Tummy tuck (also called abdominoplasty) and liposuction (also known as suction lipectomy, or lipoplasty) are procedures that help hundreds of thousands of Americans achieve their desired body shape every year. In fact, liposuction and tummy tuck occupy the #1 and #4 ranks respectively in the top 5 cosmetic surgical procedures performed in the United States. If you have struggled with stubborn fat deposits in the abdominal area or distributed around your buttocks, hips, thighs, calves, arms, back or neck, and are considering aesthetic surgery to improve your contour, you could benefit from either a tummy tuck or liposuction.
If your body shape has been compromised by pregnancy, genetic laxity, or obesity, and if diet and exercise have not yielded results, your confidence does not have to take a beating. You don’t have to live with love handles and saddlebags. A sculpted body can do wonders for your self-esteem. At Gabbay Plastic Surgery, we understand that you may be feeling overwhelmed and confused with the deluge of information. We offer one-on-one consultations to answer your questions, determine your candidacy, and help you make an informed choice about your body and your health.
Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty Surgery)
Tummy tuck/abdominoplasty surgery is a procedure that flattens your abdominal contour by removing excess fat and tightening the stretched skin and lax muscles of the abdominal wall. Tummy tucks are popular following pregnancy or massive weight loss to improve body shape and to correct a protruding flabby tummy. A tummy tuck includes liposuction, and following the procedure, you can expect to have a flatter and firmer abdomen.
Tummy Tuck Advantages
- Restores a flat tummy.
- Enhances silhouette in clothes and swimwear and gives a more youthful contour to your body.
- Results are permanent barring pregnancy or significant weight gain.
Tummy Tuck Disadvantages
- Leaves a scar in the bikini area.
- Advisable in women who have completed childbearing as subsequent pregnancies may affect surgical results.
- Substantial weight gain following a tummy tuck can negatively impact surgical results.
- Longer recovery time and higher cost compared to liposuction.
Liposuction (Suction Lipectomy/Lipoplasty)
Liposuction/body contouring surgery sculpts your body and eliminates unwanted pockets of fat from typically problematic areas like the buttocks, hips, thighs, flanks, breasts (including men), back, neck, and arms. Liposuction is relatively less invasive and is one of the safest procedures available to get your desired body shape by the removal of excess fat, but without tightening skin. Following liposuction, you can expect to have a smoother and slimmer body shape and the elimination of unsightly bulges.
- Better fitting clothes and a slimmer silhouette to your body.
- Smaller incisions and scars, shorter operating time, faster recovery, and lower cost compared to a tummy tuck.
- Results are permanent barring excessive weight gain, aging, or pregnancy.
- Results may be negatively impacted by pregnancy, weight gain, and aging.
- Does not remove excess loose skin or correct cellulite.
TUMMY TUCK OR LIPOSUCTION – WHICH IS THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR ME?
The procedure you choose will depend on the specific issues you wish to resolve and the outcome you hope to achieve.
If you have a flabby mid-section, stretch marks, or excessive skin in your abdominal area that does not improve with diet and exercise; if the shape of your abdomen has been changed following pregnancy or massive weight loss; if you feel your abdomen protrudes excessively; and if you feel you are in reasonably good shape except your abdominal contour needs correction, then a tummy tuck procedure may be the right choice for you.
If you have tenacious localized fat deposits that are disproportionate to the rest of your body; if you aspire for better definition and a sleeker contour in focused areas; and if you have good skin elasticity, then liposuction may be the right choice for you.
A tummy tuck is appropriate when:
- You want a really flat and smooth tummy.
- You have lost weight with dieting and exercise, but have been unsuccessful in rectifying a sagging and protruding abdomen.
- You have a protruding abdomen due to loose skin and muscle and extra fat.
- You have excess skin and weak abdominal wall muscles due to aging, prior surgeries, hereditary predisposition, pregnancy, or weight fluctuations.
- You are a non-smoker or are willing to give up smoking at least four weeks prior to and after surgery (because smoking greatly delays healing and increases the chances of complications).
- You are finished with childbearing (because the muscles that are repaired and tightened during a tummy tuck can stretch out again and separate with pregnancy).
Liposuction is appropriate when:
- You have good skin elasticity and a minimal amount of excessive skin.
