Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction | Donaldson Plastic Surgery

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By Jeffrey Donaldson, MD |

Tummy Tuck vs. Lipo

What Is The Difference Between Liposuction & A Tummy Tuck? 

Liposuction removes excess fat from a specific part of the body. A Tummy Tuck is a more thorough, stomach-focused procedure that involves the removal of excess fat, removal of loose skin and the reconstruction of the abdominal muscles. 

Liposuction surgeons using a cannula

A Closer Look at Liposuction 

Liposuction is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure designed to help a patient target fat loss in problematic areas – usually in the stomach, thighs, back and/or arms. First, a small incision is made before a metal tool (called a “cannula”) is inserted into the desired area. The cannula is attached to a suctioning device. The liposuction surgeon proceeds to move the tube back and forth, breaking up fat cells and removing them from the body. 

While specific techniques can vary, the process as a whole has become safer, more efficient and more comfortable for patients over time. Liposuction is an excellent option for those looking to get over the final stubborn hurdles of their weight loss, fitness or self-confidence journey. 

Tummy Tuck Surgeons Performing Procedure

A Closer Look at Tummy Tuck Surgery

The Tummy Tuck (also known as Abdominoplasty) is a procedure that is more intensive when compared to Liposuction because it not only removes fat from the abdominal area but also removes loose skin and restores weakened stomach muscles to create a more defined and contoured look. 

Once a patient is fully anesthetized, a horizontal incision is made across the lower abdomen from hip to hip, then a vertical incision is made between the belly button and the first incision above the pubic mound. The abdominal skin is then lifted, underlying muscles are sewn together and repaired while the belly button is preserved. From here, the upper abdominal skin is pulled down and the excess skin – with attached fat – is trimmed away. The surgeon may also couple the Tummy Tuck procedure with Liposuction to remove even more fat from the body. Once completed, the incisions are closed using sutures, adhesives and/or clips.


Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction

How To Decide Which Is Right For You

While the Tummy Tuck is typically reserved for higher volume needs, mothers often opt for this procedure as it can help remove excess skin and repair the abdominal wall post-childbirth. Liposuction is the ideal choice for patients who are close to reaching their goals but can’t quite get over that final hurdle. A non-surgical option called Coolsculpting may be an excellent option for those who are close to their goals and are simply looking to reduce fat in a specific area – instead of seeing a number change on the scale! 

Have additional questions about the differences between Tummy Tuck and Liposuction? Our experts are on standby to put your mind at ease and help figure out which procedure is best for you and your goals! 


Jeffrey Donaldson, MD Author Bio

About The Author

Board-certified plastic surgeon Jeffrey Donaldson, MD has performed hundreds of successful Tummy Tuck and Liposuction procedures throughout his 20+ years in the industry. Throughout the one-on-one consultation process, he helps patients determine which option is best for them, their goals and their unique circumstances.

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