Even after sticking with a diet and exercise program and shedding most of the extra fat, many people still are not happy with the appearance of their stomach, abs, or midsection. This is one of the most common complaints we hear at Radiance Plastic Surgery.
Patients commonly are most frustrated with the fact that no matter how much exercise they do or how strict their diet is, they can’t achieve a flat-toned tummy. There are many possible explanations for why this scenario is all too common. In many of these cases, a body contouring procedure may be the only option to obtain the desired result, however, the question remains: what is the right procedure, liposuction, or a tummy tuck?
A Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) and liposuction are two different surgical procedures that aim to change the appearance of your midsection. Both procedures aim to make your stomach appear flatter, tighter, and smaller. In terms of the actual procedure, recovery time, and risks, there are some key differences between the two.
Liposuction may be a good fit if you’re looking to remove small fat deposits. These are commonly found on the hips, thighs, buttocks, or stomach area. Good candidates are typically within 20lbs of their ideal body weight and don’t have a history of massive weight loss or pregnancy. Women after pregnancy can still be good candidates for liposuction, however, the skin and the abdominal wall can be permanently stretched and is best improved with a tummy tuck. Liposuction involves making small incisions in the skin and suctioning away the fatty tissue between the skin and abdominal wall. The key is to not simply remove as much fat as possible but sculpt fat in the proper proportions to create a beautiful three-dimensional shape and figure. Common areas for liposuction include the abdomen, hips, waistline, outer and inner thighs, and arms. The advantages of liposuction include minimal scarring and short downtime.
If there is loose abdominal skin or a stretched abdominal wall, liposuction alone is not the best treatment. Liposuction performed on an area with loose skin will result in even more laxity and droopiness of the skin. In order to address not just the fat layer but also the skin and abdominal wall, an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is required. A tummy tuck consists of making an incision at the bikini line from hip to hip and lifting the skin and fat off the abdominal wall. The excess skin is then pulled down and removed. With the abdominal wall exposed, stitches are then used to tighten the abdominal wall. This stitching resembles the effect of a girdle and is often necessary to repair the stretching that occurs with childbearing or morbid obesity. In addition to improving the skin and abdominal wall, liposuction can typically be included with a tummy tuck in order to treat the fatty layer and provide a more comprehensive improvement in contour.
To determine if body contouring is right for you and which procedure would give the optimal improvement in abdominal contour, seek a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Dr. Laliberte is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Canmore who specializes in aesthetic plastic surgery including body contouring procedures. After a discussion of your goals and a careful exam evaluating the skin, fat, and abdominal wall layers, Dr. Laliberte will help you decide if body contouring surgery will help you achieve the figure you want.