What’s The Difference Between Liposuction and Tummy Tuck Surgery?Body Plastic Surgery
Many men and women dream of a flat stomach and small waist. Many prefer undergoing different kinds of plastic surgeries to have a flat tummy with firm muscles. Today, two body plastic surgeries are very popular: abdominoplasty (or tummy tuck) and liposuction. In this article, we discuss the differences between liposuction vs tummy tuck and describe how they are performed.
Difference between Liposuction and Abdominoplasty
Abdominoplasty and liposuction are two surgeries in which the stomach gets smoother, firmer, and smaller. Although there are significant differences between these two methods in terms of the procedure, recovery time, and risks, their main aim is similar. In the following, tummy tuck and liposuction are introduced separately:
As its name suggests, excess fat is sucked out from the abdominal area in liposuction. The stubborn fats that cannot be removed with diet and exercise can be removed with this surgery. During liposuction surgery, the surgeon makes small incisions on the abdomen, breaks the fat pockets into small parts, and removes them with a suction tube. Unlike tummy tuck surgery, liposuction surgery is not performed to remove excess and loose skin, cannot reduce stretch marks and does not tighten abdominal muscles.
Liposuction is more suitable for people with tight abdominal muscles and does not have loose skin. Also, people with normal BMIs who can't eliminate the localized fat in their stomachs are considered good candidates for liposuction.
Liposuction is usually performed under general anesthesia, but in some cases, it can be done under spinal and epidural anesthesia. The method of anesthesia used in lipo surgery depends on the doctor's dissertation and the extent of the surgery.
The whole liposuction procedure takes almost an hour, but the patient should stay a night at the hospital. The recovery period after this surgery can take two to six weeks, depending on the severity of the surgery. Most importantly, liposuction is done on the abdomen and other body areas, such as hips, arms, neck, and thighs.
Almost all women who experience loose skin after pregnancy or severe weight loss cannot get rid of it by exercising. In abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, the excess skin and fat in the abdomen are removed, and the stomach gets flat.
There are two main types of tummy tuck: full and mini. Both of these methods are performed under general anesthesia and take several hours. Also, it takes several months for their bruising and swelling to subside. On the other hand, one of the merits of tummy tuck is that the stretch marks and the scars of previous surgeries can be eliminated greatly during this operation.
Who Is a Good Candidate?
Candidates for liposuction should:
- Have realistic and clear expectations of the surgery;
- Have a healthy lifestyle;
- Have elastic skin;
- Not have life-threatening diseases;
- Be within 15% to 30% of their ideal body weight;
- Be nonsmoker;
- Have proper muscle tone.
Patients who have the following features are considered good candidates for tummy tuck:
- Have stubborn fat and loose skin that cannot be removed by diet and exercise;
- Have a healthy lifestyle;
- I don't want to get pregnant in the future;
- Are physically and mentally healthy;
- Have a stable BMI;
- Have realistic expectations;
- Have elastic skin around the abdomen;
Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck: Procedure
Read on to get more information about the differences between the procedure of liposuction vs tummy tuck.
The first step in liposuction surgery is administering anesthesia. When the abdominal area is entirely numb, or the patient gets unconscious, the surgeon makes several incisions around the fat deposits and sends a thin tube (called a cannula) under the skin to remove the fat cells. The doctor uses a surgical vacuum device to suck and remove fat masses in this surgery. Sometimes, all fats cannot be removed in one surgery and should be repeated to achieve the desired result.
Tummy tuck procedure
In a full tummy tuck, the surgeon makes one large horizontal incision on the lower part of the belly and one cut on the belly button after administering anesthesia. The abdominal muscles are repaired once the abdominal skin is lifted and the excess fat and skin are removed. Then, the surgeon repositions the navel, and the incisions are sutured.
The procedure of a mini tummy tuck is the same as full abdominoplasty, with one slight difference: the incision in a mini tummy tuck is just a few inches. Since the mini tummy tuck's cuts and stitches are far fewer than the full one, it has a shorter recovery period and fewer scars.
What are the Side Effects of Liposuction and Abdominoplasty?
In the following, we compare the side effects of liposuction and abdominoplasty.
Liposuction side effects
If a skilled surgeon does liposuction surgery and the patient follows the postoperative instructions, they will not face serious side effects. Some of the possible complications of liposuction surgery include the following:
- Anesthesia complications;
- Liposuction lumpy and bumpy;
- Numbness in the abdominal area, which may last for a month or more;
- Pain in the incision site;
- Redness or discoloration;
- Fluid accumulation;
- Persistent bruising and swelling;
- Damage to nerves and blood vessels.
Tummy tuck side effects
- Tissue damage and necrosis;
- Nausea, dizziness, and fatigue;
- Skin tenderness;
- Pain and swelling;
Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck: Recovery
The recovery period of liposuction and tummy tuck are almost the same. The duration of this period depends on your age, general health, and the surgery's extent. In the following, the recovery period of these surgeries is compared in detail.
