Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck Guide – Which is Right for You?

If you have extra fat and/or loose skin around the abdominal area, you may 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? Let’s compare and contrast the positive and negatives of liposuction vs tummy tuck.

Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck – Loose Skin

Deciding between liposuction vs tummy tuck will come down to one main factor – the amount of loose skin you have on the abdominal region. If you have had kids in the past, or dramatic weight loss, chances are you will have a lot loose skin around the abdominal area. A tummy tuck will get rid of this loose, excess skin. Liposuction, on the other hand, will only exacerbate the problem. When comparing liposuction vs tummy tuck, it is important to realize that liposuction is purely for fat loss – it does absolutely nothing to tighten loose skin, and can actually make it worse. With liposuction, fat is simply sucked out of the body, meaning there will be less volume underneath the skin. This means that the skin will be looser than it was before because there is less fat underneath to stretch it out – however, if only a moderate amount of fat needs to be removed (less than 25 pounds), you shouldn’t have any worries regarding loose skin. But, if you require more than 25 pounds to be removed and may already have loose abdominal skin from having kids (or for whatever reason), liposuction may not be the best option, as it will do nothing to treat the loose, saggy skin. As stated before, a tummy tuck will remove both the excess fat and excess skin, leaving you with a waistline that is both slim and tight and toned.

Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck – Side Effects

When comparing liposuction vs 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. As far as plastic surgery procedures go, liposuction is 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. Read more about liposuction side effects or liposuction recovery.

A tummy tuck, on the other hand, is not so simple. A huge incision will be 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 will be pulled down until it is tight, and any excess will be trimmed away. Finally, you will sewn back up. As you can see by comparing the descriptions of liposuction vs 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. Some side effects might include infection or internal bleeding, but the most common is unsatisfactory results. Such unsatisfactory results may include skin not being pulled tight enough thus not enough saggy skin was removed, unevenness in the fat or skin removal process creating a “lumpy” feel, a large amount of scarring, unusual appearance of the belly button, etc. The side effects of liposuction and liposuction risks do not even come close to that of a tummy tuck.

Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck – Scarring

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

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

Tummy Tuck Scar

Tummy tuck scar a few weeks after surgery

Tummy Tuck Scar Faded

Tummy tuck scar a few months after surgery that has faded quite a bit. Overtime, it may continue to fade and become even less visible


Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck – Cost

A tummy tuck is a lot more expensive that liposuction. The average cost of liposuction is about $5,700 (although if just one area is treated it can run much lower, in the $3,500 range) and the average tummy tuck cost is $8,600. This is because a tummy tuck is much more complex and difficult procedure than liposuction. It also carries a much higher risk, and requires more skill from the plastic surgeon. Cosmetic surgery prices will always run higher for riskier, more difficult operations.

Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck – The Bottom Line

The bottom line when comparing liposuction vs tummy tuck is that liposuction is a lot safer and cheaper, but it will not give you the results you want if you have lots of excess skin or require dramatic weight loss. If you do not have loose skin and want to tone up around the mid section by losing no more than around 25 pounds of fat, go with liposuction. If you have some saggy, loose skin, however, the only way to get rid of it is via tummy tuck. However, you will pay a lot more, and there will be more risks involved. The risks of a tummy tuck can be significantly lowered if you thoroughly research a highly trained and professional plastic surgeon, who has performed many tummy tucks and can provide a wealth of successful before and after photos. A properly researched plastic surgeon will be able to provide excellent results with a tummy tuck and greatly reduce the risk of any unsatisfactory results.

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