LIPOSUCTION OR TUMMY TUCK?
At least half of our patients who are clear cut candidates for a tummy tuck come to their first consultation while still under the impression that liposuction is a replacement for tummy tuck. This is due to the tremendous amount of misinformation that is available online and in the media. People are convinced through misleading ads that liposuction will eliminate their sagging belly, will remove the excess fat deposits around the belly, will tighten the skin and muscles, and they will be ready to go back to their daily lives in 1-2 days, virtually no down time.
Misinformation about Liposuction
This type of misinformation and misleading advertisement is almost always the work of individuals who do not have any training or background in plastic surgery and have taken a 1-2 week course in liposuction and they think that liposuction is the solution to all problems of the abdomen arising from pregnancy, weight fluctuation, etc. There is a saying “When all you have is a hammer the whole world looks like a nail”.
We have to spend a lot of time with such patients in order to undo all of this misinformation. It is only through appropriate planning and execution of a tummy tuck that the consequences of pregnancy and weight fluctuation such as sagging skin, looseness of the muscles, excess fat accumulation, and possible abdominal herniation can be corrected. According to the most complete classification of abdominal bulging and redundancy that we have devised, there are eight different types and each has a specific treatment. Please refer to our web site section on tummy tuck for more information.
When is Liposuction Recommended?
The only abdomen that is suitable for liposuction alone is a type I abdominal bulging, where the problem is limited to localized adiposity (fat accumulation), and there is no skin or muscle looseness. Such a situation usually exists in young girls who have not had any pregnancy. Other than this the number of candidates for abdominal liposuction alone is extremely limited.
That said, a tummy tuck is almost always combined with liposuction, either at the same time or at two separate sessions. Studies have shown that in most cases of abdominal bulging and sagging the best result can be obtained when the excess fat is first removed by liposuction and the tummy tuck is carried out 2-3 months later after the liposuction has healed. If the person is not able to have the two stages, liposuction can be combined with tummy tuck in one session, but the amount of fat that is possible to remove may be somewhat limited due to the risk that this may impose on the blood flow to the abdominal skin.