Liposuction is an extremely common procedure to add to a tummy tuck. If you are interested in a tummy tuck, it is worthwhile to discuss the addition of liposuction with your plastic surgeon at your consultation appointment or at any time before your surgery date.
In the following article, we’ll explain what a tummy tuck is and how it differs from liposuction. We’ll also outline how the two procedures can go together for optimal results.
What Is a Tummy Tuck and Who Is It For?
A tummy tuck — also called abdominoplasty — is a life-changing surgery for many men and women. The procedure tightens the muscles and skin around the abdomen, creating a firmer, flatter stomach that can often not be achieved in any other way except through surgery.
The most common candidates for tummy tuck surgery are those who have recently lost a significant amount of weight and mothers who are finished having children. Those who have recently undergone weight loss may have excess skin on the abdomen that was stretched out during the period of weight gain and obesity. Despite working hard to exercise and eat healthy, excess skin can never be lost by these means. Similarly, women who have had children often struggle with stretched out abdominal skin from pregnancy. Both groups may also struggle with stretch marks, which can sometimes be improved through a tummy tuck.
What Happens During Tummy Tuck Surgery?
The tummy tuck procedure is performed under general anesthesia or intravenous sedation. It involves making a low horizontal incision near the pubic hair line. In some cases — when the location of the bellybutton must be altered — another incision will be made encircling the naval. The skin can then be lifted so that the abdominal muscles can be fixed and tightened.
Next, the skin of the upper abdomen will be pulled down, and the excess skin at the bottom will be cut off. When necessary, the bellybutton will be attached into position. Lastly, the incisions will be carefully closed up for as little scarring as possible.
What Is Liposuction and Who Is It For?
Liposuction is for anyone who wants to get rid of stubborn, exercise-resistant fat. Liposuction is most often performed around the abdomen, but it can also be performed on the buttocks, upper arms, thighs, face/chin, and elsewhere.
Most candidates for liposuction are at a healthy weight and have worked hard to get rid of those last few “vanity pounds”. Unfortunately, some types of fat seem to stick around no matter how much work you do, and the only way to get rid of these fat deposits is through cosmetic surgery — namely, liposuction.
It’s important to note that liposuction is not a form of weight loss in itself. If you have a significant amount of weight to lose, liposuction should not be your first solution. If, on the other hand, you are able to lose weight in a healthy way — usually through diet and exercise — and you still have excess fat that you’d like to have removed, liposuction may be the solution for you at that point.
What Happens During Liposuction?
Liposuction is slightly less invasive than a tummy tuck, but general anesthesia or intravenous sedation are still typically used. When combined with a tummy tuck, one of these options will definitely be used for your optimal comfort.
Your surgeon will start by making small incisions near where fat is to be taken out. These small incisions will be the entering points for a thin metal tube called a cannula. This tube will be inserted into the incisions so that it can agitate and remove the excess fat through suction. Finally, the incisions will be closed.
When Is It Best to Combine a Tummy Tuck With Liposuction?
Combining a tummy tuck with liposuction is often called body contouring. You are addressing several issues at once when you combine these two procedures. A tummy tuck will take care of excess skin and fix weak abdominal muscles, while liposuction will remove exercise-resistant fat. Because both of these issues often go hand-in-hand, addressing them at the same time can result in overall better, more natural-looking results.
When you combine both procedures into one surgery, you can also save money, reduce the risk of complications (instead of having two separate surgeries, you’re just having one), and address multiple issues at once. Sometimes, your surgeon can even reduce the number of incisions he makes by combining these procedures.
Lastly, having one surgery for both procedures will reduce your recovery time by a large margin. Instead of having to recover from two separate procedures, you’ll have one recovery period during which you can put your full effort toward rest and recuperation. Additionally, in most cases, your surgeon will be able to use a layered suturing technique to close up your incisions. This can eliminate the need for drains after surgery. Having to handle messy drains during recovery is a challenge for many patients, so this can make the recovery period significantly easier as well.
Does Everyone Who Would Benefit From a Tummy Tuck Also Benefit From Liposuction?
Not necessarily. Some people only need one procedure or the other.
For example, some people may think they have excess fat beneath their excess skin on the abdomen, but it could simply be the excess skin that is adding bulk to their frame. In this case, only a tummy tuck would likely be necessary.
The best way to determine if you would be a good candidate for both a tummy tuck and liposuction is to make a consultation appointment with a qualified plastic surgeon. At this appointment, your surgeon will give you a short physical examination and speak to you about your medical history.
Book Your Tummy Tuck Consultation Appointment Today
Dr. Sieber has unique qualifications and experience performing both individual tummy tucks and liposuction surgeries and combined tummy tuck-liposuction surgeries. If you are interested in one of these procedures or both, contact our office today to discuss your options and book your consultation appointment.