Liposuction or Tummy Tuck: How Do I Know Which Is More Appropriate?


The right cosmetic procedure can vary from person to person, even if two patients have similar concerns. This is why I encourage individuals to discuss their goals with a board certified plastic surgeon who will customize a treatment plan to best suit their needs. Liposuction and tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty) have some overlapping benefits; however, they are designed to address different issues. One or the other – or even both – may be the right choice for you, depending on your unique anatomic indicators and desired outcome.

Tummy tuck surgery is a popular procedure that tightens the abdominal wall, trims excess skin, and re-drapes the stomach tissue for a slimmer, more toned appearance. Women who have had children as well as patients who have gained and lost a significant amount of weight are often good candidates for this technique. Liposuction, on the other hand, is designed to remove pockets of fatty tissue from targeted areas, like the stomach, hips, thighs, love handles, and other regions. This treatment will not tighten skin or muscles, however, which is why tummy tuck and liposuction are often combined to achieve an optimal contour.

In short, individuals who have firm skin and good muscle tone but are bothered by stubborn fat may be better served by liposuction alone; individuals who have minimal excess fat but loose skin and stomach musculature may benefit from tummy tuck surgery alone; and individuals who wish to address multiple concerns with one operation may be best suited for a combination of both procedures. Ultimately, the right approach will depend on the patient and his or her unique needs and goals.

Behzad Parva, MD

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