Question: How do I know if I need liposuction or a tummy tuck, or both?
Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Kenkel answers:
This is a great question and one we frequently answer when we see patients for evaluation. There are 4 things that can give you fullness in the abdominal / tummy area:
- #1 — FAT – Fat can be treated a number of different ways, including liposuction, CoolSculpting®, and as part of a tummy tuck. We often treat the areas of the posterior hips or flanks when considering treatment of the abdomen so a circumferential reduction can be accomplished.
- #2 — LOOSE SKIN – We have fewer options for this. In my experience, nonsurgical skin tightening has not been a good option for women with loose skin and stretch marks. A tummy tuck addresses this. The length of the incision is proportionate to how much loose skin you have. The skin excisional pattern is designed low on the abdomen so it is well concealed in bathing suits and clothing
- #3 –DIASTASIS – With weight changes or during pregnancy, the abdominal rectus muscles (which help you flex your hips) can become separated, creating a “pouch” in the center. The only way to improve this is with surgery where we tighten up the layers overlying the muscles to correct this.
- #4 –INTRA-ABDOMINAL FAT – This is the fat that inside your tummy and helps insulate and protect your internal organs. This fat is active in hormone production and is responsive to diet and exercise.
Based on our assessment of the above items and the goals of our patients, we can recommend certain procedures to help improve your body’s contour. Liposuction is a procedure to address fat. It will not help or improve loose skin. All tummy tucks are not alike, and there is variability in how long the incision will be, how much fat and skin will be removed, and how much repair is needed to the abdominal wall.