What Tummy Tucks and Liposuction Can and Cannot Do

If you are thinking about a tummy tuck or liposuction, it’s important to understand what to expect from each procedure. Your ultimate satisfaction after cosmetic surgery is dependent upon your research, education, and overall goals.

A tummy tuck and liposuction are two different surgeries that address different aesthetic concerns.

Liposuction can be performed in conjunction with a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) to achieve a lean and well-sculpted midsection.  While a tummy tuck tightens the abdominal muscles and removes some excess skin, a liposuction involves suctioning fat deposits from the treatment area. Liposuction can be applied to other areas of the body as well. Fat can also be removed from the waist and back to create the ideal silhouette and contours.

Neither a tummy tuck nor liposuction treatment is intended for significant weight reduction. While your new body will be slimmer, body contouring procedures are not replacements for a diet plan. In fact, plastic surgeons recommend you reach your optimal weight before undergoing either procedure. With proper nutrition and exercise, you can maintain an improved body shape and feel motivated to preserve your excellent results well into the future.

It’s also important to note that everyone’s skin reacts differently after surgery; no two people are exactly the same.  Dr. Sajjadian has many years of experience performing tummy tucks and liposuction procedures and can help you visualize what you will look like following treatment. If you have any questions about healing or aftercare, he can provide all necessary information to ensure your confidence.

The tummy tuck incision site is hidden below the bikini line so it remains as discreet as possible.  Liposuction will produce minimal scarring, and Dr. Sajjadian can conceal the incision within the folds of the skin, depending on the unique structure of the soft tissue.

Understanding Tummy Tuck and Liposuction Limitations – Are You a Candidate?

Now that you know the basic differences between the two procedures, compare and contrast what each is able to achieve.

Regarding liposuction:

  • Skin will not be tightened after fat is removed
  • Not recommended for significant weight loss
  • Does not reduce stretch marks

You are not a candidate if for liposuction if you smoke, are obese, or have been diagnosed with certain medical conditions that disqualify you from surgical care. While the fat deposits removed during treatment will not come back, you can still accumulate fat in other locations on your body.

Regarding a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty):

  • Not recommended for removing large amounts of fat or skin
  • Cannot be provided to obese patients as a weight loss method
  • Does not resolve cellulite or dimpling

Excellent candidates for a tummy tuck are patients who do not plan on becoming pregnant. A tummy tuck repairs the muscle separation often caused by pregnancy, which is why Dr.  Sajjadian recommends the procedure after patients are done growing their families. As with all surgeries, patients should be in good overall health to complete treatment and heal successfully.

Conservative Treatment: A New Trend in Tummy Tucks

Women aged 35 or younger who have a belly that hangs over their belt line (sometimes called an “apron”), but who have tight abdominal muscles are choosing liposuction instead of a tummy tuck. As young women tend to have excellent skin elasticity, they can achieve aesthetic results without complex cosmetic surgery. Recovery is also easier after liposuction, compared to a traditional tummy tuck.  Women who are over 35 also occasionally opt for liposuction only. They know that, while their results may not be perfect, they will achieve a more toned silhouette with minimally invasive treatment methods.

Surgical Options for Achieving Ideal Results

The great majority of women and men who have had a tummy tuck are happy with the results; however, each patient has their own concept of an ideal physical shape and what they would like to see when they look in a mirror. Consider the following options for meeting your goals:

Standard Tummy Tucks remove excess tissue and tighten the skin. The procedure also involves repositioning vertical muscle alignment and even the belly button, in some cases.  Dr. Sajjadian will begin the procedure with a long, low incision from hip to hip. Your full tummy tuck is performed under general anesthesia, and complete recovery takes about 10 days.

Mini Tummy Tucks are recommended if the skin just below your naval is sagging. A mini tummy tuck is less invasive than a standard tummy tuck, as the name implies.   During the procedure, a small horizontal incision is made beneath the belly button.  Excess skin is removed and the muscle is tightened; the belly button remains in place. The complete procedure can be performed under mild sedation, rather than general anesthesia.

Extensive or Circumferential Tummy Tucks targets the full abdomen, hips, and lower back to comprehensively sculpt and re-shape the lower body. Two incisions are made – one from hip to hip and another that is vertical and runs through the belly button. This approach allows Dr. Sajjadian to remove tissue from the lower abdomen, plicate the rectus abdominal muscle sheath, reposition the belly button, and contour the sides of your abdomen.  This procedure will also include liposuction to remove back fat and fat accumulation on the thighs and flanks.

Reverse Tummy Tucks remove skin from the area above the belly button.  Dr. Sajjadian will make an incision under the breast to conceal the scar. A mini tummy tuck can also be provided in conjunction with breast augmentation and liposuction.

Your board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Sajjadian, will present options for liposuction as well.  This can include the size of the instrument used to perform the treatment – a small, scoop-shaped tool called a cannula. The techniques used to perform surgical fat removal include:

Traditional Liposuction or suction-assisted lipo draws fat our through vacuum power and back-and-forth movement of the cannula.

Tumescent Liposuction involves administering solution through an IV that helps efficiently break up and remove fat.  This technique also minimizes blood loss and increases post-treatment comfort.

Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction melts fat before removal. Generally, this type of liposuction is utilized in fibrous areas where traditional liposuction has been performed before and did not achieve ideal results.

Power-Assisted Liposuction provides the necessary strength to contour difficult areas, such as the inner thighs. More fat can be removed with this approach, and recovery time is reduced along with bruising.

The Healing Process: Developing your Final Results

Recovery is an important process after a tummy tuck or liposuction treatment.  It is normal to experience bruising, swelling, and some discomfort, which Dr. Sajjadian addresses with medication. Drains are typically be placed, which need to be measured and emptied as recommended. The first week following surgery is the most challenging, but patients report an improvement in feeling of wellness after Dr. Sajjadian removes the drains.

Keep in mind as you recover, that your new shape will develop over the healing period.  Swelling is expected for 1-3 months following tummy tuck surgery, especially around the incision site; however, your appearance will continue to improve as inflammation recedes.  If you had dense fat deposits removed during surgery, retraction of your skin will be tighter.  Be sure to follow instructions and wear compression garments as required to achieve expected results.

Following a tummy tuck, you will also need to sleep with your head elevated. Once your drains are removed, you will find it easier to rest.  In the second and third weeks, you can begin light chores and walks. Dr. Sajjadian will let you know when you can resume your fitness routine.

Dr. Sajjadian is one of few plastic surgeons in the United States who holds triple board certification. He is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the American Board of Otolaryngology, as well as the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Dr. Sajjadian received the honor as one of “America’s Top Physicians,” four years in a row. He is a former Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery and faculty member of the Plastic Surgery Residency Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He has exceptional reviews for his exquisite rhinoplasty work.  Ready to get started on your new journey to looking great and a brand new confidence?  We invite you to contact us at 949-515-0550. http://www.drsajjadian.com