Do I Need Liposuction or Abdominoplasty?

Woman using measuring tape on her hips

This is a question I encounter quite frequently. Women and men often come to my office in Scottsdale for liposuction thinking that it will help to correct their protruding belly. Liposuction is a far more common procedure than abdominoplasty, so it makes sense that people are more familiar with this option. And, frankly, liposuction has a much shorter surgical and recovery time than abdominoplasty, so naturally it can be a very appealing choice.

If the patient has excess, stretched skin, liposuction may actually make the midsection look worse. Instead, a tummy tuck removes the skin and in some cases stretch marks. Often when a person has a bulging tummy, the underlying muscles have separated – either from pregnancy or excess weight – and this diastasis needs to be surgically repaired. Liposuction is simply not the right treatment for a person with abdominal wall muscle laxity and excess skin. It can, however, improve the results of a tummy tuck by contouring the waist, abdomen and flanks.

Liposuction alone may be a good option for people who have good skin and muscle tone, but have a protruding belly caused by stubborn, isolated fat alone. In patients such as these, liposuction can reduce love handles, flatten a bulging abdomen, and sculpt the waist for a more pleasing body shape.

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