If you have extra fat and/or loose skin around the abdominal area, you might have considered plastic surgery as a solution to getting rid of it. Two popular procedures are liposuction and a tummy tuck. The end goal of both is a slim waist line, but which is right for you?

LOOSE SKIN

Deciding between liposuction and a tummy tuck will come down to one main factor–the amount of loose skin you have in the abdominal region. If you have a significant amount of loose skin, a tummy tuck will remove it. When comparing liposuction and a tummy tuck, it is important to realize that liposuction is purely for fat loss–it does absolutely nothing to tighten loose skin. With liposuction, fat is simply sucked out of the body. A cosmetic doctor can give you an evaluation and tell you which procedure would best suit you. At NOBU Medical spa, we offer free consultation to help you decide between these two cosmetic procedures.

SIDE EFFECTS

When comparing liposuction and a tummy tuck, it is important to understand that a tummy tuck will have much greater risks for side effects and poor results than will liposuction. In regards to plastic surgery procedures, liposuction is a relatively simple procedure. A thin, hollow tube is inserted into the body, and fat is sucked out. This leaves extremely minimal scarring and just a bit of pain and swelling afterwards, with a short recovery.

A tummy tuck, on the other hand, is not so simple. A huge incision is made right above the pubic region exposing your entire abdominal wall so the abdominal muscles can be sutured together in a new, tighter arrangement. After the abdominal muscles have been sutured together, the skin is pulled down until it is tight, and any excess skin is trimmed away. Finally, the incision is sewn up. After comparing the descriptions of liposuction and a tummy tuck, a tummy tuck is a far more complex procedure. A lot more can go wrong, and there is a greater risk for side effects. Such unsatisfactory results may include skin not being pulled tight enough (not enough saggy skin was removed), a “lumpy” feel due to the unevenness in the fat or skin removal process, a large amount of scarring, unusual appearance of the belly button, etc. The side effects and risks of liposuction do not even come close to those of a tummy tuck.

SCARRING

A huge factor in your final decision when evaluating liposuction and a tummy tuck will be the appearance of scars. With liposuction, the scars are very small, reddish and slightly noticeable right after surgery, although they quickly fade to the point where they are almost completely invisible. If you are worried about scarring from liposuction, you shouldn’t be. The scars are extremely small and not noticeable.

A tummy tuck, on the other hand, is a different story. With a tummy tuck, you are left with a very long scar that goes across the entire lower belly, and it can be up to a foot long. Immediately after surgery, the scar is bright pink and very noticeable. However, with proper care (staying out of the sun, using skin lotion religiously to speed skin healing, etc.), it should fade, over the years, to a point where it is much less visible. Everyone’s skin type is different: on some people the scar fades almost completely, while others will always have a fairly noticeable scar. This also depends on the skill of the surgeon who performs the tummy tuck.

COST

A tummy tuck is much more expensive than liposuction. The average cost of liposuction is about $4,000 (although if just one area is treated it can run much lower, in the $1,500 range), and the average tummy tuck costs $8,600. This is because a tummy tuck is a much more complex and difficult procedure than liposuction. It also carries a much higher risk and requires more skill from the plastic surgeon.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The bottom line when comparing liposuction and a tummy tuck is that liposuction is a lot safer and cheaper, but it will not give you the results you want if you have a lot of excess skin. If you do not have loose skin and want to tone up around the abdomen, liposuction is the recommended procedure. If you have a significant amount of saggy, loose skin, however, the only way to get rid of it is via a tummy tuck. Unfortunately though, it costs a lot more, and there are more risks involved.

Both liposuction and a tummy tuck are great cosmetic procedures. However, success depends on choosing the right procedure for each patient. Due to the fact that every patient’s goals and expectations are different, it is recommended to schedule a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon prior to making this important decision. At NOBU Medical Spa, we would be happy to help you by offering a free consultation. Call for appointment today at (956) 455-8899.

By Annabelle Lopez, M.D.