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Sieber Plastic Surgery San Francisco

Do I Need a Tummy Tuck or Lipo

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 unwanted fat.

These issues do more than affect a person’s self-confidence. Sagging 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.


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 skin around the waist?


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 removal and extra 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 cosmetic 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.



Of the two procedures — tummy tucks and liposuction — tummy tucks tend to be more invasive. Larger incisions must be made so that skin can be removed, and small deposits of excess fat cells 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 or belly button issues. 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 deposits, 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. Liposuction 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 massive weight loss and 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 and fatty tissue will be agitated for easier removal through the cannula. The incisions will then be closed up.


When deciding between a tummy tuck or liposuction, likely the biggest factor will be whether or not you need remove excess skin 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


Is a tummy tuck more effective than lipo?

In broad terms, a tummy tuck procedure primarily focuses on eliminating surplus skin, particularly the marks located between the belly button and the pubic area.

Conversely, liposuction does not address the issue of lax abdominal muscles, which is a key aspect addressed by tummy tucks. As a result, tummy tuck results are typically dramatic.

Can I get lipo instead of a tummy tuck?

Certainly, it is possible for patients get lipo instead of tummy tuck. 360 liposuction procedures are tailored to target waist sculpting, shaping the abdominal region, as well as addressing the flanks and back areas.

Is lipo less painful than tummy tuck?

Tummy tucks are often perceived as painful and invasive because they involve tissue manipulation and are considered invasive procedures. Nonetheless, it is essential to consult with an experienced plastic surgeon to explore suitable options for managing pain during and after the surgery.

Which is better a tummy tuck or Lipo 360?

A tummy tuck is frequently chosen to address excess loose skin, whereas if you’re dealing with localized abdominal fat in specific areas, you might consider options such as lipo 360 or tummy tuck surgery.

Do I need lipo with my tummy tuck?

Patients can achieve enhanced results by combining a tummy tuck with liposuction. This dual approach effectively removes excess fat while simultaneously tightening the entire area and strengthening the abdominal muscles, resulting in a comprehensive improvement. Many patients have questions and ask “If I can get lipo with my tummy tuck?”


Ultimately, the best way to know whether a full tummy tuck surgery 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,  will help you determine whether liposuction or a full tummy tuck procedure will be best for you and your body. Call today to schedule your appointment and start looking forward to the new you!



Dr. Dave Sieber and his staff are so awesome! Dr. Sieber is personable yet professional, his work is impeccable. He listens to his patient and works with them to achieve what they want. He’s like my hair dresser, a magician, you just want to do a happy dance with the results, only these results are lasting. Ok, but seriously, the procedure was very smooth, the staff and the doctors (Dr Sieber and the anesthesiologist) had great communication and made sure I was comfortable with very clear and concise pre op and post op directions. The healing process was very easy and the results are FABULOUS. Side note, Dr. Sieber has really awesome skin, I feel like this is impressive and important because really, would you trust a dentist with bad teeth? I am so elated and satisfied with the results, the size is perfect and they look and feel very natural. They are exactly what I wanted.*

SF Scientist

Dr. Sieber is a doctor who is not only extremely knowledgeable about the latest in cosmetic procedures, but a doctor who truly cares about his patients. I highly recommend him!*


Dr. Sieber is a doctor who is not only extremely knowledgeable about the latest in cosmetic procedures, but a doctor who truly cares about his patients. I highly recommend him!*


Dr. Sieber is attentive, responsive, and well trained. I had seen him for Botox and filler and he had done both without any pain or bruising and more importantly the results were fabulous. He has met with me on time at each appointment. He communicates what to expect, made sure I was comfortable throughout the procedure, checked on my healing every day post procedure. He couldn’t be more delightful not more talented. I had seen other plastic surgeons for in office treatments over the past decade and Dr. Sieber is at the top of the list in terms of delivering the desired outcome and high quality care.*

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