The dreaded midsection issues of flabby skin and excess fat, even with a healthy diet and regular exercise, is a prevalent concern among adults. It is one of the most common areas of the body that plastic surgeons, like the experts at Austin Plastic Surgery Institute, hear complaints about from both women and men. With several different noninvasive and surgical body contouring options, it can be confusing for people to know what they need. Two popular cosmetic treatments performed today are tummy tucks and liposuction. While similar in some ways, they are also different.

Here is a more in-depth look at both of these body contouring procedures from the board-certified plastic surgeons at Austin Plastic Surgery Institute, located in Austin, TX. A common question asked by patients is, “What’s the difference between a tummy tuck and liposuction?” In some cases, body contouring surgery may be the only option for patients to obtain the aesthetic results they need for their waistline. The real question is, “When it comes down to a tummy tuck versus liposuction, which is right for you?”  

What is liposuction?

Liposuction is a body contouring procedure that permanently removes excess fatty deposits. Healthy individuals who struggle with small pockets of fat or unwanted bulges should consider liposuction for body sculpting help. The typical target areas are generally the hips, thighs, under the chin, and the stomach area. Liposuction is a less invasive surgery that requires small skin incisions to insert a cannula, or thin tube, to loosen fatty tissue to be gently suctioned out. Once removed, the incision is sealed and, after healing, is barely noticeable.

What is tummy tuck surgery?

A tummy tuck, medically known as an abdominoplasty, can remove excess skin from the abdominal area. Liposuction can also be utilized to remove excess fat. Age, genetics, pregnancy, and fluctuating shifts in weight can stretch out abdominal skin. A tummy tuck can restore a person’s stomach area to look flat and fit, as well as tighten lower abdominal muscles if they have been stretched or separated by pregnancy. The ideal candidate for a tummy tuck is:

  • At or near their ideal weight but have excess fat in the abdominal area
  • Abdominal muscle weakness
  • Body mass index (BMI) under 30
  • Healthy, nonsmoking adult (over 18 years old)

What’s the difference between a tummy tuck and liposuction?

Both liposuction and a tummy tuck are out-patient procedures performed under general anesthesia at Austin Plastic Surgery Institute, an accredited surgical facility. Liposuction requires small incisions around the target area where fat deposits will be extracted. Sessions vary by patient, depending on the number and size of target areas being treated. A typical lipo session can take 30 minutes to an hour. More than one session may be needed for patients to achieve their desired results. However, it is less invasive, requiring less downtime, with patients returning to normal activities in about a week or less.

A tummy tuck is a customizable surgery that is done in one procedure. A tummy tuck surgery generally takes about 2 – 3 hours to complete. This body contouring procedure can eliminate loose skin folds in the lower abdominal area while removing any excess fat with liposuction. The surgical experts at Austin Plastic Surgery Institute will determine which tummy tuck technique a patient requires; a full, mini, or extended. The typical recovery time is about 4 – 6 weeks.

Although both surgical techniques can improve the appearance of a person’s abdominal area, they are markedly different in the way they work. Liposuction can reshape or contour a patient’s stomach area by removing excess fatty pockets with minimal scarring and a shorter recovery period. A tummy tuck is a more invasive procedure, but it can eliminate loose, flabby skin or tighten stretched abdominal muscles. To determine which body contouring is the best solution, consult a board-certified plastic surgeon to carefully evaluate what is needed and, together, determine what option will obtain the right results.

The experts at Austin Plastic Surgery Institute will guide each patient every step of the way and help determine which body contouring procedure they need. With more than 80 years of collective surgical experience, the board-certified plastic surgeons at Austin Plastic Surgery Institute can help patients tackle any of their aesthetic concerns with their abdominal area. If you have additional questions or are interested in liposuction or a tummy tuck, then we invite you to schedule a consultation with one of our plastic surgeons at Austin Plastic Surgery Institute in Austin, TX. They are a great resource to decide which procedure may be right for you.