Tummy Tuck or Liposuction? Let the Experts Help Decide at Rocheford Plastic Surgery

Posted on September 5, 2019 by: Dr. Rocheford

A tummy tuck and liposuction are two surgical procedures that are performed to change what your midsection looks like. Both procedures typically claim the same thing, that your stomach will look smaller and flatter after the surgery is over. Both are considered cosmetic procedures by health insurance, and a qualified plastic surgeon must be the one to perform them. However, there are a few differences between the two procedures. Read on to learn more. 

Who are good candidates for the procedures?

While liposuction and tummy tucks usually appeal to men and women with similar goals, there are a few differences. Liposuction is great for getting rid of smaller fat deposits commonly found on the thighs, hips, stomach, or buttocks. Liposuction will remove the fat deposits from whatever area the surgeon targets, which reduces bulges and can improve contours. Remember, liposuction is not a “lose weight fast” option A tummy tuck will not only remove extra fat from your abdomen, it can also remove any excess skin. The procedure can restore the look of a previously flat stomach. A tummy tuck is not recommended for women who are trying to get pregnant again or who are still trying to lose weight. Men and women who have a chronic heart condition should not have the procedure. 

What happens during the two procedures?

Both liposuction and tummy tucks require a plastic surgeon, anesthesia, and incisions. To get the best results, Dr. Rocheford uses general anesthesia and the tumescent technique for liposuction. When the abdomen is numb, Dr. Rocheford will make very small incisions that can be hidden in your bikini or clothing. A thin tube, known as a cannula will then be inserted under the suction out the fat deposits. Because excess fluid is produced following liposuction, a drain will typically be placed to prevent seromas.  You will undergo general anesthesia for a tummy tuck. Once asleep, the incision will be made at or below the pubic hair line. When the muscles are exposed, the surgeon will then sew any muscles that have become stretched out in your abdominal wall back together. Afterward, the skin will be pulled back tightly over your abdomen and closed with sutures. A tummy tuck can be done during one visit. 

What kind of results can I expect after the procedures?

You can get permanent results from both liposuction and a tummy tuck. However, a large weight gain can alter your outcome significantly. Once you have recovered from liposuction you will typically notice a flatter midsection that is more proportioned. While these results are said to be permanent, weight gain is still possible.  It is important to maintain a healthy diet and exercise program.  A tummy tuck will also provide you with permanent results. Your abdomen will feel stronger and more stable. Any excess skin that was removed during the procedure will not return. However, weight fluctuations or pregnancy can cause the area to become stretched out again. 

Are there complications to the procedures?

There are always going to be side effects associated with any kind of surgery. Read on to learn more about these two surgeries specifically.  If your plastic surgeon works on a larger area during liposuction, the risk of complications can increase. You may feel numbness in the area that was worked on after the surgery. Some patients experience contour irregularities, meaning that the removed fat created a jagged or wavy impression on their skin. Temporary pockets of fluid, known as seromas, could form under your skin as well. If this happens, your surgeon will have to drain them. Rare risks include infection, fat embolism, and pulmonary.  Tummy tucks can have higher complication rates  when compared to other procedures. The most common problems are infections and wound complications. Other risks can include changes in sensation to the area, tissue necrosis, and fluid accumulation. 

Talk to a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon

If you are unsure which procedure is right for you, contact the professionals at Rocheford Plastic Surgery. Dr. Heather Rocheford, along with her staff, can help you decide which surgery is the best one for you. If you are ready to get started, dial 651-739-1100 for a free consultation at her Woodbury office.