What Is the Difference Between Liposuction and Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Two of the most popular options for body contouring are liposuction and tummy tuck surgery. In fact, 2020-2021 statistics from The Aesthetic Society® cite these two treatments as the #1 and #3 most frequently performed cosmetic surgeries in the U.S.* One of the many reasons why these treatments are performed for so many patients is likely because they have proven again and again to be significantly effective for addressing aesthetic concerns that are simply not responding to traditional exercise or healthy dietary habits, particularly in the abdominal region. With this in mind, it is very important to understand the major distinctions between liposuction and tummy tuck surgery when it comes to enhancing abdominal contours. Based on individual needs and goals, one option may be more ideal than the other, or both performed in combination may be the best solution.

Liposuction is a surgical procedure that utilizes long, thin cannulas to quite literally suction excess fat cells out of specific body areas. These pockets of excess fat can form virtually anywhere, including the midsection. While liposuction involves surgery, the procedure is less invasive than a tummy tuck and often requires very small incisions, leading to less noticeable scarring; however, it is not designed to accomplish the goals that a tummy tuck can accomplish. Liposuction can only remove excess fat; it will have virtually no effect on lax, excess skin or loose muscles in the abdomen. If the primary cause of the cosmetic concern in the abdominal region is a collection of excess fat, liposuction may be all that is necessary to achieve the patient’s goals. If the concern is being caused by excess skin or compromised abdominal musculature, a tummy tuck may be recommended.

Tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty) is a more invasive surgery than liposuction and is designed to achieve very different goals. A tummy tuck can tighten and repair the muscles in the abdomen, trim away excess skin, and pull the remaining skin taut to produce a firmer, flatter, smoother look and more defined abdominal contours. While liposuction cannot be utilized to achieve the same effects, it is sometimes added as a component of tummy tuck surgery when the abdominal condition is being caused by both excess skin and excess fat. In other cases, only one or the other (tummy tuck surgery or liposuction) is necessary.

During your initial consultation with Dr. Eric Okamoto, he can evaluate your needs and determine whether liposuction, tummy tuck surgery, or both procedures performed together will serve as the best way to achieve your abdominal enhancement goals. For additional information, or to schedule an appointment, please contact our office today.

The Aesthetic Society® Statistics