Can I Get a Tummy Tuck with Lipo at the Same Time?

To get the most out of tummy tuck surgery, many patients benefit from a tummy tuck with liposuction. While not everyone needs lipo, adding it to the procedure helps sculpt and shape the tummy for better definition. 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.

What is the difference between a tummy tuck 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 gets rid of fat cells that resists diet and exercise efforts. The tummy tuck portion of the procedure removes excess skin that remains after weight loss or pregnancy. Together, it provides a shapely, sculpted tummy.

Can I just get liposuction?

Yes. Some patients only need to smooth the tummy with liposuction. Removing extra fat on the abdomen has a nice 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 body contouring 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.

The Sculpt Tummy Tuck by Dr. Bernard Beldholm

Doctor Bernard has refined his tummy tuck technique over the last 12+ years as an Australia tummy tuck surgeon. He has developed a sophisticated method known as the Sculpt Tummy Tuck. While a Sculpt Tummy Tuck has many benefits, such as excess skin removal, ab muscle repair, and a tight, toned tummy, it also reduces belly fat with the latest liposuction technology. Known as VASER liposculpture, this is the next-generation of ultrasonic liposuction.

How is the Sculpt Tummy Tuck different from ordinary tummy tucks?

A standard tummy tuck just removes loose skin. It does not involve liposuction. Unfortunately, a lot of surgeons aren’t aware of the benefits of a tummy tuck with lipo. Lipo adds definition to the physique by removing unwanted fat and sculpting the abdomen. A standard tummy tuck means the surgeon is missing the fat, they are missing the sculpting.

A Sculpt Tummy tuck includes skin removal, fat removal, abdominal sculpting, and muscle repair — all in one procedure. This gives patients a real body transformation.

Another difference is the Sculpt Tummy Tuck takes longer in the operating room. Doctor Bernard dedicates two hours to liposuction. Then there are three hours of skin removal. It may take longer, but his tummy tuck results are worth it.

Why is the Sculpt Tummy Tuck better?

The Sculpt Tummy Tuck has more benefits than just skin removal. It makes your body look better. It provides a better result, because more is done to improve the abdominal region during surgery.

Also, the patient is already under anesthesia. That’s one of the most costly parts of a tummy tuck surgery. Add-ons such as liposuction that help refine and reshape the abdomen can make a world of difference, for a small increase in price.

Without liposuction, you may get an inferior tummy tuck that just gets rid of loose skin. Now, loose skin is important, but you also want all those other benefits of a tummy tuck, such as better definition and fat removal. You don’t want to have to go through the operation multiple times to get the right result. That’s why getting a Sculpt Tummy Tuck with VASER lipo is a good idea for many patients.

What is VASER liposculpture?

VASER lipo is form of ultrasonic liposuction. It’s a newer technology that leaves older tumescent liposuction in the dust. 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 to reveal a smooth, lean body shape.

How long does VASER take to perform?

A Sculpt Tummy Tuck 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 to shape 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.

Is it really safe?

If anyone tells you that it’s dangerous to get liposuction with tummy tuck surgery, they have not read the literature and they’re not doing the right tummy tuck for you, in Doctor Bernard’s opinion. Major advancements in the field of plastic surgery have changed the old way of thinking. Now, it is not only safe to have liposuction with tummy tuck surgery, but many surgeons encourage it to patients that can benefit from the extra sculpting, shaping and fat removal it provides.

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. In Doctor Bernard’s medical opinion, refusing to do lipo on the tummy as part of a tummy tuck is pretty old-school. This outdated notion was the thinking many years ago, before we knew it was safe to have lipo with tummy tuck surgery. Yet some surgeons today either aren’t educated about the newer techniques, or aren’t aware that research now shows that it is a safe thing to do.

Skipping lipo may mean you’l need a revision tummy tuck later

You’ll find quite a few surgeons still doing just a bit of liposuction on the sides, avoiding the central tummy area. The tummy was considered the ‘danger zone’ years ago, using older techniques. Unfortunately, some surgeons keep doing things the old way. That leaves some patients unhappy with the results.

Skipping liposuction during a tummy tuck may mean you’ll need a second surgery. This is known as a revision tummy tuck. A revision tummy tuck fixes bad tummy tuck results. Now, some patients think they can just get a little liposuction to remove fat later on. However, if you have a history of loose skin, removing fat can leave the skin deflated and loose again. That’s why a revision tummy tuck is done instead. A revision tummy tuck with Doctor Bernard includes liposuction, if needed.

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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 come in for 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.

You’re on a strict budget

Skipping lipo also means less time in the operating room, which impacts the total cost of tummy tuck surgery. It takes about two hours off the operation time. Surgeons and operating room staff are paid for their time and experience. If cost is a major concern and you are on a strict budget, you can just get the loose skin removed, without adding liposuction. Keep in mind adding liposuction to the procedure isn’t a huge expense, however, and may greatly improve your tummy tuck results. To view Doctor Bernard’s current tummy tuck prices, click here.

Conclusion

It’s considered perfectly safe to have a tummy tuck with liposuction. Getting lipo to remove abdominal fat on the tummy, hips, and sides is a great option as part of an abdominoplasty. Not only is it safe, but it also provides better abdominal definition and skin retraction than older tummy tuck methods that don’t use liposuction. To discuss your options and learn what is in your best interest, schedule a private consultation with Doctor Bernard Beldholm, FRACS today.

References

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.