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Many people remain unhappy with the appearance of their belly or midsection even after diligent adherence to a diet, exercise, and losing weight. It is one of the most common complaints heard in our office. In many of these cases, body contouring surgery may be the only option to obtain the desired results, but the question remains: what is the right procedure, liposuction or a tummy tuck?

Sometimes in life we think we need one thing when in reality, we need quite another. Like a rain jacket and an umbrella, you may think all you need is the jacket, but it’s not going to stop you from getting your hair wet. You still need the umbrella. Such is the case when seeking to address “a little off the belly.” It seems so simple… just a little lipo, right? Well, maybe, but it’s not quite always the case.  

Liposuction and tummy tucks are often sought by people with similar aesthetic goals.

There are some important differences. 

Liposuction

Liposuction is usually a good fit if you’re looking to remove small fat deposits. Stubborn fat deposits that are usually found on the hips, thighs, buttocks, or stomach area respond well to liposuction. The procedure removes fat deposits from the targeted area, reducing bulges and improving contour. Liposuction is not a weight loss tool or a good idea if you’re obese.

Many people are excellent candidates for liposuction, but as it turns out, many are not. If you have lost a lot of weight or had a baby, congratulations! However, you may not actually be a candidate for liposuction alone. More likely what you need is a tummy tuck. 

Why is that? Loose skin is not improved by liposuction. 

There are key differences in determining what the best surgery is for you. In addition to removing excess fat from the abdomen, a tummy tuck also has the ability to remove excess skin. It is of utmost importance to understand that if there is loose abdominal skin or a stretched abdominal wall, liposuction alone is not the best option. When liposuction is performed on areas with loose skin the result is more laxity and droopiness of the skin.

Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

Pregnancy and significant shifts in weight stretch out the skin that surrounds your abdomen. It can also mean that your internal muscles have also been pulled open leading your stomach to always appear pushed out. A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty, can restore a flat midsection by bringing the rectus abdominus muscles back together by surgically creating an internal corset. And most importantly, removes the excess, stretched out skin.  

Addressing the fat layer, the compromised skin as well as the abdominal wall, is the multi-tasking combination that is an abdominoplasty. A tummy tuck consists of making a strategic incision at the bikini line from hip to hip. The excess skin is then pulled down and removed.  With access to the abdominal wall, your surgeon can tighten your abdominals by placing stitches. Before getting anxious about a potential scar, remember that no amount of dieting can remove excess skin and no amount of exercise can bring an abdominal wall back together and flatten your midsection. In addition to improving the skin and abdominal wall, liposuction is typically involved in a tummy tuck to contour the entire midsection, create a waist, and provide an overall improvement in the silhouette. 

So how do you find out which avenue is right for you?

To begin your journey to your tightest waist possible, it is the best course of action to meet with a qualified plastic surgeon to understand your options. In your consultation, Dr. Ramirez Gavidia will explain which procedure is the wisest choice for you and your body. Learning which surgery or combination of surgeries suits you can help you realize your aesthetic goals.

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