Liposuction and tummy tucks often appeal to people with similar cosmetic goals. Both are supposed to give you a flat food contoured look of your stomach area and waist. But, they are markedly different in their promised result and the way they work as there are key crucial differences in terms of the actual procedure, recovery time and risks.
Liposuction is a body contouring procedure aimed at removing fat deposit from the targeted are, reducing bulges and improving contour. However, liposuction isn’t recommended as a weight loss tool. Never been! It is not meant to be for obese patients. On the other hand, tummy tuck is best suited for people with a skin overhang, separated muscles and multiple stretch marks below the belly button. Best if they are done with childbirth and had a stable weight for the past 6 months.
In liposuction, the surgeon makes very small incisions in certain hidden area close to your fat deposits. A thin tube (cannula) attached to a vacuum device via a hose, will be used to destroy the fat deposits into smaller particles and aspirate them outside your body into a canister. In tummy tuck, an incision is made in the lower abdomen above the pubic hair, where the abdominal muscles are repaired together, the excess skin overhang removed and liposuction to the waist area is carried out. Two drains are left behind to suck out the tissue fluid and blood in the area and these are removed in few days.
Compared to tummy tuck, Liposuction is associated with more rapid recovery and less downtime. Complications of liposuction include contour irregularities, seroma, asymmetry, numbness and discoloration of the skin. Other significant but rare complications include fat embolism, where fat pieces may break loose and travel to the lungs or brain blocking the vessels causing serious injury. Also, perforation to viscera by metal cannula can also occur causing stab injury to internal organs, which may lead to deleterious effects. tummy tucks have been shown to be more serious. In addition to the risk mentioned above, other complications may include wound healing and tissue necrosis due to compromised circulation especially in smokers, poorly controlled diabetics or those on steroids.
The recovery process is also different for each procedure. It tends to be fast and easier following liposuction but this may will depend on how many areas were operated on.
Although liposuction and a tummy tuck both claim lasting results, significant weight gain after either procedure can alter this outcome. Therefore maintaining your weight, activity and healthy diet is key following surgery.
In summary, the indications of both procedures are different, and your plastic surgeon will be best to help you decide which procedure is suited for you. Since both procedures are considered “cosmetic,” they are not covered by health insurance.