The number of operating parts and the amount of removed fat play an important role in how easy your liposuction recovery will be. Swelling, fluid discharge, and mild bleeding are normal and inevitable side effects of liposuction that almost everyone experiences. To reduce these discomforts, you must wear a compression garment, take antibiotics and pain medications, and maintain a low-fat diet during the lipo recovery. The good news is that the recovery period of this surgery is concise, and you can get back to work two or three days after the operation.
Tummy tuck recovery
A tummy tuck is an invasive procedure and is done under general anesthesia. So, it would help if you stayed at the hospital 24 to 48 hours after the surgery. When discharging, your doctor will wrap up your stomach with surgical gauze and provide you with a compression garment or a binder. While at home, you should walk slowly around the house to prevent the formation of blood clots. Also, you must take painkillers, antibiotics, and perhaps some supplements during the abdominoplasty recovery. Although you may be able to get back to work ten days after the operation, you should refrain from any activity that strains the abdomen muscles or applies pressure on the stitches.
Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck Results
Liposuction and tummy tucks can both result in a smoother, flatter stomach. Liposuction is a procedure that permanently eliminates fat from the body. A tummy tuck removes the excess skin from the abdomen for good. However, it is necessary to note that weight gain and fluctuations can impact the outcomes of both of these treatments. Weight gain and future pregnancy might cause the skin to stretch and cause weight gain.
The key difference between the two procedures is the approach employed to achieve the results. Liposuction results in a flatter stomach with less fat around the stomach area. A tummy tuck, on the other hand, makes your stomach appear more toned and flatter. A tummy tuck may be appropriate if you have a lot of excess skin and want a flat stomach, but liposuction may be a better option for fat removal and a smoother-looking stomach.
Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck Scars
In new liposuction methods such as laser-assisted, ultrasound-assisted, and VASER lipo, the surgeon makes tiny cuts on less visible body parts to insert the suctioning device and remove the fat cells. Therefore, the scars of these methods of lipo surgery are barely visible.
However, the surgeon makes a larger incision to access fat pockets in different body parts in tummy tuck and traditional liposuction. The larger the incisions, the more prominent the scars after the operation. Fortunately, not all scars need surgical treatment. Most lipo scars will go away independently, and the tummy tuck's scars get paler by applying topical creams and ointments.
If you want to know more about whether scars after liposuction fade away, read Raadina Health's liposuction scars article.
Difference between Results of Liposuction and Abdominoplasty
The results of both liposuction and tummy tuck are satisfactory and long-lasting. In abdominoplasty, a large volume of fat (almost four pounds), loose skin, and visible stretch marks are removed, and the skin is tightened. Therefore, this surgery is more suitable for the ones who expect significant shifts from their operation.
On the other hand, people with firm skin and tight abdominal muscles should undergo liposuction because, in this surgery, the skin cannot be tightened, and the results are less prominent. In any case, both liposuction and abdominoplasty make your stomach flatter and firmer.
Should I Get a Tummy Tuck or Lipo?
Both liposuction and tummy tuck are popular plastic surgeries that contour your body. However, abdominoplasty is probably a more suitable option for you if you have excess abdominal skin or loose muscles in the abdominal area due to severe weight loss or pregnancy. On the other hand, if you have localized fat in the abdomen and have maintained a balanced BMI over a long period, liposuction surgery is a more suitable choice for you.
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Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck Costs
The cost of liposuction vs tummy tuck might vary significantly based on a variety of factors. Liposuction is a less invasive surgery that involves the removal of excess fat deposits from specific parts of the body. Liposuction costs normally range from $2,000 to $7,000, depending on the scope of the procedure and the surgeon's expertise.
A tummy tuck, on the other hand, is a more thorough procedure that not only removes excess fat but also tightens abdominal muscles and removes loose skin. A tummy tuck often costs between $6,000 and $12,000 due to its complexity.
It is important to note, however, that these rates are estimates and may vary depending on geographical location, surgeon experience, facility fees, anesthesia charges, and extra treatments required. However, when compared to other countries, the expenses of these two procedures are much lower in Iran. In 2023, the average price of a tummy tuck in Iran varies between $1,800 to $5,500. Liposuction surgery in Iran costs somewhere in the range of $1,500 to 2,500.
FAQs on the Difference between Liposuction and Abdominoplasty
1) Which is better for older people, liposuction or tummy tuck?
Since the skin of aged people is less elastic, surgeons use both techniques to contour their bodies. First, they remove excess pockets of fat in liposuction surgery and then perform tummy tuck to remove loose and saggy skin.
2) What is the best age for liposuction and tummy tuck?
The ideal age for both lipo and tummy tuck is between 30 and 40 because, during this period, the skin is still elastic and will heal sooner.
3) Which one removes stretch marks and cellulitis, lipo or abdominoplasty?
Neither lipo nor abdominoplasty can obliterate cellulite and stretch marks. Some stretch marks may be removed if you undergo a full tummy tuck.
4) Can liposuction and tummy tuck be done together?
Performing liposuction and tummy tuck simultaneously is not only possible, but it's often recommended. During such a surgery, unwanted fats are removed, the muscles are tightened up simultaneously, and the patient won't face the complications of the surgery twice.
5) Which one is more invasive, liposuction or tummy tuck?
The tummy tuck is a more invasive procedure and has higher risks.