Tummy Tuck or Liposuction: Make the Right Choice for You

Monday, November 11, 2013
Do you have excess stomach fat you just can’t seem to get rid of regardless of how hard you try? With beach time right around the corner, you’re probably ready to try just about anything. Perhaps you’re considering getting a tummy tuck or liposuction but aren’t sure which one would work better. It’s apparent that both of these procedures are becoming increasingly popular.

As of 2011, more than 325,000 people have had liposuction in the United States, while the amount having tummy tucks was almost 150,000. Hopefully, this article can help you decide which procedure you’d like to have so you can make an informed decision. Almost everything you need to know about these two procedures you’ll find here. 

What are Tummy Tucks?
Tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a cosmetic surgical procedure that gets rid of excess skin and fat deposits. A physician or surgeon will make a horizontal incision across your lower abdomen and separate the muscles from the skin, which helps to strengthen the muscles. Liposuction is often used with an abdominoplasty. After fat is removed with liposuction, the hanging skin is tucked away from the tummy. Surprising to most is that the first actual abdominoplasty procedure was performed in France in 1890.

What is Liposuction?
Abdominal liposuction is a surgical procedure that is used to remove fat deposits from the stomach. The surgeon will make small incisions in the stomach, insert a long hollow metal rod called a cannula into the incisions and extract or suck out the fat. Liposuction is strictly to remove fat deposits; it will not do anything with the excess hanging skin. Patients who have a large amount of stomach fat removed may find the hanging skin problem even worse after the procedure. Liposuction is done on other parts of the body as well. Even though it starting being widely known in the 1970s, liposuctions have actually been around since the 1920s. 

Will I Have to Stay in the Hospital?
Although tummy tucks and liposuction can both be done on an outpatient basis, surgeons often recommend that abdominoplasty patients stay in the hospital at least one night. One reason is because liposuction is performed under local anesthesia whereas tummy tucks, which are major surgery, are performed under general anesthesia. Another reason is because side effects are more common with tummy tucks. Both procedures require the patient to wear drainage tubes to help the body get rid of excess fluids. Liposuction patients can generally be back to their normal routines in about a week; however, abdominoplasty patients may take up to four weeks to recover. In fact, they may need up to a week of bed rest. 

Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction – Side Effects 
Because a tummy tuck is a more complicated procedure than liposuction, it understandably has a great risk for side effects. Both procedures can produce slight swelling and some pain. Some additional side effects for abdominoplasty patients may include excess pain, internal bleeding or infection. Scarring from liposuction is minimal. Tummy tucks require a large incision across the lower abdominal area, so it brings with it a long scar that can be up to a foot long. Probably the most common side effect of a tummy tuck is unsatisfactory results if not enough excess skin was removed, fat was removed unevenly or an odd look to the belly button. 

The Cost Factor 
While various factors may help an individual decide what procedure they want to have, cost often plays an important part, particularly if it’s a procedure not covered by insurance. Because it’s a more complex procedure, abdominoplasty is significantly higher than liposuction. Although the cost will vary by location and surgeon, liposuction usually runs about $5,000 to $6,000, while a tummy tuck can cost up to $9,000 or more. During your initial visit with the doctor, you may want to discuss cost variations. 

Which Procedure is Best For Me?
Choosing what procedure will best work for you is a big decision and one that your doctor can help you make. Liposuction is best for patients who have excess fat that cannot be lost with diet and exercise. However, if you have more than 25 pounds of excess fat that needs to be removed and also have excess hanging skin, you may want to have a tummy tuck. Tummy tucks can get rid of both fat and excess skin. One of the first things you should do, however, is check out your doctor’s credentials, as well as the facility in which it will be performed.

About the author: 
Dr Robert Goldman is a leading cosmetic surgeon in Perth, Western Australia. He specialises in Breast Augmentation, Liposculpture, Tummy Tucks & Lapbiaplasty.

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