It’s not easy getting your stomach to look as flat and toned as you’d like. The muscles are often covered by a layer of stubborn fat, and endless crunches just never seem to produce real results. After pregnancy, you might have noticed that you still have some loose skin that just won’t go away.
Stubborn fat is a frustrating problem because it’s not always about how much you diet and exercise. Some fat is just more resistant. You can be perfectly healthy and still have some extra baggage on your belly. That’s where plastic surgery can help. Procedures such as liposuction or an abdominoplasty (“tummy tuck”) can help you achieve a slimmer abdomen and boost your confidence. Which is right for you?
Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck: What’s the Difference?
Although both procedures can help achieve a better figure, they are meant to address different issues.
Liposuction is a versatile procedure that’s been around for decades. It can resolve stubborn fat from problem areas like the stomach, hips, and thighs. Men and women accumulate stubborn fat in different areas. There are a variety of techniques that work, and these can be used almost anywhere on the body. Small incisions are used to suction the fat and create a smooth contour for your body.
In contrast, a tummy tuck is a procedure that targets more than just unwanted fat. It’s a popular procedure following pregnancy or weight loss. As we age, the skin stretches and this is a good way to get rid of the extra skin on the abdomen. Some techniques allow for removal of the skin under the belly button or can be used to tighten the entire belly. The incision can be hidden within the belly button and below the panty line so your friends at the beach will never know.
Which Surgery is Right for You?
When considering whether to choose liposuction or a tummy tuck, you’ll need to consider several factors.
First, what are your cosmetic goals? If you’re simply having trouble getting rid of that stubborn belly “pooch,” then you might only need liposuction. However, if you’ve got excess skin from pregnancy or dramatic weight loss, then a tummy tuck may be necessary to achieve the results you’re seeking.
One factor in choosing between the procedures is your skin elasticity. Liposuction does not have a significant effect on any extra skin. Done properly and with certain techniques, it can have a modest effect on addressing extra skin. If you have a lot of extra skin or stretch marks, this may not be for you.
In these cases, a tummy tuck is often the best way to go, since it is designed to address excess skin and tighten the lax abdominal muscles that may have separated with pregnancy or aging.
Different Recovery Time
Liposuction is a much less invasive procedure than a tummy tuck. The incisions and subsequent scars are smaller and the abdominal muscles and skin aren’t involved in the procedure. Recovery is minimal and may take a week or so. A return to vigorous activity will be determined by how many areas or the size of the treatment area. Most patients feel good after a few weeks.
A tummy tuck requires an incision inside the belly button and below the panty line. This can be covered by a bathing suit bottom or underwear. The skin will be tightened and any excess removed. The belly button remains in the same position as before surgery. The muscles may be tightened to produce a flat abdomen. Full recovery to normal, vigorous activity may take up to six weeks. However, liposuction simply isn’t comprehensive enough for many patients, and variations of a tummy tuck may be required for good results.
Neither Procedure is For Weight Loss
Whether you decide to choose liposuction or a tummy tuck, realistic expectations are important. Neither of these procedures is designed for weight loss. If weight loss is your goal, dieting and exercise are key. It is best to be at your goal weight before proceeding with either procedure.
Abdominoplasty and liposuction are known as “body contouring” procedures. These procedures can create a dramatic improvement in the right patients by improving the shape of the abdomen. Many patients feel a renewed sense of self-confidence and find that they can now wear the clothing and bathing suits they want.
Although the fat and tissue removed during body contouring procedures won’t come back, other fat cells that remain can still enlarge and the skin can stretch further. To maintain your results, you need to be committed to living a healthy lifestyle.
Get Expert Advice
If you’re ready for a slim, flat stomach, then it may be time to seek advice from an expert. An experienced plastic surgeon can answer your questions and help you determine whether liposuction or a tummy tuck is the best option for your cosmetic goals.
Looking for an experienced provider? Dr. William Ross is a renowned plastic surgeon at the Aesthetic Surgery Center in Naples, FL. He has extensive experience in body contouring and offers patients beautiful, natural results. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Ross, call (239)-594-9100 today.