In the public imagination, liposuction and tummy tuck are frequently thought of as surgical shortcuts to dramatic weight loss. In reality, each procedure is focused on sculpting a more appealing body profile, not lowering overall weight.
This misconception is one of the common variables that liposuction and tummy tuck share. Here, experienced Long Island plastic surgeon Lloyd D. Landsman, MD, compares other key features of these two popular procedures.
As the name suggests, tummy tuck is focused on restoring to the stomach skin and muscle integrity, which may have been lost as a result of pregnancy or major changes in body weight. The medical name for the procedure is abdominoplasty, and it directly targets many of the abdomen-specific side effects of pregnancy, such as development of loose folds of skin and a weakening or actual separation of muscles.
It’s a bit imprecise to say that the surgery simply “tucks in” skin, but the technique of removing excess skin and tightening both skin and muscles does have the effect of smoothing out the appearance of the abdomen, eliminating flabbiness and creating a toned stomach with a newly strengthened abdominal wall.
Although some fat is removed during the surgery, tummy tuck is not a means to address belly fat. Dr. Landsman advises overweight patients to lower body weight to within a normal range before undergoing the procedure.
When a patient is most concerned about lumps or pockets of fat on the body, especially in areas other than the abdomen, liposuction may be the better option. During the procedure, areas of fat are literally suctioned away with the use of a slim surgical instrument known as a cannula.
The type of fat targeted is not the excess amount you may have gained over months of late-night pizzas and early-morning McMuffins. Instead, liposuction addresses accumulated areas of fat that never seem to change much despite your best efforts to exercise, lower caloric intake and choose wisely when planning meals.
To ensure an optimal outcome, it helps if your skin has a high degree of elasticity, so that it can drape over the reduced fat volume below without creating folds or sagging. In addition to the belly, patients often consider liposuction to slim hips, thighs, buttocks, flanks, the waist, arms and, for men, the “male breasts” typical of gynecomastia.
For more information on liposuction or tummy tuck, call or email to schedule an appointment in the Smithtown, Long Island office of board-certified plastic surgeon Lloyd D. Landsman, MD.