Naples Plastic Surgeons Explore Difference Between Tummy Tuck and Liposuction
Liposuction is the fourth most performed cosmetic surgical procedure in America, and abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) comes in sixth, according to the latest statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Most people know that cosmetic surgeons use liposuction to suction stubborn fat deposits from the body that are resistant to diet and exercise. Still, many do not fully understand the dynamics of a tummy tuck.
Patients who consult with the surgeons at Southwest Florida’s Naples Plastic Surgery about slimming and toning their abdominal areas often ask which of the procedures will work best for their desired physiques. Dr. Paul M. Gardner, Dr. Leo M. Baccaro, and Dr. Mark Walsh will explain that while liposuction effectively removes fat from the abdomen, it does not eliminate an oversized paunch caused by excess flab of sagging skin. The tummy tuck can help reduce the paunch and tighten the abdominal walls. This is by removing excess fat and skin of the lower abdomen and tightening the abdominal wall muscles. Another key difference is that the tummy tuck is only for the abdominal region. Doctors can perform liposuction on the hips, buttocks, arms, thighs, and other areas around the body.
The Skinny on Liposuction
Of the two procedures, liposuction is the least invasive and can be performed under local anesthesia. Although, intravenous sedation or general anesthesia may be necessary when extensive suctioning is required. The surgical component of liposuction consists of small incisions made in strategic locations designed to minimize scarring and provide the right amount of fat removal for the area. Doctors insert a thin tube known as a cannula through the incision. As your surgeon gently moves it around to dislodge the fat cells, a vacuum sucks them up through the cannula. The process is repeated in the targeted areas to provide the most natural look to your slimmer abdomen.
Typical liposuction procedures take from one to two hours to complete. After treatment, patients generally experience moderate swelling and bruising for several days. Patients may need to limit their normal daily activities for a week or two and should avoid strenuous activity, including exercise, for at least three weeks. While you might feel well enough to exercise, any restrictions from your surgeon are meant to limit potential complications.
Getting Tight with Tummy Tucks
As a more invasive procedure, doctors perform the tummy tuck with epidural anesthesia and intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia. Abdominoplasty is a distinct surgical procedure that begins with an incision across the lower abdomen, below the bikini line. After the incision, doctors trim away the excess skin and soft tissues. The belly button is repositioned as needed to ensure a natural look. The skin and abdominal muscles are stitched back together in a tighter position.
The procedure generally takes from two – four hours to complete. Patients can return to their homes after the effects of the anesthesia has worn off. Most patients need to take two to three weeks off before returning to work or resuming normal daily activities. Your surgeon will also recommend avoiding strenuous activities and high-impact exercise for six to eight weeks.
What Makes for an Ideal Candidate for Each Procedure?
Although age is not the only factor, patients under the age of 40 tend to experience the best results from liposuction. This is due to having better skin elasticity, while those over 45 generally experience the best results from a tummy tuck. An ideal liposuction candidate is in reasonably good health, is a non-smoker, and does not have excess sagging skin around the abdomen. An ideal tummy tuck candidate is also in reasonably good health, has completed her last pregnancy, is open to a surgical procedure that requires more extensive recovery, and is accepting of the resultant scars.
Many patients make good candidates for a combination tummy tuck with liposuction. In fact, Naples Plastic Surgery often offers abdominoplasty patients the option of receiving free “love Handle” liposuction with their procedure.
Consult with Naples Plastic Surgery About Which Option is Right for You
If you would like to learn more about tummy tuck or liposuction procedures performed at our southwest Florida practice, Dr. Gardner, Dr. Baccaro, or Dr. Walsh would be happy to consult with you and answer any questions. Contact Naples Plastic Surgery today at 239.566.2611 to schedule your initial consultation.