Many patients come to my plastic surgery practice knowing that they want a change, but unsure of how to make it happen. This happens most often with the midsection, especially for women who have had children and are looking to restore their contours to a smoother, more toned form like they had before pregnancy. To make this happen, they come in wanting either liposuction or a tummy tuck here on Long Island.
So how do you know which treatment may be right for you? I’ll explain the treatments, as well as some of the concerns that qualify a patient as a candidate.
A tummy tuck surgery, also called abdominoplasty, reduces the amount of loose, stretched skin around the lower abdomen. This extra skin is more prone to develop after life events such as aging, weight loss, or pregnancy. This procedure is an option for patients who want to remove this extra skin and tighten their lower abdominal area.
Tummy tuck can also correct diastasis recti, or separation of the abdominal muscles. This separation occurs along the line that’s perpendicular to the navel. It may cause internal tissue to protrude from the abdomen, creating a rounder appearance and even discomfort. With tummy tuck surgery, these muscles can be rejoined by tightening the fascia between them.
I may also surgically improve the navel of some tummy tuck patients, especially if there is significant extra skin to be removed.
You can see that the patient pictured above from our before-and-after gallery had a significant amount of loose, hanging skin. This makes tummy tuck a better choice than liposuction: While liposuction could remove fat in the area, it would not tighten and remove the significant extra skin.
Liposuction is a versatile treatment that can be performed on a variety of areas around the body. The lower abdomen is the most common treatment area for the procedure, but patients can also choose to have liposuction on the hips, lower back or “love handles,” back, arms, or thighs. This treatment is an option for patients who want to reduce fat in certain areas, but do not have excess skin. Liposuction on its own is best when the candidate has good “skin laxity” — i.e., the skin will adjust to a slimmer you once the fat is removed. That said, it is possible to perform the liposuction in conjunction with a tummy tuck to reduce fat, create smooth contours, and slim down your figure all at once! But I’ll discuss that more later.
The patient featured in the images below (here’s her story) was an excellent candidate for liposuction. She was a mother of 3 children who had a stubborn area of fat in her lower abdomen that had not responded well to diet and exercise.
Combining Treatments for Optimal Results
As I mentioned before, some patients may opt to receive both treatments at once! For example, the patient in the before-and-after images below (read her story) benefitted from combining liposuction and a tummy tuck. The liposuction removed the excess stubborn fat, while the tummy tuck treated the loose skin and many of the visible stretch marks. I was also able to reconstruct her navel. To further enhance her results, she received a breast augmentation during the same procedure.
These outlines and common traits are meant to help you determine which procedure is right for you, but the best plan for your needs comes from an in-person visit with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Each patient is unique.
Interested in learning more about tummy tuck, liposuction, and mommy makeover treatments? Visit the homepage of my blog for a list of categories to choose from. And if you have questions, feel free to leave a comment below!