Do I need Liposuction or a Tummy Tuck?

Many people have questions about liposuction and tummy tucks. They tend to be confused about the differences between these procedures and have questions about which is the best option for them. So let’s talk about these two, very different, procedures. We will review what each procedure really treats, and how to figure out which one is best for you.

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction is the removal of fat from anywhere on your body. During liposuction, a special tool called a cannula is inserted under the skin through tiny incisions and then connected to a suction pump. The suction helps to remove fat cells from under the skin in the area you are concerned about. This procedure is specific for removal of fat. It does not do anything to directly improve skin, although some skin tightening can occur naturally over several months after liposuction. The scars are small and, when done properly, are usually very well hidden. Small areas of liposuction can be performed using only local anesthesia, while larger areas will require general anesthesia. The amount of fat that can be removed in a single procedure will vary by state. We consider liposuction to be a body-shaping procedure, not a weight loss procedure and requires a different way of healing.

What is a Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty?

A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is procedure that addresses multiple aspects of the abdomen. It removes the excess skin of the abdomen and tightens the underlying abdominal muscles that have become separated from weight changes or pregnancies.  Relocation of the belly button is also a part of a tummy tuck. The belly button is brought through a new opening in the abdominal skin. Often, liposuction is performed as part of a tummy tuck to help improve the results by helping to shape the sides. Because skin is removed during a tummy tuck, there is a resulting scar. This scar can be hip-to-hip, depending on the amount of skin removed, and is placed beneath the underwear or bikini line. A tummy tuck can take 2-3 hours and requires general anesthesia administered in a properly accredited operating facility.

How to Decide if a Tummy Tuck or Liposuction is Right for You?

Deciding which procedure is right for you will depend on your specific complaints. If you are someone with tight skin but complains of excess fat, then liposuction is probably the right procedure for you. Liposuction can be performed on those specific areas that you want smaller. It is a terrific procedure for people who are in good shape and near their ideal body weight, but who have “problem areas” where there is fat that is resistant to diet and exercise. For men, these “problem areas” are commonly the chest, abdomen and flanks. For women, it is commonly the abdomen and thighs. Liposuction can be done on any other area of the body.

However, if you have hanging skin of your belly with stretch marks, then you will require removal of the skin. Also, if you have separation of your abdominal muscles, called a diasthasis, then you will require muscle tightening. Abdominal muscle separation usually occurs after pregnancy or changes in weight. Removal of the skin and tightening of the muscles can only be accomplished with a tummy tuck. Liposuction will NOT help these problems.

In general, younger patients with good skin quality, will do well with liposuction. If your skin is loose, or has a lot of stretch marks, then liposuction may actually make the appearance worse, since removing the fat will make the skin even looser.  This means that people who have had frequent or significant weight fluctuations, will usually require skin removal. If you have lost a lot of weight, then it is likely that your skin is hanging and the only way to make it better is to cut it off with a tummy tuck.  If you are a mommy and have had multiple pregnancies, it is likely that your skin has been stretched and is now loose. Also, pregnancy causes abdominal muscle separation. For these reasons, a tummy tuck is usually the solution for the typical “mommy belly”. Additionally, if you are older, your skin has likely lost some of its elastic properties and collagen. In these situations, the skin will not tighten after liposuction, and the appearance can be made worse unless the skin is removed.

If you have extra fat, then liposuction may be for you. If you have extra skin or separated abdominal muscles, you will likely need a tummy tuck.

Let Your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Decide for You!

So, liposuction is a very different procedure than a tummy tuck. Your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon will be able to examine you and help you understand which is the better option for you. The recovery for a tummy tuck is harder and longer than liposuction, but it may be the best option for you. I would strongly recommend that if you need a tummy tuck, do not choose liposuction since it will only make your problem worse and you will need a tummy tuck even more.

Contact Schulman Plastic Surgery to Book Your Plastic Surgery Procedure.

Contact New York City Plastic Surgeon Matthew Schulman, M.D. today and schedule your procedure.

To Keep The Weight Off, Shed Your Old Skin

You have been successful in your quest to drop a lot of unhealthy weight you had been carrying around. Great job! But, one thing may be left hanging (excuse the pun!) — unattractive loose skin.

Plastic surgery to reshape and tighten your new body can give a tremendous boost to your appearance and your confidence — and, studies show it can also help you keep the weight off.

Tummy Tuck New York CityResearchers from Henry Ford Hospital — who presented their findings at the annual conference of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons — discovered that formerly obese patients who lost massive amounts of weight after bariatric surgery were much more likely to maintain their weight loss if they had follow-up body contouring procedures.

“Bariatric surgery has a measurably significant positive impact on patient illness and death,” explained Dr. Donna Tepper, senior author of the study. “However, even with the technical and safety advancements we’ve seen in these procedures, their long-term success may still be limited by recidivism. There is a high incidence of patients who regain weight after the surgery.”

