Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck

Both tummy tucks and liposuction are steadily growing in popularity. While the procedures can be performed together, there are a number of important differences between the two, chief among them being the areas they target. Areas of the body that liposuction can treat include but are not limited to the stomach, the face and neck, legs, chest, flanks, back, arms, and buttocks.

A tummy tuck (also known as abdominoplasty), however, treats the midsection exclusively. And while liposuction is primarily geared towards individuals carrying an excessive amount of fat, abdominoplasty is well suited to post-bariatric cases where patients have large amounts of loose skin, possibly because of recent extreme weight loss.

A Tummy Tuck Addresses Both Loose Skin & Excess Fat

For certain cases of extreme weight loss, doctors may perform a tummy tuck and liposuction in conjunction to treat the dual concern of loose skin and excess adipose tissue. The “mommy makeover,” for instance, is a mix of multiple cosmetic procedures—often involving liposuction, tummy tucks, and breast augmentations/lifts—which aims to restore women’s pre-pregnancy bodies.

A Tummy Tuck May Increases the Risk of Complications During Childbirth

Women who plan on becoming pregnant are recommended to postpone the procedure until after the child is born, as the tightening of vertical muscles in an abdominoplasty procedure increases the risk of complications during childbirth. The procedure is also not an appropriate course for those planning to lose a significant amount of weight post-surgery. Tummy tucks are major procedures intended as a last resort, and thus the decision to undergo the procedure should be made with a great deal of thought and research. A patient considering abdominoplasty should be in normal health without any impaired performance.

Book Your Consultation or Find Out More

Related Links


Liposuction Cost

Liposuction Techniques

Tumescent Technique

Liposuction Risks & Complications

Liposuction Recovery

Tummy Tuck


Fat Transfer

Anaesthesia & Sedation

Choosing the Right Surgeon

Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck FAQ

What areas of the body can be treated with liposuction? What parts of the body can be treated with tummy tucks?
Potential areas of the body that liposuction can treat include but are not limited to the stomach, the face and neck, legs, chest, flanks, back, arms, and buttocks. Conversely, a tummy tuck (also known as an abdominoplasty) addresses the midsection only.
What is the step-by-step process of abdominoplasty?
An abdominoplasty is a procedure aimed to strengthen the abdominal wall. The surgeon begins by administering medication, either in the form of intravenous sedation or a general anaesthetic. The option chosen will depend on the surgeon and the patient’s unique needs. Next, the surgeon will make an incision in the lower abdominal region between the pubic hairline and the belly button. The size and shape of the incision is contingent upon the amount of excess skin. The surgeon proceeds to lift the abdominal skin; this permits access to the interior of the abdominal wall. In this region, the surgeon encounters muscle (primarily the rectus abdominus, which are a series of long, flat muscles that connect the sternum to the pubis) and connective tissue (fascia) – prior to surgery, this skin may be lax and stretched, so the surgeon’s next step is to restore and tighten the weakened muscles and fascia. This is accomplished through the folding of the fascia along the centreline of the abdomen. Next, loose skin and tissue are removed, and the stomach is flattened and made as taut as possible. Depending on the distribution of excess skin and the aesthetic objectives of the doctor and patient, a second incision around the navel may be made to remove loose skin in the upper abdomen. Following tissue removal, the doctor closes incisions with sutures.
What is the general step-by-step process of liposuction?
Liposuction involves a number of pre-steps prior to the surgery itself. To induce a more relaxed state and ease pain for the client while he/she undergoes the operation, the surgeon will administer a local anaesthesic, intravenous sedation, or general anaesthesia approximately one hour prior to the surgery itself. The surgeon will mark the treatment area for reference and to ensure precision. As a further precaution, the doctor will apply a sterile liquid solution to the area in order to minimize the likelihood of infection and to seal in spots where blood could potentially leak during incisions.

Surgeons will make incisions for fat removal only after these preparations are complete. With new technology, the incisions necessary for liposuction have become increasingly small and less conspicuous, which translates to less visual scarring. Incisions allow an opening for a tube to enter the body—this tube will ultimately remove the fat. The method of removal depends on the type of surgery that is chosen. In dry, suction-based liposuction, the tube is moved back and forth to loosen fat prior to removal. In a manner of speaking, this is a more manual procedure than ultrasonic liposuction, which employs vibrations that liquefy fat, thus preparing it for easier evacuation. As fluids are being drained from the patient, they are also being replenished via the use of an IV fluid line. Doctors ensure that fluids are sufficiently drained, either by leaving incisions completely open or by partially closing them with sutures. Finally, surgeons apply self-adhesive bandages to the wounds to aid the overall healing process.

For more information on each liposuction type, refer to the article entitled “Liposuction Techniques.”

Does liposuction correct sagging or loose skin? Does abdominoplasty?
Liposuction’s primary purpose is to reduce adipose tissue (fat); it is not intended to address loose or sagging skin. Patients who wish to have loose skin excised should opt for abdominoplasty instead.
What is the difference between a partial tummy tuck and a complete tummy tuck?
There are two types of abdominoplasty procedures, categorized by their extent. The more extensive of the two is the “complete abdominoplasty,” for which the surgeon begins by making a cut in the abdomen from one hipbone to the other, and then proceeds to contour the skin, tissue, and muscle. Those considering the surgery should be aware of two potential sources of discomfort: the procedure typically involves the movement of the belly button and, for a few days following the procedure, patients may require drainage tubes under the skin. The less extensive option is the “partial abdominoplasty.” This procedure is suited for individuals whose fat deposits are mainly located below their navel. Given the locality of the fat tissue, the surgeon is unlikely to move the belly button. Due to the relative simplicity of the partial abdominoplasty, it may be possible for the surgeon to complete the surgery in two hours. A partial abdominoplasty is, therefore, preferable for many patients, since it is associated with less downtime and discomfort.