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Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck

Getting a flatter stomach may be achievable for some through diet and exercise, but cosmetic surgery is an effective option to help patients refine and redefine their silhouette. The abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, is one way to do so, as it trims excess skin and tightens the abdomen. However, liposuction alone may be effective in certain cases. For some patients, it may not immediately be obvious what the best surgical choice is. That’s why at Azar Plastic Surgery & Med Spa, we can assist you in finding out more about each procedure.

Making informed decisions regarding plastic surgery is important for each and every patient. And, in the experienced hands of board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Kouros Azar, you can rest assured that he will provide the best service for your circumstances. Call our Thousand Oaks location at (805) 373-7073 to book your personal consultation to discuss a tummy tuck or liposuction procedure for the abdomen at your earliest convenience. You can also get in touch by filling out our online contact form.

About the Abdomen

Whether it’s following pregnancy, or due to the passage of time, the appearance of our abdomen can change significantly. Many physiological changes take place due to childbirth and aging. And, out of all the requests for surgery we receive, abdominal procedures are some of the most popular. One of the biggest complaints from patients during their initial consultation is that their abdominal contour is unsatisfactory. Either too much excess fat, too much excess skin, or a combination of the two can impact patient confidence. 

Body contouring surgery can transform the abdomen for a flatter, more appealing appearance. So which type of surgery is best? To find out, we need to examine the anatomy of the area.

Anatomy Of The Abdomen

The abdomen is part of the trunk. Fat (adipose tissue) in the trunk is separated into distinct regions. Divided by an area of connective tissue called Scarpa’s fascia, there is a superficial layer and a deep layer of adipose tissue. (1) Excess fat in this region can be notoriously difficult to get rid of, which is why many people choose the surgical route. Both liposuction and abdominoplasty can remove excess tissue and improve body contour, allowing patients more freedom to wear what they want, and helping them to maintain a smoother, healthier-looking physique.

How Does Pregnancy Affect the Abdomen?

A woman’s body goes through marked changes, both internally and externally, during and after childbirth. As well as dealing with hormonal fluctuations, weight changes, and numerous other changes within the body, patients who have recently given birth will also see a different silhouette in the mirror. What’s more, with the stresses of parenthood and a busy schedule, you may simply be too tired to work out.

In particular, many women experience abdominal skin sagging, lingering fat deposits, and a less aesthetically pleasing navel than they may had before their pregnancy. In some patients, the growing fetus may cause the abdominal muscles to separate to make room, in a condition known as diastasis recti

Signs of diastasis recti:

  • The feeling of abdominal instability
  • Bulging that worsens with abdominal pressure
  • Difficulty with exercise (e.g. abdominal crunches)
  • Possible urinary stress incontinence
  • Possible back pain (2)

This separation of the rectus abdominis muscle (commonly known as the “abs”) can cause unsightly tissue dimpling and, in some cases, can only be addressed via muscle repair during an abdominoplasty procedure.

What Happens to Abdominal Tissue With Age?

Over time, skin loses the ability to produce vital components such as collagen and elastin at the optimal rate. Skin starts to lose its integrity and can feel loose and flabby. Skin laxity, or sagging, is very common, especially in the abdomen. Although we still don’t know precisely why, aging is associated with a shift of fat from the peripheral areas of the body, i.e. (face, arms, and legs) to the center. (3) This means that abdominal fat deposits are very likely to increase with age.

The Abdomen After Massive Weight Loss

If a patient has recently experienced significant weight loss – whether due to diet change or gastric surgery – they may notice that a large amount of skin does not shrink back to a desirable aesthetic position. Bariatric procedures may include the less invasive gastric balloon, or the more involved gastric sleeve or gastric bypass operation. These surgeries limit the size of the stomach, and only allow patients to eat a certain amount of food in one sitting.

 Although these procedures are a great way to lose excess weight quickly, the weight loss can happen so quickly that abdominal skin cannot “shrink” back, causing considerable excess to remain. This “pooch” is particularly undesirable, and difficult to shift, as it is often the case that neither diet nor exercise can fix the lax skin. Surgery to remove the excess tissue can streamline the abdomen and help patients to realize the results of their weight loss journey fully.

When to Choose Liposuction

A liposuction procedure permanently removes fat from various areas of the body, including the abdomen. It’s one of the most popular cosmetic procedures because it’s safe, fast, and produces great results. The simple insertion of an instrument known as a cannula dislodges fat and suctions it away from the body. But when should a patient seek liposuction?

