Tummy Tuck vs Liposuction: What’s the difference?



For the past decade, liposuction and tummy tucks have been featured in the top five most commonly requested cosmetic surgical procedures. The demand for these two procedures has grown steadily over the years, with an estimated annual increase of 5% for liposuction and 4% for a tummy tuck. Although both the liposuction and tummy tuck involve the removal of stubborn fat, especially in the tummy area, there are some distinct differences. 




Liposuction is the most popular cosmetic surgical treatment in the world. This is not just because of its effectiveness but also because it is an outpatient procedure that requires minimal downtime. Often, patients only require an IV sedation before the treatment. However, a few patients, depending on their situation, may be required to undergo general anesthesia. 


This cosmetic treatment involves the suction of excess fat in the abdomen and waist area, back, chest, hips, buttocks, inner knee, upper arm and thighs. After numbing the target area, your surgeon will make several incisions before inserting a thin tube under the skin. This process will help loosen the fat cells. A medical vacuum will then be used to suction the fat. 


Tummy Tuck


Tummy Tuck, on the other hand, involves more than removing excess fat in your abdominal area. The doctor will also remove sagging skin. During pregnancy or when one puts on a significant amount of weight around the tummy area, the skin stretches, and sometimes you need to get rid of the excess skin as well as the fat. 


Sometimes, patients who need a tummy tuck don’t necessarily have a weight problem. In some cases, the patient has succeeded in losing the excess fat but still has excess skin which cannot be fixed by exercising or dieting. 


Depending on how much work you need to get a flat tummy, your doctor may opt between giving you a partial or full tummy tuck. 


Distinct differences between liposuction and tummy tuck 


Unlike liposuction, where you get to leave the hospital the same day of the procedure, you will need to spend several days in the hospital for a tummy tuck procedure. This is because this surgery can take several hours. Liposuction can be completed in an hour.


Tummy Tuck is also more invasive, so it takes a lot longer to heal. It may take you several months to get back to some of your pre-surgery activities. With liposuction, recovery can be anywhere between two and six weeks.  


When getting rid of the excess skin during a tummy tuck procedure, your surgeon can also use this chance to get rid of stretch marks and sections with older scarring. So, in addition to having firmer skin, you can now have a flawless one too. Liposuction doesn’t give you this additional benefit since the procedure focuses on removing excess fat. 


A tummy tuck procedure also tends to be more permanent since the abdominal muscles are tightened. Liposuction does not prevent the accumulation of fat in areas that were not suctioned.  


Sometimes, doctors recommend both the liposuction and tummy tuck for a better outcome. However, it is critical to note that you need to be actively trying to lose weight to qualify for either of these procedures. Turning to liposuction and tummy tuck as a weight loss remedy is not recommended. You still need to exercise and diet, and only use these surgical procedures if you have stubborn fat and saggy skin.


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