Liposuction is an elective outpatient surgery to remove fat cells with suction cannulas through small incisions the size of a pencil eraser. A numbing solution, called tumescent, is injected into the desired area before removing the fat.
An abdominoplasty is an elective outpatient surgery to excise or remove excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen as well as tighten the core muscles, called the rectus abdominis muscles.
There are multiple factors considered when determining if a patient would benefit more from abdominal liposuction or an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). If a patient has excess skin (usually from pregnancy or weight loss) that has lost its elasticity, this patient is more of a candidate for an abdominoplasty as it will remove unwanted skin. Since liposuction just removes the fat cells under the skin, not the skin itself, if a patient has poor skin quality (e.g. stretch marks) it may not recoil fully after liposuction surgery. Liposuction is often used in conjunction with an abdominoplasty to further shape/contour the abdomen and “de-bulk” any of the excess fat from the upper abdomen or flanks. Liposuction is reserved for those patients with good skin quality/elastin, not an excessive amount of loose skin or fat, and for areas that are often resistant to diet/exercise.
Determining whether you are a candidate for liposuction or abdominoplasty incorporates many factors. Here at Florida Plastic Surgery Group we will take your unique patient profile and consider fully to determine the best surgical plan for you to optimize your results.