You may consider liposuction if you:

  • Want to remove stubborn, hard-to-shift fat
  • Want to achieve a flatter abdominal profile
  • Want a less-invasive body contouring option
  • Don’t have too much excess skin in the area
  • Don’t need muscle repair following pregnancy
  • Want to minimize abdominal scarring
  • Want a shorter post-surgery recovery

Liposuction is an excellent choice for patients who want to achieve a flatter tummy with fat removal alone. The small incisions necessary for the cannula mean that scars are discreet, and there is usually a shorter downtime period. To book a consultation to discuss abdominal liposuction with Dr. Azar, please contact us.

When to Choose a Tummy Tuck

An abdominoplasty involves removing excess skin from the abdomen. Depending on the treatment plan, it may also involve liposuction. The main focus of an abdominoplasty is to restore skin tightness and to repair and strengthen the abdominal wall. The standard procedure for doing so is via a hip-to-hip incision. The surgeon lifts the skin and removes a portion of it with great care. They may also resituate the navel and remove fat deposits via liposuction where required.

You may consider a tummy tuck if you:

  • Have had multiple pregnancies
  • Have unresolved diastasis recti
  • Experience abdominal wall weakness
  • Have a considerable amount of excess abdominal skin
  • Notice your navel’s appearance has changed considerably
  • Are willing to undergo a more involved surgical procedure
  • Are happy with a surgery that will result in a longer scar

The hip-to-hip incision in a tummy tuck is a necessary part of the surgery, but it is very well hidden below the waistband of most clothing. Unsurprisingly, an abdominoplasty may require more downtime than liposuction alone. However, many patients with excess skin and muscle weakness in the area agree that their results are worth the time and effort!

Candidates

Men and women from all walks of life chose aesthetic surgery to achieve a slimmer silhouette. Candidates for abdominal liposuction and abdominoplasty are healthy adults who want to improve their body contour through surgery. Most men and women are good candidates, however, there are a few things that may prevent you from undergoing cosmetic abdominal surgery. These include:

  • Unwillingness to cease nicotine use
  • Bleeding and blood clotting disorders
  • Serious cardiovascular conditions
  • Being 30 lb or more over your ideal weight
  • Having unrealistic expectations
  • Current pregnancy

Personal Consultation

Dr. Kouros Azar meets with every patient to discuss their treatment. Your personal consultation at our Thousand Oaks location will ensure you have enough information to determine whether liposuction or abdominoplasty is best to achieve the results you want. It will involve giving us some details about your health and undergoing an abdominal examination of your skin and fat deposits by Dr. Kouros. He will give you his professional opinion regarding the right treatment and you will work with him closely to develop your treatment plan.

Cost of Liposuction, Tummy Tuck in Thousand Oaks, CA

As every individual has different requirements for aesthetic surgery, the cost of your liposuction or abdominoplasty procedure will vary. Candidates may qualify for financing. Please feel free to discuss this with Dr. Azar at your personal consultation. To book your appointment at Azar Plastic Surgery & Med Spa, call (805) 373-7073 or fill out a simple inquiry form.

Read more about liposuction, tummy tucks, and other cosmetic procedures on our blog!

FAQ

Can Liposuction Help After Pregnancy?

Liposuction for the abdomen, flanks, buttocks, and thighs can be useful to help patients achieve a sleeker silhouette postpartum. Should patients have excess skin or muscle weakness in the abdomen, a tummy tuck may be a more suitable choice, as liposuction can only remove fat.

What Surgery Is Best For Loose Skin In The Tummy?

An abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck procedure, can remove excess skin in the abdomen due to aging, pregnancy, or massive weight loss.

How Long Does Recovery Take After Abdominal Liposuction?

Patients usually need around a week at home following their liposuction procedure, with a further 5-6 weeks to achieve full recovery.

References

  1. Coté TR, Mohan AK, Polder JA, Walton MK, Braun MM. Botulinum toxin type A injections: adverse events reported to the US Food and Drug Administration in therapeutic and cosmetic cases. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2005;53(3):407-415. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2005.06.011
  2. British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. (2016). Botox: Botulinum Toxin Injections.Accessed January 20, 2021. https://patient.info/cosmetic-surgery/cosmetic-facial-injections/botox-botulinum-toxin-injections  

Schedule your Thousand Oaks plastic surgery consultation with Dr. Azar today

Dr. Kouros Azar, founder and medical director of Azar Plastic Surgery and Med Spa, is an attentive listener, a devoted surgeon and doctor, and a highly-skilled biomedical engineer. He matches his patients with the best possible treatments by drawing on his extensive expertise, compassion, and research skills. Make an appointment with Dr. Azar now to discuss your rejuvenation options.

425 Haaland Dr #200, Thousand Oaks, CA 91361

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