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Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction: Which Is Right for You?

Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction: Which Is Right for You?

Many patients here at Guerra Plastic Surgery Center ask questions about the difference between liposuction and a tummy tuck (also called an abdominoplasty). Dr. Aldo Guerra and his team are always happy to explain these two procedures in person during your consultation. Below are some of the basics.

Who is a good candidate for liposuction?

Liposuction and tummy tucks appeal to women with similar cosmetic goals. However, there are distinct differences between the two.

Liposuction might be the right procedure for you if you are looking to remove small fat deposits, such as those commonly found on the stomach area, hips, thighs, and buttocks. The surgery will remove fat deposits from those targeted areas, reducing bulges and improving the overall shape or contour. But liposuction is not a weight loss solution nor do doctors recommend it as one. Therefore, you shouldn't get this procedure if you're obese or far from your goal weight.

Who is a good candidate for tummy tucks?

On the other hand, a tummy tuck removes excess fat and skin from the abdomen. Pregnancy or significant fluctuations in weight can stretch out the skin surrounding your stomach. Undergoing a tummy tuck in Scottsdale, AZ can restore the appearance of a flat, contoured midsection. The procedure can also involve bringing the rectus abdominis (the abdominal muscle) back together if pregnancy has stretched or separated them.

You may want to plan a tummy tuck farther into the future if you're considering getting pregnant soon, your body mass index is over 30, you have a chronic heart condition, and if you are still actively trying to lose a significant amount of weight.

What does a liposuction procedure look like?

A board-certified plastic surgeon is responsible for performing safe liposuction and tummy tuck procedures, both of which require incisions and anesthesia.

You may be intravenously sedated during a liposuction procedure. In some cases, your plastic surgeon will apply a local anesthetic to your abdomen. Once the area is successfully numbed, your doctor will create small incisions around the site of your fat deposits. Then, your doctor will move a thin tube called a cannula underneath your skin to help loosen the fat cells, followed by the use of a medical vacuum to suction or pump out the dislodged fat deposits.

It may take several sessions to achieve your desired results. 8 out of 10 patients rate their liposuction outcomes positively.

What happens during a tummy tuck procedure?

Your surgeon will use general anesthesia to help you relax and fall asleep during a tummy tuck. When you're sedated, they will carefully make an incision at the bottom of the skin covering the wall of your midsection. Once the muscles are accessible, your plastic surgeon will stitch back together any muscles in your abdominal wall that have become stretched out due to pregnancy or other causes. They will then pull the skin over your abdomen, trim away excess skin, and close the incision using sutures.

Doctors can complete an entire tummy tuck procedure in just two to three hours. The procedure has a satisfaction rate of 94 percent.

What are the results to expect after liposuction?

Liposuction and tummy tucks claim permanent results, but significant weight gain following either procedure can alter your results.

People who have liposuction on their abdominal area often see a flatter and more proportioned midsection after recovering from the procedure. However, if you gain too much weight or fail to maintain your results, fat deposits can reappear or reaccumulate in your body, although they do not typically occur in the suctioned areas.

What are the results to expect after a tummy tuck?

The results of an abdominoplasty are considered permanent. Your stomach wall will be stronger and more stable. The removed excess skin will not reappear unless significant fluctuations in weight occur or a subsequent pregnancy stretches the area again.

What is the recovery process for liposuction?

The recovery process is different for each of these procedures.

With liposuction in Scottsdale-Phoenix, AZ, your recovery will depend on the number of areas operated on, and whether you undergo additional liposuction sessions.

After getting this procedure, you may encounter swelling at the site of your fat removal, as well as draining and bleeding at the site of your incision.

Your plastic surgeon may recommend wearing a compression garment to reduce swelling and help your skin heal over your beautiful new shape.

Since liposuction is an outpatient procedure, you may resume your regular routine fairly quickly. You should be able to do the things you usually do within the next 48 hours. However, remember to hit the pause button on heavy weight lifting and extensive cardio exercises until your surgeon gives you the green light.

What is the recovery process for tummy tucks?

When you wake up from a tummy tuck, surgical dressing will cover your incision, which will need to be changed daily for hygienic reasons. Your plastic surgeon will also give you a compression garment or belly binder to help with the healing process.

A day after getting an abdominoplasty, you should be able to get up and walk (with assistance), which is important to prevent blood clots. You will most likely be taking prescription painkillers and antibiotics to relieve any discomfort and minimize your risk of infection. A surgical drain may also be in place for up to two weeks to remove blood and other fluids that might build up during the recovery process.

It takes about six weeks for the initial recovery period of a tummy tuck procedure to pass, and you will have several follow-up appointments with your plastic surgeon to ensure your incision is healing. During this time, it's recommended to avoid positions that involve abdominal extension or bending backward since they may pull or place too much pressure or tension on your incision. You should also avoid strenuous physical activities until your doctor allows you to return to your normal routine.

The Bottom Line

Although liposuction and tummy tucks have a shared goal of improving the appearance of your midsection, these procedures promise different results. Your doctor will be your best resource in determining which procedure is best for you.

Learn more about abdominoplasty and liposuction in Scottsdale by scheduling a consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Aldo Guerra at 480-970-2580.


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