A tummy tuck is more involved than liposuction, addressing multiple concerns in one procedure. A tummy tuck removes excess skin on your abdomen, repairs weakened or separated abdominal muscles, and reduces excess fat. Liposuction is a less extensive procedure, permanently eliminating stubborn fat in specific areas of your body.
During a tummy tuck, your plastic surgeon creates a long incision on your lower abdomen to remove excess skin, tighten the remaining skin, repair lax ab muscles, and reshape the bellybutton area. Tummy tuck recovery takes up to 6 weeks, although you can usually return to work after the first 2 to 3 weeks. For liposuction, your surgeon makes a small incision to insert a thin cannula, which suctions fatty tissue from your abdomen or other areas of excess fat. Most people can return to work about a week after their liposuction procedure.
Although both tummy tuck and liposuction contour your body, they are not weight loss procedures. You should be near your goal weight before considering either procedure.
When trying to choose between liposuction and tummy tuck surgery, you should consider the issues you want to improve on your abdomen. If you only want to remove stubborn fat on your lower belly (“belly pooch”) or flanks, liposuction is often the better option as it requires less downtime. If you have other concerns, such as sagging skin, stretch marks below your bellybutton, or lax muscles due to pregnancy or weight loss, a tummy tuck is usually the best choice.