Liposuction or Tummy Tuck?

Body Sometimes patients come in to our Okatie practice and are confused whether liposuction or a tummy tuck would be right for them. Some consider these two body contouring procedures to be somewhat interchangeable.

But the two procedures are really quite different and your individual body predicates which is the best option for you.

Here’s the difference between the two.

Liposuction for pockets of fat

Liposuction is designed to remove pockets of stubborn fat that are resistant to changes in diet and exercise. It is meant to remove pockets of fat in areas such as the abdomen, flanks, thighs, upper arms, bra line, and even the jowls. Patients sometimes think of liposuction as a weight-loss procedure, but it is not. Removing too much fat at one time can actually be quite dangerous.

So, how do you tell if liposuction is right for you? We all have pockets of stubborn fat here or there, despite what kind of shape you’re in. Fat that accumulates in certain areas is very hard to get rid of. That’s what liposuction is meant to address.

The key to being a good patient for liposuction is the skin. If your skin still has good elasticity and can tighten down when fat is removed from an area, then liposuction is a good option. Also, patients need to be within about 10 percent of their ideal weight.

Tummy tuck for sagging skin

Tummy tucks involve the longest incision in cosmetic surgery, stretching from hipbone to hipbone. This allows Dr. Smith to remove the necessary sagging skin to tighten a loose, sagging abdomen. That’s the key to a tummy tuck — loose, sagging skin that cannot tighten back down. Skin that has been stretched for a long period of time during weight gain, or due to the localized nature of pregnancy, often won’t be able to tighten down to its former contour. The only way to get rid of this is through excision; that’s what a tummy tuck does.

Once the incision has been made, Dr. Smith separates the skin from the underlying muscles. Often, especially when a patient has had a child, the weight gain was localized to the degree that it actually caused the abdominal muscles to separate in the center of the stomach area. These will not come back together naturally. Dr. Smith brings these back to the center and reattaches them. This slims the waist. He then pulls down the loose, sagging skin and trims away the excess. He then closes the incision. In many tummy tucks, Dr. Smith will also use some amount of liposuction to remove pockets of fat.

Which body contouring procedure would be right for you? Call Dr. Smith at (843) 705-8940 and set up a consultation.


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Smith Plastic Surgery

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