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Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck

Tummy Tuck and Liposuction: Which One is For You?

What is the difference between tummy tuck and liposuction?

Tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, and liposuction are 2 different cosmetic procedures aiming to change the patient’s midsection appearance.

They are done by plastic surgeons, and both can make a person’s stomach appear tighter, flatter and smaller. If you are considering any of the two, please note that they are regarded as “cosmetic” or cosmetic plastic surgery and therefore not covered by health insurance.

Make sure to learn more information about recovery time, actually procedure and possible risks, before finalizing your appointment.

Are you qualified to undergo any of these procedures?

Tummy tuck and liposuction procedures are often considered by people with the same cosmetic goals. However, it’s important to point out these differences.

Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck procedure removes excessive abdominal fat and skin.

Various mothers consider this, since they experience significant weight shifts after pregnancy. They want to stretch out their skin in the stomach. It can be used to restore flat, contoured look of their midsection.

Consider a tummy tuck procedure if:

  • If you want to be pregnant soon
  • If your BMI is more than 30
  • If you are planning to lose weight
  • If you’re suffering from a chronic heart condition

What happens during a tummy tuck procedure?

This may bring the sit-up muscles, or rectus abdominis, back together, in case they’ve if they’ve separated or stretched during pregnancy. Just like liposuction, it requires anesthesia and incisions, and is usually done in 2 to 3 hours.

Expect the following during the surgery:

  • The surgeon will put you to sleep using general anesthesia
  • Once sedated, incisions will be made at the bottom of the skin, covering the abdominal wall
  • Once your muscles are exposed, the physicians will sew the muscles in your abdominal wall together, in case they have become stretched out
  • The surgeon will trim off extra skin, pull the tight the skin near your abdomen and close incisions with sutures


Do you want to remove little fat deposits? If yes, then you can try liposuction. It can efficiently remove fats from targeted areas, improving contour and reducing bulges. However, this procedure is not a weight loss solution. It is not recommended for obese people.

What happens during a liposuction procedure?

Expect the following during the surgery:

  • Patients will be sedated intravenously; sometimes, the surgeon will put an anesthetic at the midsection area
  • Once the midsection feels numb, he or she will make little incisions near the fat deposits. Cannula will be used under your skin to remove the fat cells
  • Medical vacuum will be used to suction out fat deposits

It can take a lot of sessions before a patient achieves his or her desired outcome.

What are the expected results?

Tummy tuck and liposuction can claim permanent outcomes, but excessive weight gain after the surgery can change this.


After a liposuction in the abdominal area, patients can see a more proportioned, flatter midsection. This outcome should remain permanent. However, fats can definitely appear again. Once you gain weight again, fat will definitely re accumulate, though not those specific areas that were suctioned.

Tummy tuck

Tummy tuck results can be regarded as permanent. You can expect your abdominal wall to be stronger, and more stable. Unless you gain so much weight or get pregnant again, the extra skin that was just removed won’t come back.

What are the possible complications?

Although there are side effects associated with any surgery, each procedure poses different risks that you should be aware of.

Liposuction Risks

  • Numbness around the affected area
  • Fluid accumulation or Seromas
  • Fat embolism
  • Contour irregularities
  • Infection on the incision
  • Internal organ punctures

The larger the treatment area, the more complications can arise. Multiple procedures in one operation can also increase the chances of risks.

Tummy Tuck

Tummy tucks have more complication risks, compared to other cosmetic procedures.

Tummy Tuck Risks

  • Tissue that dies or can’t heal
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Changes in sensation
  • Tissue necrosis

The Healing and Recovering Process

Recovering From Liposuction

The liposuction recovery process would highly depend on the areas operated on.

After the liposuction procedure, the patient experience:

  • Bleeding and draining at the incision site
  • Swelling at the fat removal site
  • Patients will be required to wear compression garments

Liposuction is an outpatient procedure, so the patient can resume everyday normal routine quickly. In 48 hours, some chosen activities can resume, but any strenuous work should wait until full recovery.

Recovering From Tummy Tuck

After the tummy tuck procedure, the patient experience:

  • Incisions covered in surgical dressing—this needs to be changed many times
  • Patients will be required to wear compression garments or belly binders
  • Surgical drains are required for up to 2 weeks
  • Patients should be able to start walking again, with assistance
  • Prescription antibiotics and pain relievers may be taken

How long is the initial recovery phase? It usually takes 6 weeks, but many follow-up appointments are needed.

Which do you think is the better option for you?

Both tummy tuck and liposuction procedures can improve your midsection appearance.

They are somewhat different, but can deliver promising results. It pays to have extra knowledge on these surgeries, though only your physician or potential surgeon can know the right choice for you.