To get the most out of tummy tuck surgery, many patients benefit from a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) with liposuction. While not everyone needs lipo, adding it to the procedure helps remove fat. Yet some surgeons are still hesitant to do a tummy tuck and liposuction at the same time. While it wasn’t considered safe in the past, modern advancements in surgery have made it both safe and effective today.
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What is the difference between an Abdominoplasty and liposuction?
A tummy tuck is a cosmetic surgery that removes loose abdominal skin. It’s most often used for patients that have hanging skin folds after pregnancy or weight loss. A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) focuses on removing excess skin. While some fat may be attached to the skin that’s removed, it’s not a weight-loss procedure. A tummy tuck works by cutting away the extra skin, then stitching the tummy closed so the abdomen has a nice, tight appearance.
Liposuction is the surgical removal of fat. Fat often builds up on the abdomen. Stubborn belly fat is hard to remove, but it can be reduced with proper diet and exercise. For fat bulges that remain despite a healthy lifestyle, liposuction is ideal. There are many types of liposuction, but they all have the same result: Fat cells are removed with suction leaving the patient with a lean figure, free of stubborn fat pockets.
What is a tummy tuck with lipo?
A tummy tuck and lipo can be performed at the same time. This provides two benefits in one. The liposuction part of the procedure removes fat cells that resist diet and exercise efforts. The tummy tuck portion of the procedure removes excess skin that remains after weight loss or pregnancy.
Can I just get liposuction?
Yes. Some patients only need to remove fat from the tummy with liposuction. Removing extra fat on the abdomen has a slimming effect. However, liposuction won’t tighten skin. Patients that have loose skin on the abdomen really need a tummy tuck. If you have both loose skin and fat rolls, then a tummy tuck with lipo is for you.
Then there are patients that have excess fat, but no loose skin. Some patients are good candidates for liposuction alone. However, people with poor skin elasticity — which decreases after age 30 — may end up with loose skin after the underlying fat is removed with liposuction.
If the skin is lax and a lot of fat is removed in someone over age 30, there’s a good chance the skin will look loose and deflated once the fat is gone. This is particularly true of abdominal skin, which tends to be loosest. Therefore, some patients may need skin removal surgery in addition to liposuction. Luckily, this can all be done during the same surgery.
Not sure which is right for you? Book a private consultation
If you’re not sure which is right for you, Doctor Bernard Beldholm, FRACS is pleased to help. As an Australia specialist surgeon, he has performed thousands of tummy tuck and liposuction procedures over the years. He specializes in helping women and men get their body back after pregnancy or major weight loss. Whether you need a tummy tuck, liposuction, or a combined procedure like a mummy makeover, he can help.
Doctor Bernard has refined his tummy tuck technique over the last 12+ years. While a Lipo-abdominoplasty has many benefits, such as excess skin removal, ab muscle repair, and a tight, toned tummy, it also reduces belly fat with VASER liposuction.
How is the Lipo-abdominoplasty different from a standard abdominoplasty?
A standard tummy tuck just removes loose skin. It does not involve liposuction. Lipo adds definition to the physique by removing unwanted fat on the abdomen. A standard tummy tuck means the surgeon is missing the fat.
A Lipo-abdominoplasty includes skin removal, fat removal, and muscle repair — all in one procedure. This gives patients a real body transformation.
Another difference is the Lipo-abdominoplasty takes longer in the operating room. Doctor Bernard dedicates two hours to liposuction. Then there are three hours of skin removal.
What is VASER liposuction?
VASER lipo is form of ultrasonic liposuction. Doctor Bernard has been using it for years and noticed a huge difference in the results firsthand. The VASER devices vibrates at a high frequency to melt fat cells. It oscillates up to 36,000 times per second. This gently breaks down the fat, causing less tissue trauma than manual liposuction. Then, the fat is gently suctioned away.
How long does VASER take to perform?
A Lipo-abdominoplasty takes about five hours in the operating room. A big part of that time is devoted to defining the abdomen and fat removal with VASER lipo. It takes about two hours to perform the fat reduction part of the procedure. The rest of the tummy tuck focuses on loose skin removal and abdominal muscle repair, and repositioning the belly button if needed.
What body parts can have VASER done?
VASER liposuction can be performed on nearly any body part that has extra fat. It’s often used on the tummy, but can also be done on the love handles, sides, back fat, bra rolls, saddlebags, arm fat, inner thigh bulge, and more. Doctor Bernard customizes the procedure to your needs.
Is it safe to get a tummy tuck with lipo at the same time?
Yes, it is safe, according to current medical research. Adding lipo to tummy tuck surgery achieves better fat reduction and skin retraction. (1,2,3) Research also shows that abdominoplasty with liposuction reduces the risk of tummy tuck complications by limiting dissection.(1,2,3) It wasn’t always this way, however. In the past, it was considered unsafe to have a tummy tuck with lipo at the same time. This is outdated thinking, according to Doctor Bernard.
My surgeon says they’ll only do lipo on my sides, but not my tummy. Is this okay?
Each surgeon has their own way of doing things. However the latest research shows that it is safe to perform liposuction on the abdomen with a tummy tuck.
Who should NOT get liposuction with tummy tuck surgery
Doctor Bernard customizes the surgery to each patient’s needs. He is not one to push unnecessary services on his patients. Not everyone needs or wants liposuction as part of a tummy tuck. There are several reasons for this.
You have loose skin, but no extra fat
Many tummy tuck patients undergo surgery to get rid of loose belly skin after weight loss or pregnancy. However, lean women that had a past pregnancy may have excess skin alone, without excess fat. They might not need liposuction. In this case, Doctor Bernard may perform a tummy tuck without lipo fat removal.
It’s generally considered safe to have a tummy tuck with liposuction, although complications are possible with any surgery. Getting lipo to remove abdominal fat on the tummy, hips, and sides is a great option as part of an abdominoplasty. It also may provide better abdominal definition and skin retraction than older tummy tuck methods that don’t use liposuction. To discuss your options, schedule a private consultation with Doctor Bernard Beldholm, FRACS today.
- Smith, Lane F., and Lane F. Smith. “Safely Combining Abdominoplasty with Aggressive Abdominal Liposuction Based on Perforator Vessels.” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, vol. 135, no. 5, 2015, pp. 1357–1366., doi:10.1097/prs.0000000000001200.
- Sozer, Sadri Ozan, et al. “Abdominoplasty with Circumferential Liposuction.” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, vol. 142, no. 4, 2018, pp. 891–901., doi:10.1097/prs.0000000000004819.
- Vieira, Brittany L., et al. “Is There a Limit? A Risk Assessment Model of Liposuction and Lipoaspirate Volume on Complications in Abdominoplasty.” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, vol. 141, no. 4, 2018, pp. 892–901., doi:10.1097/prs.0000000000004212.