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What is the difference between liposuction and a tummy tuck?

Liposuction and a tummy tuck are both great ways to improve the aesthetics of the abdomen, leaving it looking flatter, fitter and tighter.

But despite both treatments targeting this area, they are both very different, tackling different abdominal issues.

What is liposuction?

Liposuction, commonly known as lipo, is a quick and safe surgical procedure to remove unwanted or stubborn areas of body fat, creating a more contoured shape. 

Liposuction uses vibrations or high pressure water jets to break up the fat cells, before a cannula is inserted into the treatment area. A vacuum machine is used to loosen and suck out the fat. The upper and lower parts of the stomach can be treated individually if required. Lipo is a great way of removing stubborn fat between the tummy button and ribs and eliminating a ‘muffin top’. Liposuction works best on patients who are a healthy weight with supple skin and tight abdominal muscles.

Although liposuction works wonders at ridding the abdomen of fatty deposits, the treatment does not treat issues with the stomach muscles or skin.

Read more about liposuction

What is a tummy tuck?

A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is concerned with the removal of excess, sagging skin and the tightening of the abdominal muscles.

Surplus slack skin is a common complaint following significant weight loss. Excess fat causes the skin to stretch and when the fat is lost through diet or exercise, the skin is unable to shrink back to its original state. This problem gets worse as we age as our body’s collagen production slows right down, meaning the skin loses the elasticity of youth, leading to wrinkles and sagging. In older people, even a small amount of weight loss can leave behind excess skin around the abdomen. 

Tummy tuck surgery is particularly popular with women who have been through pregnancy and had C-sections, which commonly result in excess skin and weakened stomach muscles. Abdominoplasty effectively tightens tummy muscles and is an effective treatment for diastasis recti, the separation of the stomach muscles which occurs during pregnancy. Sometimes a tummy tuck can help with the appearance of stretch marks, as these are often removed along with the excess skin. 

Read more about tummy tuck

Can lipo and a tummy tuck be combined?

Liposuction can be carried out alongside a tummy tuck if appropriate. Your surgeon will be able to advise whether you are a suitable candidate for both treatments.

Both of these treatments can also be combined with other surgical procedures. Liposuction on the stomach can be carried out alongside lipo on other parts of the body. A tummy tuck is an important component of a Mummy Makeover, which also includes breast uplift surgery and vaginal rejuvenation, and acts to restore a woman’s body to its pre-childbirth state.

Although lipo and abdominoplasty are common cosmetic treatments for women, they can also be performed on men. 

A tummy tuck can be completed in one procedure, whereas sometimes it can take several sessions of liposuction in order to achieve the desired results. Both treatments, like any other surgical procedure, come with the potential for complications. Abdominoplasty carries more complication risks than other cosmetic surgeries. Your surgeon would discuss any potential risks with you at your initial consultation.

Are liposuction and tummy tuck results permanent?

Abdominoplasty and liposuction produce permanent results, but you must ensure you adhere to a healthy lifestyle in order to enjoy the full results of your surgery for many years to come.

When you have recovered enough from your tummy tuck, it is important to focus on exercises that target the core muscles to strengthen your abdomen. This can include stretches, knee rolls and pelvic floor exercises. Daily aerobic exercises which stretch the whole body, such as brisk walking, jogging or cycling, will also help. 

You should aim to eat a healthy diet and avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking.

If you gain a large amount of weight after your procedure, this will compromise the results of your liposuction or tummy tuck surgery.

Tummy tucks and liposuction are not a means of weight loss and should only be performed on people who are already a healthy weight. Women who are planning on having more children should wait until their family is completed before undergoing abdominoplasty. This is because another pregnancy will stretch the skin and abdominal muscles again, therefore undoing any benefits from a previous tummy tuck.

What techniques are used in lipo and abdominoplasty?

Here at the Cadogan Clinic, we use different abdominoplasty and liposuction techniques depending on the size and shape of your body and what you hope to achieve through the surgery.

In terms of tummy tuck surgery, we offer the following here at the clinic: Brazilian abdominoplasty, mini tummy tuck, Caesar correction (ccs), the minimally invasive abdominoplasty or reduction, the fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty, an apronectomy, the extended abdominal reduction, the body lift and endoscopic tummy tuck. The full tummy tuck, or abdominal reduction, is now obsolete and is not offered at the clinic.

In terms of liposuction, we use the following methods: traditional liposuction, microliposuction, smart liposuction or laser-assisted liposuction, power assisted liposuction, water liposuction and Cellulaze. We do not offer Vaser at the Cadogan Clinic given the very limited outcomes possible via this technique.

Book an appointment with one of our expert surgeons here at the Cadogan Clinic and find out how we can help you reach your body goals.

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