While they’re both very different procedures, liposuction and tummy tucks have one very important thing in common: they both contour the body and leave you with a more sculpted silhouette. While liposuction is something often combined with a tummy tuck, it’s more common for those having a tummy tuck to add on liposuction than for those having liposuction to add on a tummy tuck. This is because liposuction can be done on almost any part of the body, a tummy tuck can only be done on the abdominal area. Deciding between the two demands an understanding of the two procedures and how they can complement each other, and whether one is better for you than another (or you would benefit from both!) is something to be discussed with your board certified plastic surgeon.
What is Liposuction?
Liposuction contours specific areas of the body by removing localized fat deposits resulting in a slimmer, more balanced look. And while it doesn’t replace traditional dieting and exercise, it can remove stubborn areas of fat that do not respond to traditional weight loss methods. There are many benefits of liposuction, including:
- Enhancing and contouring your body by reducing fatty areas problem areas
- Reducing or removing lipomas: benign fatty tumors in certain areas of the body
- Treating gynecomastia: excessive amounts of breast tissue in men by removing the fatty deposits
- Treating lipodystrophy syndrome: a fat metabolism disturbance that causes excessive fat in some areas of the body
How Does Liposuction Work?
Liposuction is performed on an outpatient basis under local or general anesthetic, depending on the area being treated and the amount of fat that will be removed. Dr. Barrett will make several tiny incisions in the treated area, and a fine cannula is then inserted through the incisions to suction out the fat. Very few, if any stitches are needed after liposuction since the incisions are small enough to heal on their own.
Liposuction may be right for you if you’re in good overall health and maintain a healthy lifestyle, but have one or more problem areas with unresponsive fat deposits. It’s important to remember that liposuction can’t be used as a replacement for substantial weight loss, but instead used to remove excess fat in localized areas after you’ve attempted other traditional weight loss methods.
What is a Tummy Tuck?
Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck surgery, is designed for individuals who desire tight, contoured midsections and offers some of the most dramatic body contouring enhancement, with results that will last a lifetime if you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Depending on your unique needs and body, Dr. Barrett may tighten underlying muscles while removing tissue, fat and loose skin. A tummy tuck can offer a lot of benefits for the right patient, including:
- Smoother, flatter midsection
- Tighter abdominal muscles
- Reduction in loose skin around the middle
- Elimination of some stretch marks, those above the belly button typically can’t be removed
- Repositioning of the belly button for a natural look
There’s also a mini tummy tuck, which uses a shortened incision and is less invasive overall. It offers correction with a faster, more comfortable recovery process. Whereas a full tummy tuck involves the entire abdominal area resulting in a profoundly dramatic outcome. It requires two incisions ending with a more extensive scar, plus involving the encircling of the navel.
While often performed as a stand-alone procedure, a tummy tuck can also be combined with liposuction for even more enhanced results.
How long is recovery for a tummy tuck?
A minimum of two weeks of downtime is needed for your initial tummy tuck recovery—but keep in mind that it’s really dependent on the individual and the procedures performed; some may need longer than two weeks of downtime. Keep in mind that no matter what procedure combination you choose, you don’t want to do any heavy lifting for at least six weeks. When it comes to liposuction recovery, you can expect mild swelling, bruising and discomfort in the treated area, and you can usually retur
n to work and regular activities within a few days, but strenuous activities like exercise should be avoided for a few weeks.
A tummy tuck might be right for you if you’d like to tighten and flatten the midsection. Have folds of loose skin, retain excess fat despite diet and exercise efforts, and/or pregnancy has caused your muscles and skin to stretch.
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