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Liposuction and abdominoplasty (aka “tummy tuck”) are the two most popular surgical procedures for the midsection. Both procedures aim to make your stomach appear flatter and tighter. Furthermore, both procedures are cosmetic treatments performed by board-certified plastic surgeons. Considering these surface similarities, patients often assume liposuction and tummy tuck are synonymous terms. But that isn’t the case; they’re actually two entirely different procedures. This article aims to highlight the key differences between liposuction and a tummy tuck.

Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck: Goal 

  • Goal of Liposuction

Liposuction aims to remove fat cells from targeted regions with stubborn fat, such as the hips, thighs, stomach, and buttocks. This procedure is only suitable for those who want to improve their contour by removing stubborn fat. It’s not suitable for individuals who are obese, and it shouldn’t be considered a weight-loss treatment. If you want surgery for significant weight loss, you should consider bariatric surgeries.

  • Goal of a Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck aims to remove stubborn fat tissues and tighten your abdominal muscles. This procedure is suitable for those who want to remove excess fat and skin tissues, generally after a pregnancy or sudden weight loss. You can use this procedure to restore your abdominal muscles and remove hanging or sagging skin tissues. However, a tummy tuck isn’t a weight loss procedure, making it unsuitable for those with a BMI over 30. You should also avoid this procedure if you intend to get pregnant in the future. 

Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck: Procedure Overview

  • Liposuction Procedure Overview

Liposuction is performed by a plastic surgeon under local anesthesia and intravenous sedation. Once your midsection is numb, the plastic surgeon makes small incisions around the targeted sites. The incisions become entry points for a cannula (a thin tube) that moves underneath the skin tissues. Once activated, the cannula loosens the fat cells and vacuums them out of your body. Over multiple sessions, the plastic surgeon strategically extracts fat tissues from your body, gradually reducing your stomach size.

  • Tummy Tuck  Procedure Overview

A tummy tuck is performed by a plastic surgeon under general anesthesia, i.e., you’re not conscious for the procedure. Once the sedation kicks in completely, the plastic surgeon makes an incision below the skin covering the abdominal walls. After exposing the underlying muscles, they sew the muscles that have been stretched out. Finally, they pull your skin tissues tight over the abdominal walls, trim excess skin tissues, and suture the incisions. The entire procedure concludes in a single 2-3 hours session.

Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck: Results

  • Liposuction Results

Liposuction significantly reduces your fat tissues, making your stomach appear flatter and better proportioned. The results are usually permanent, but you must watch your lifestyle and diet. If you gain weight, fat cells will again accumulate in your body, but in a different part of your body. Most people don’t accumulate fat tissues in the region treated with liposuction.

  • Tummy Tuck Results

A tummy tuck tightens your abdominal walls, making your stomach look taut and toned. It may also highlight your abdominal muscles. The results are permanent, but you must watch your diet and exercise regularly. If you gain weight, you may again develop fat tissues or excess skin in your midsection.

In Conclusion…

Liposuction and abdominoplasty are two of the best midsection-sculpting cosmetic treatments — not weight loss procedures. Liposuction is suitable for patients who want to remove stubborn fat cells from targeted regions. And a tummy tuck is suitable for those who want to remove targeted fat cells and excess skin tissues, generally after pregnancy or a sudden weight loss. After the procedure, you must observe a healthy lifestyle with balanced meals and regular exercise to maintain the results.


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