Choosing the right body contouring procedure is a decision best made by a powerfully effective team: an informed patient and a skilled doctor.
There are many variables to consider, including muscle integrity, locations of fat pockets and your own expectations. Below, trusted Sacramento plastic surgeon Dr. Donald Hause reviews some of the key differences between two popular body procedures, liposuction and tummy tuck.
Variations on a Theme
Tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is often a good choice for patients whose loss of skin elasticity created folds in the skin after they gave birth or lost weight. For patients whose fat is located mostly below the belly button, a partial abdominoplasty, or “mini tummy tuck,” may be advisable.
Liposuction may be the preferred choice when creating a more natural-looking body shape requires the removal of a significant amount of fat in targeted areas. In some cases, it may be appropriate to combine liposuction and tummy tuck in a procedure known as lipoabdominoplasty.
With tummy tuck, the stomach benefits from a smooth, “tucked-in” profile after the removal of excess skin and fat and the tightening of the abdominal muscles. Women often choose abdominoplasty as a way to restore tone to stomach muscles that weakened or separated during pregnancy. The procedure can also be effective at improving the appearance of stretch marks in the area that is tightened.
Studies have shown that the best candidates for abdominoplasty have loose skin but not much belly fat. Obese individuals, in fact, are advised to lose as much weight as possible before considering a tummy tuck.
Liposuction is an effective way to target pockets of fat in the body that stubbornly remain even when diet and exercise lower overall weight. It is a way to restore a more appealing shape to your profile. The best candidate is healthy, not significantly overweight, with skin that is elastic. The vitality of your skin will affect your satisfaction with the procedure, as firm skin will smoothly cover the newly trim areas of your body.
Patients commonly seek reductions in the abdomen, thighs, hips, buttocks, arms, neck or back. Men may also choose liposuction as a way to treat “male breasts.” Liposuction is sometimes used to treat jowls and cheeks, although Dr. Hause may advise an alternate technique for those areas.
For some patients who believe they are candidates for tummy tuck, accumulation of fat in the abdominal area is significant, and this is where Dr. Hause may recommend lipoabdominoplasty. This procedure allows both the removal of substantial volumes of fat and the reconstruction of the abdominal wall and tucking of the skin.
Combining both techniques allows the surgeon more flexibility in shaping the abdomen and surrounding areas. Although some fat is normally removed during tummy tuck, lipoabdominoplasty is more effective at targeting larger fat deposits, as well as fat deposits on the sides of the waist and the flanks.
Like liposuction performed on other areas of the body, lipoabdominoplasty involves the insertion of a narrow tube under the skin. Fat cells are loosened and removed from the body through this tube. But the addition of abdominoplasty makes it a more extensive procedure, as a large incision is made, allowing the surgeon to reconstruct the abdominal wall, remove folds of skin, and tighten the remaining muscles and skin.
With extensive experience performing abdominoplasty, liposuction and lipoabdominoplasty, Dr. Hause will help guide you in selecting the procedure that is right for your body type and your aesthetic goals. If you find that diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle have not restored a smooth, fit appearance to your midsection, you may be a candidate for a proven surgical solution.
To learn more about tummy tuck, liposuction or other options, call Sacramento Aesthetic Surgery at (916) 646-6869 or send us an email to schedule a consultation.