Liposuction is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures on the planet. But that doesn’t mean it’s one of the most well understood. Indeed, there are plenty of misconceptions about what liposuction can and cannot do. Patients will typically have some pretty reasonable questions when they first consult with their plastic surgeons. One of the most common such questions centers around one particular complementary procedure: tummy tuck.
If You Get Liposuction, Do You Have to Get a Tummy Tuck, Too?
There are many patients that want to do: if you get a liposuction, do you have to get a tummy tuck, too? This is, unfortunately, a question that belies a straightforward or simple answer. That’s because so much of the answer depends on your unique physiology and desired final results.
During your consultation, you’ll probably discuss your options with your surgeon. And, by the way, this article is definitely not intended to replace medical advice of any kind. In fact, it’s just the opposite: we’re encouraging you to get more medical advice from your plastic or cosmetic surgeon. Because there are definitely some reasons why getting a tummy tuck with your liposuction might be a good idea. But it’s not really for everyone–and it’s not appropriate under every circumstance. A lot will depend on you and your body.
What’s the Difference Between Liposuction and Tummy Tuck?
In order to understand whether you should undergo these two procedures together, it might be useful to briefly discuss what they’re able to accomplish on their own. After all, liposuction and tummy tuck are unique procedures that are designed to do very different things, even though they are often performed concurrently:
- Liposuction: This procedure is designed to eliminate fat from areas of the body where it’s not wanted. Liposuction can remove various quantities of fat, but the main purpose is always to contour the body so that the fat removal blends in seamlessly with the rest of your figure.
- Tummy tuck: On the other hand, a tummy tuck is designed to eliminate unwanted excess skin around the tummy area. This excess skin can form in any number of ways (though weight loss is one common example). Removing the extra skin and strengthening the structure of the abdominal muscles a bit can help give the tummy a more slender, athletic look.
So, a liposuction procedure is usually intended to work on fat–and, as such, can be performed just about anywhere on the body (that said, the belly is a remarkably common target of such procedures). A tummy tuck is really only ever performed in one place, and it’s a procedure that is used to eliminate excess skin.
Why Get Both a Tummy Tuck and Liposuction?
If they’re such different procedures, why would you undergo both at the same time? The reason is that, even though tummy tuck and liposuction are different, they are complementary. And they’re complementary because of the way your skin ages.
Here’s what I mean by that: as you age, your skin loses a compound known as elastin. As you lose elastin, you also lose elasticity–the ability for your skin to bounce back when stretched. So, when you’re older, anything that stretches your skin out tends to do so permanently.
So the removal of fat from any patient via liposuction has the potential to create excess skin. The more fat that’s removed, the more excess skin can be created. And once that excess skin is present, there’s really not any natural way to remove it (which can be enormously frustrating for patients). So, when a liposuction procedure removes fat, sometimes a tummy tuck is employed to ensure that no excess skin is created by that liposuction and that the patient still ends up with a fit and trim-looking final result.
Is a Combination the Preferred Approach?
Whether this combined approach is right for you will vary from patient to patient. Not all liposuction procedures remove significant quantities of fat. Sometimes liposuction is employed more for contouring purposes than anything else.
But these two procedures are oft combined for a reason. A patient who is left with unwanted excess skin might often be rather disappointed by the results, as excess skin can look quite a bit like excess fat.
Which procedure combination option is best for you–whether you get liposuction and a tummy tuck all in one go–is really up to you and your surgeon. If you get liposuction, do you have to get a tummy tuck? That depends on you, your desired final results, and your surgeon’s opinion.