The study tracked the results of 94 patients who had bariatric surgery at Henry Ford from 2003 to 2013 — 47 of whom followed their weight loss with body contouring procedures. The researchers recorded each patient’s Body Mass Index (BMI): a weight-to-height ratio used to determine degrees of obesity.

In the patients who underwent contouring surgery, their BMI decreased an average of 18.24 at 2.5 years after the procedure. In those who did not, the change in BMI dropped just 12.45.

“As plastic and reconstructive surgeons, we are encouraged by the idea that improved body image can translate into better long-term maintenance of a healthier weight, and possibly a better quality of life for our patients,” Dr. Tepper said.

For weight-loss patients, Dr. Schulman Plastic Surgery offers a wide range of procedures to remove the excess skin and tissue left over from your formerly overweight body, including facelift, neck lift, arm lift, breast lift, thigh lift, tummy tuck / Smooth tuck, SCOOP Lift buttock contouring and Brazilian Butt Lift in New York City.

Examples of some of Dr. Matthew Schulman‘s many satisfied clients can be viewed in our lower body lift before-and-after photos and upper body lift before-and-after photos.

Contact Dr. Schulman Plastic Surgery to find out how we can help you put the finishing touches on your new body.

Mommy Makeover Options for Kim Kardashian

The body goes through significant changes during pregnancy and breast feeding. These include weight gain, stretching of skin, development of stretch marks, enlargement (and then shrinking) of breast tissue, and breast drooping. Women many also complain of weight gain in other areas of their body such as thighs, arms, and back. While weight loss and exercise will help to improve some of these issues, many of these changes that occur after pregnancy are resistant to diet and exercise. Continue reading “Mommy Makeover Options for Kim Kardashian”

Tummy Tuck after Pregnancy

Tori Spelling recently gave birth to her fourth child and unfortunately was re-hospitalized shortly after for complications resulting from her c-section. Rumors began flying that the real reason for her hospitalization was to have a “secret tummy tuck” according to a “friend” and reported by multiple online sites. Tori and her reps deny this story completely, although she did admit that she would like to have a tummy tuck at some point to regain her pre-pregnancy belly. Continue reading “Tummy Tuck after Pregnancy”

New Plastic Surgery Techniques in New York City

As a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, I am always looking for the latest advances in cosmetic plastic surgery. Techniques and Technologies are constantly evolving. Many of these new methods are really nothing new, but every once in a while something really exciting comes along that allows me to offer my patients better results with less pain, recovery, and scarring. There have been a few of these advances that I am really excited about. These include Smooth Tuck®, Keller Funnel™, and PermaLip™.

Continue reading “New Plastic Surgery Techniques in New York City”

Liposuction & Tummy Tucks are not Interchangeable NYC

Everyday I see patients requesting liposuction, but what they really need is a Tummy Tuck. These are excellent procedures but are not interchangeable. You need to understand these two procedures in order to know which is better for you. Continue reading “Liposuction & Tummy Tucks are not Interchangeable NYC”

Tummy Tuck vs Liposuction

Many patients are unhappy with the appearance of their abdomen.  They may complain about the extra fat, the loose skin, the lack of tightness, or the presence of stretch marks.  It is important to understand the difference between a Tummy Tuck, or abdominoplasty, and Liposuction in order to decide which is most appropriate.

Liposuction involves the removal of fat with the help of a suction device through very small incisions.  Any volume of fat can be removed – from large volume to just small amount in the problem areas.  After the fat is removed, the skin will generally tighten to accommodate your now slimmer body.  The amount that your skin can tighten depends on several factors: the amount of fat removed, the area it is removed from, and the quality of your skin. 

Liposuction is used specifically to remove fat and improve the overall shape of your body. When performed on your abdomen, liposuction can result in a tighter upper and lower abdomen and flanks, with very small and hidden incisions. Liposuction will not do much to improve your skin. This means that if you have hanging skin, or pannus, liposuction may make this appear worse. Also, if you have abdominal wall laxity because of loss of muscle tone, liposuction will do nothing to help this. Lastly, if you are complaining of stretch marks, liposuction will not eliminate this and may in fact make it look worse.

A Tummy Tuck in New York, or abdominoplasty, is a larger operation but has a significantly greater impact on the appearance of your abdomen. A Tummy Tuck will remove the excess or hanging skin, remove stretch marks, and remove excess fat.  It also involves tightening of the underlying abdominal muscles that become loose with age, after pregnancy, or changes in weight. Tightening the muscles is the most powerful way of giving you a flatter, tighter abdomen.

Your board certified plastic surgeon will be able to examine you and tell you if liposuction or a tummy tuck is best for you.  Oftentimes, the two are combined in order to give you the best improvement in the contour of your abdomen.  Keep in mind that the recovery from a Tummy Tuck is greater than the necessary recovery from a Tummy Tuck. This may also factor into your decision between these two popular procedures.