Should I Have Liposuction or a Tummy Tuck?

Tummy tuck and liposuction are two surgical procedures that can improve the appearance of your tummy and abdominal area. While they can produce similar results, the procedures themselves are very different. If you want to improve the way your tummy area looks, it’s typically one of these two procedures that will give you the best results. But which one? If you need some information to help you make the decision on a tummy tuck vs. liposuction, read on!

Liposuction Vs. Tummy Tuck: What Do They Do?

Liposuction is a minimally invasive procedure that removes fat from targeted areas of your body. It can be used to sculpt different areas by treating stubborn fat that remains despite diet and exercise.

Liposuction can be an effective body enhancement option whether or not your body is already trim and toned, but it’s not a substitute method for weight loss. The amount of fat reduction is minimal, and it doesn’t markedly change your weight.

The best candidates for liposuction are people who are already at or near their goal weight but have some pockets of fat that don’t respond to diet or exercise.

The purpose of a tummy tuck is somewhat similar: It’s also about trimming and shaping the body. In a tummy tuck, however, the plastic surgeon focuses exclusively on the abdominal region. This procedure is more invasive than liposuction but can give more dramatic results. The surgeon can remove more fat via a tummy tuck than with liposuction and can also remove a significant amount of excess skin.

The best candidates for a tummy tuck are people who want to streamline their figure after weight loss or childbirth. They have excess abdominal skin that dieting can’t remove and may have some extra weight in the abdominal area too.

Liposuction Vs. Tummy Tuck: What’s the Procedure Like?


Liposuction can be performed under a general or a local anesthetic. If you have several areas targeted for liposuction, your surgeon may decide to give you a general anesthetic.

In the liposuction procedure, small amounts of fat are removed through a suction-powered cannula. To do this, your plastic surgeon makes tiny incisions in the target area. The incisions are typically 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch in length, or the size of your pinky or thumbnail. The surgeon then inserts the cannula into each incision to remove the unwanted fat. Most of the time, a liposuction procedure is completed in an hour or less.

Tummy Tuck

The tummy tuck procedure is more invasive than abdominal liposuction. To perform a tummy tuck, a plastic surgeon makes a long, horizontal incision across your lower abdomen. Whenever possible, the incision is positioned so it can be concealed beneath underwear or a bikini once it has healed.

Once the incision is made, the surgeon removes excess skin from your abdominal area. They might also remove some excess fat via liposuction. Sometimes they’ll also tighten your abdominal muscles. This helps make the abdomen flatter. The final result is a smoother, leaner, tighter, and flatter-appearing tummy area.

Liposuction Vs. Tummy Tuck: How Different Is Recovery?

Because liposuction is minimally invasive, recovery time is also minimal. It only takes a day or two of rest before you’re back on your feet, but there will be some swelling and tenderness for a few more days after that. Most people can resume work within a week and get back to their normal activity level after two weeks. Bruising can last a month or more, and residual swelling may linger for several months.

Tummy tuck recovery is a longer process due to the size of the incision and the amount of fat and skin that are removed. Swelling and bruising are more extensive too. It can take up to a year for you to see your final results.

The tummy tuck recovery process is also more restrictive. You should consider taking about two weeks off work, and during the initial few weeks of recovery, exercise and strenuous activity should be limited. For instance, any activities that involve the core muscles must be avoided. This is important to minimize swelling and protect the incision.

Liposuction Vs. Tummy Tuck: How Do the Results Compare?

woman in blue jeans and white shirt with midriff showing

When performed by an experienced plastic surgeon, both procedures can result in a trimmer, more toned abdominal area and a flatter tummy. A tummy tuck is often combined with liposuction.

Permanent Results

Both liposuction and the tummy tuck procedure give permanent results. In both cases those results can change over time due to aging and weight gain and loss. For instance, if a woman becomes pregnant and gives birth after a tummy tuck, she may end up with more loose skin and extra fat in the abdominal region. If you’d like a tummy tuck, it is best to wait until you are finished having children.


One of the big advantages of liposuction is minimal scarring. The scars appear as small freckles when healed. In contrast, a tummy tuck will produce a scar, but it can be hidden relatively easily with clothing, and it can fade over time with proper skin care.

Make a Choice That Works for Your Goals

Both a tummy tuck and abdominal liposuction are capable of giving you great results. But what’s the best choice? It depends on you!

While both liposuction and tummy tuck can enhance your abdominal area, they do it differently, and to different degrees.

Want to make significant changes to your tummy area? A tummy tuck might be your best bet.

Have some small but stubborn fat deposits you’d like to get rid of? Liposuction could be the way to go.

Another important point to consider is what your body looks like right now. If you have loose abdominal skin after pregnancy or weight loss, it’s important to know that liposuction can’t remove that loose skin. If you want to remove excess skin, you’ll want to choose a tummy tuck.

Finally, what if you have stubborn fat deposits elsewhere on your body? If you have unwanted fat on your back, upper arms, or thighs, liposuction may be able to treat all those areas at once. A tummy tuck only addresses your abdominal area. It can’t remove fat from any other part of your body.

Ask Your Surgeon for Expert Advice

Thinking about having a cosmetic procedure to trim your abdominal area? A tummy tuck or liposuction may help you get the results you want.

If you’re not sure about what your next steps should be, consider scheduling a consultation with an experienced plastic surgeon like Dr. Ver Halen. They can give you advice about procedures and help you make the decision that’s right for you.



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