When it comes to plastic surgery, the ultimate goal is to look better than you did before your procedure. The issue? Scars are rarely part of the look clients want. This can push them to consider less-invasive alternatives.
Clients wanting to transform their abdomen are then left with the choice of liposuction vs. tummy tuck. While one is less likely to leave scars behind, these two procedures generally cannot be swapped out for the other.
What Is Liposuction?
Liposuction is a procedure that offers the targeted removal of fat in multiple parts of the body. Clients can choose to slim the profile of their abdomen, but also their arms, legs, hips, chin and more. It cannot be used as a weight-loss method but does allow those at a healthy weight to remove stubborn pockets of fat and it results in a more contoured look, assuming that the muscles and connective tissue underneath are in good shape.
Also important to note with liposuction is that good results rely on the individual having good skin elasticity. Without this, fat removal could result in sagging skin. If the client already has sagging skin, they can anticipate that liposuction will make it more pronounced.
What Is a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a procedure that is specifically for the abdomen. Your surgeon will generally remove excess skin and tighten the abdominal muscles so that they are more toned and sleeker.
It is possible that through the skin removal, stretch marks and other scars that are in those areas will be removed, as well. The surgeon also repositions the belly button if needed. Liposuction is often combined with an abdominoplasty to help better define the contours.
Are Tummy Tuck Scars Noticeable?
All types of tummy tucks will leave scars behind. However, some leave less scarring — or at least easier to hide scarring — than others. The amount of scarring is proportional to how radical the changes caused by the procedure are.
The mini-tuck usually produces smaller scars, which are easier to hide. The extended tummy tuck offers the most drastic results but also comes with the largest scars, which are also more likely to be visible in swimsuits.
As is the case with all types of scars, those caused by a tummy tuck should become less visible as time goes by. However, they are unlikely to go away entirely.
Deciding Between the Two Procedures
There is no one answer to the question of, “is lipo or a tummy tuck is better?” The right choice will depend on the person and their specific goals and needs.
To start with making a decision, you need to ask yourself what changes you want to see in your abdomen. Is it just fat that is bothering you, or is there something more?
If your answer is just fat, liposuction could be the right choice. However, you next need to think about your skin elasticity. If you have poor skin elasticity, the lack of fat could result in skin that hangs.
If you want more of a transformation, chances are a tummy tuck is the best option to help you meet your goals. It can address issues with muscle tone and skin laxity making it a much more comprehensive procedure.
Keep in mind that both options mean you will need time to heal before the results are visible.
Getting a Professional Opinion
In the end, men and women should not make the choice between tummy tuck or lipo on their own. Only a qualified plastic surgeon can say with certainty which procedure is best for a given patient.
Take the time to meet with several doctors and listen to their rationale for recommending one over the other before you decide on and schedule your procedure.
Dr. Frank Campanile is a plastic surgeon in Denver, Colorado. Board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Dr. Campanile is highly skilled and experienced in aesthetic procedures, with a focus on body contouring and breast enhancement.