- You have localized stubborn fat pockets in focal areas like your abdomen, arms, neck, or thighs that have been resistant to diet and exercise.
- You want a shorter operation, a smaller scar, and an easier recovery.
- You don’t have abdominal fullness because of a loose muscular abdominal wall
Based on his evaluation of your individual anatomy and your aesthetic goals, Dr. Gabbay may recommend a tummy tuck/abdominoplasty or liposuction/body contouring for the best results. In general, if you are in good physical shape and have realistic expectations combined with a positive attitude and good self-esteem, you are likely a good candidate for either of these procedures.
HOW ARE THE PROCEDURES PERFORMED?
For a tummy tuck procedure, Dr. Gabbay will remove loose abdominal skin and tighten your abdominal muscles with supporting sutures. The primary incision in an abdominoplasty procedure is usually above the pubic mound. After muscle repair has been performed, liposuction or other methods can be used to remove excess fat. Excess skin will then be removed, and the remaining skin redraped. The belly button is replaced to the stretched abdominal skin. Liposuction is performed by making small cuts in your skin and inserting thin tubes called cannulas through these incisions to suction out fat deposits.
WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
Depending on your body shape, your aesthetic desires, your personal preferences, and your medical history, Dr. Gabbay will suggest one of the following options for a tummy tuck surgery:
- Full abdominoplasty with an incision in the lower abdomen extending from hip to hip and an incision around the navel and removal of skin from just above the belly button to the lower abdominal incision. Repair of muscle is from the central rib cage all the way down to the pubic area.
- Mini abdominoplasty with a single incision placed low in the bikini area and removal of skin just above it. The belly button is not moved and the muscle is repaired from the belly button down to the pubic area.
- Extended, high lateral tension, or fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty with longer and higher incisions to address excess skin in the hip/flank area.
For a liposuction procedure, Dr. Gabbay will discuss with you different techniques and their respective pros and cons:
- Suction-assisted liposuction draws out fat with vacuum.
- Power-assisted liposuction is performed with a power tool and is faster.
- Ultrasound-assisted liposuction loosens and melts fat and allows a greater volume of fat to be removed.
- Laser-assisted liposuction is a newer technology that works in a similar fashion to ultrasound.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AT MY INITIAL CONSULTATION?
Successful results often depend on good communication with your surgeon. Dr. Gabbay will give you the opportunity to discuss your aesthetic goals and ask any questions. You may be asked to look in a mirror and point out the areas where you would like to see improvement. Dr. Gabbay’s consultation will include a discussion of your complete medical history including previous surgeries, past and continuing medical conditions, allergies, current medications including vitamins and herbal supplements, and use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. It is important to be frank and honest about your history as well as your motivation and expectations from the surgery, as this may affect your surgical outcome. Dr. Gabbay will complete a comprehensive evaluation and then make recommendations about the type of procedure, anticipated outcomes, potential risks and complications, options of anesthesia, preparation for the surgery, length of stay in hospital, and followup care. His staff will also discuss the financial aspects of the procedure and show you before and after photographs to help you make an appropriate choice.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER THE PROCEDURE?
You will be given detailed preoperative instructions and the estimated length of your surgery. Dr. Gabbay will answer any questions you may have. You should stop smoking at least four weeks prior to surgery, limit alcohol consumption, maintain excellent hydration, and avoid taking aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs that can result in increased bleeding. Several variables like medical conditions and the amount of surgery undertaken will determine features of your recovery. Dr. Gabbay will provide you with detailed instructions about postsurgical care of wounds and drains, the expected normal symptoms, and the potential signs of complications that you should be aware of. You should expect to be sore and will require bed rest for several days following a tummy tuck. Tight compressive garments will need to be worn following liposuction. You should also expect some pain, redness, and swelling at the surgical sites. Most people can return to exercising 3-4 weeks following a tummy tuck. Like all surgical procedures, these procedures do carry some degree of risk, but significant complications are infrequent.
Dr. Gabbay’s extensive experience with tummy tucks and liposuction will help you make an informed choice, and he will make your surgical experience as easy and comfortable as possible. Whether you decide on a tummy tuck/abdominoplasty or liposuction/body contouring surgery as the right choice for you, Dr. Gabbay and his staff are devoted to restoring your confidence and enhancing the appearance and contour of your body, while upholding the highest standards in aesthetic plastic surgery.