When to Choose Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck

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Diet and exercise are two of the best ways to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. However, many men and women in Philadelphia, PA find themselves left with excess fat or loose skin around their midsection despite achieving their ideal weight. When our bodies undergo significant weight loss, the skin loses its elasticity and may not “snap back” the way you'd expect. In these cases, surgery is often the best way to create a smooth, lean physique.

At Accent on Body Aesthetic near Pittsburgh, PA, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. James Fernau understands that each patient has different insecurities and goals for surgery. As a result, we offer several treatments to help you take back your confidence and boost your self-esteem. Liposuction and a tummy tuck can help create an improved body contour and improve the abdomen's appearance, but how do you decide which procedure is right for you?

We created this guide to help you understand how people choose liposuction vs. a tummy tuck and help you determine which, if either, can help you achieve your aesthetic goals.

What’s the difference between both procedures?

Liposuction is best for patients whose primary concern is excess fat. Although liposuction should not be considered a "weight loss" treatment, the procedure involves removing unwanted fat from problem areas all over the body, including the arms, hips, back, thighs, and abdomen. In contrast, a tummy tuck is a surgical procedure best for patients who have saggy, excess skin. The surgery aims to remove excess skin, fat, and tissue from the stomach while also tightening the abdominal muscles for a more toned midsection.

Which procedure gives the best results?

Both liposuction and a tummy tuck in Pittsburgh, PA will produce dramatic, long-lasting results. However, a tummy tuck is typically the better choice if you have excess skin. On the other hand, liposuction is great for contouring the body and creating an hourglass shape for women. Liposuction and tummy tucks are considered long-term procedures, but the longevity of your results will ultimately depend on you. If you gain weight or become pregnant, for example, your skin may stretch to accommodate the extra mass.

Do both treatments use anesthesia?

One fairly significant difference between liposuction and a tummy tuck is the type of anesthesia used. Typically, liposuction is performed using intravenous sedation or even local anesthesia, whereas a tummy tuck is performed using general anesthesia. Dr. Fenau will assess your current health status, personal preferences, and medical history during your initial consultation to determine which combination of sedation and anesthesia is right for you.

Which procedure has a shorter recovery time?

Your recovery period will depend on how many areas were targeted during surgery, the amount of fat that needed to be removed, the techniques used, and several other factors. However, a tummy tuck normally requires far more recovery time than liposuction. Patients are expected to take 2 – 3 weeks off from work and other activities to fully heal from tummy tuck surgery. After liposuction, most patients find they can return to a desk job within a few days, but you'll need to refrain from any moderate activity for the first two weeks.

What are the criteria for both procedures?

Tummy tucks are best for patients who have stretched, loose skin in the lower abdomen, most often due to pregnancy or obesity. A tummy tuck candidate has excess fat around their midsection and excess skin and tissue around the stomach that they would like removed. Liposuction is for patients who want to remove excess fat in the abdomen but still have a healthy skin tone. Liposuction candidates should have an unwanted accumulation of fat that won't go away with diet and exercise.

Ready to achieve the flat, toned stomach you've always dreamed of?

Dr. James Fernau is a board-certified plastic surgeon near Pittsburgh, PA, specializing in cosmetic surgery and reconstruction. If you're unhappy with your midsection, contact us today to learn more about liposuction and tummy tuck treatments. During your initial consultation in Coraopolis, PA, Dr. Fernau will listen to your concerns and help you decide which combination of procedures will best suit your needs.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.