rid of small excess fat deposits.
The procedure involves making incision(s) near the pubic bone and sometimes near the navel to remove excess fat in the lower abdomen. The abdominal muscles are restructured, and the skin is then stretched tight over the abdominal, and the excess is cut off. The belly button is relocated if necessary, and the incisions are closed.
Liposuction tends to be less invasive than a tummy tuck. This procedure is aimed at individuals who do not have excess skin to remove but instead want to get rid of stubborn fat, which may be located on the abdomen and elsewhere. For example, liposuction can also be performed on the upper arms, the thighs, the buttocks, etc.
Liposuction is not for individuals who have a significant amount of weight to lose. Patients who are overweight or obese should address this issue safely through diet and exercise, if possible. Of course, other options may be discussed with patients’ general practitioners as well.
Still, liposuction can help with removing those last few pounds after significant weight loss (or those that have simply crept on over time despite your best efforts).
The liposuction procedure often takes several sessions. Small incisions are made near the sites where fat is to be removed. A thin metal tube called a cannula is then inserted by your plastic surgeon into the incisions. Through various methods, the fat will be agitated for easier removal through the cannula. The incisions will then be closed up.
Deciding Between a Tummy Tuck or Liposuction
When deciding between a tummy tuck or liposuction, likely the biggest factor will be whether or not you need excess skin removed. To be sure, liposuction is often used in conjunction with tummy tucks to remove both excess fat and excess skin. But if you don’t need any excess skin to be removed, liposuction alone is probably your answer.
Beyond this factor, you should be looking at considerations such as the overall cost of surgery, recovery time, and your overall lifestyle. Keep in mind as long as you continue on with a healthy lifestyle, the results of both surgeries should be permanent. On the other hand, results are not always guaranteed if you allow excess fat to creep on over time. For this reason, plastic surgeons emphasize the importance of continuing on with a healthy diet and regular exercise once patients are cleared for movement after surgery.
Making Your Final Decision
Ultimately, the best way to know whether a tummy tuck or liposuction is best for you is to make a consultation appointment with Dr. Sieber to discuss your options.
Sieber Plastic Surgery offers first-rate care for all of our patients. Dr. Sieber is a double board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in reconstructive and cosmetic surgery of the breast, face, and body in the San Francisco area. His practice includes an emphasis on liposuction and tummy tuck procedures.
At your consultation appointment, Dr. Sieber will help you determine whether liposuction or a tummy tuck will be best for you and your body. Call today to schedule your appointment and start looking forward to the new you!