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Tummy Tuck vs Liposuction: Which is Better?

Medically reviewed by Mr. Omar Tillo MD, MS, EBOPRAS, FRCS (Plast)

Tummy tucks and liposuction in the abdomen are both cosmetic procedures that can help sculpt the abdomen. In this article, we will discuss both treatment options so you can assess if tummy tuck or liposuction may be the best fit for you. 

Tummy Tuck

Liposuction
Target AreaFull AbdomenAny area of the body with excess fat tissue
Muscle RepairYesNo
RemovesExcess skin
Any fat tissue attached to skin only
Fat tissue only
AnaestheticGeneral or SedationGeneral or sedation
ScarringMore significant scarring
Varies depending on the type of tummy tuck
Smaller incisions, less significant scarring
Full Recovery12 weeks
Recommence activities including strenuous exercise after 6 weeks (12 weeks for ab exercises)
12 weeks
Recommence activities including strenuous exercise after 2-3 weeks
Results6-12 months12 weeks
LongevityPermanentPermanent
PriceFrom £8,900From £4,500

Tummy Tuck

An abdominoplasty, commonly referred to as a tummy tuck, is a cosmetic procedure that creates a flatter stomach area by removing sagging skin. Fat attached to this excess skin is also removed, and liposuction can be integrated to remove additional fat tissue. During a full tummy tuck, the abdominal muscles are also tightened.

Procedure

During a tummy tuck, incisions are made around the abdomen under general anaesthesia or deep sedation. The sagging skin is then removed, and the abdominal muscles are tightened. Finally, the remaining skin is repositioned to create a flatter stomach.

Types

There are several variations of tummy tuck procedures, each with varying degrees of invasiveness. A standard full abdominoplasty is the most invasive and best suits patients with moderate-to-severe skin laxity. In this surgical procedure, incisions are made around the lower abdomen and belly button, which allows the surgeon to both tighten the sagging skin and repair muscle separation. After this, the belly button is repositioned to create a natural-looking finish. 

A mini tummy tuck is less invasive and is more suitable for patients with less skin laxity. A smaller, single incision is made along the bikini line, and excess skin is removed. However, unlike the full version, it doesn’t involve the removal of loose skin above the navel or muscle repair. 

Abdominoplasty can also be extended to cover the lower flanks, commonly known as love handles. An extended tummy tuck is similar to the full version with abdominal skin tightening and muscle repair. Therefore, this surgery also produces a lower back lift, providing a more toned lower body. However, it involves a larger incision, and therefore a larger tummy tuck scar, along the sides of the body to the flanks. 

A fleur-de-lis tummy tuck is another variation of the procedure and can be carried out on patients who have significant loose skin as a result of weight loss from bariatric surgery, such as a gastric bypass. Larger incisions are made across the entire circumference of the bikini line and along the vertical midline of the abdomen. This allows the surgeon to remove vertical skin excess and tighten the muscles.

Before and After

Tummy Tuck Cost

A mini tummy tuck at the CREO Clinic starts at £8,900. The cost of a standard abdominoplasty starts from £10,900. The cost varies depending on the complexity of your procedure. You will be given an exact price following a 1-to-1 consultation with our cosmetic surgeon.

Recovery

Side effects including swelling, bruising, and discomfort in the abdominal area are common but should dissipate over time. In general, it takes around 1-2 weeks for patients to be able to resume most daily activities, including a return to work, and full recovery is usually reached by 12 weeks after surgery. Your surgeon will also arrange two follow-up appointments to monitor your progress.

Results

Following surgery, your stomach will immediately appear flatter and tighter. However, you will likely have some swelling after your tummy tuck as your body recovers. The final results will only become apparent after swelling has completely subsided, which can take up to 6-12 months. After this, you will be able to get the full effect of your newly contoured and flat stomach.

Liposuction

Liposuction, or suction-assisted lipectomy, is a cosmetic surgery where excess fat is removed to sculpt and define a particular region of the body.

Procedure

After sedation or anaesthetic is administered, your surgeon will mark the areas to be treated. After this, a suction cannula is inserted into the targeted area via a small incision. A liposuction device is then used to break up and remove excess fat tissue, after which the incisions can be closed.

At the CREO Clinic, our surgeon is skilled in a range of liposuction technologies, including PAL (Power-Assisted Liposuction), Vaser (ultrasound-assisted liposuction), and BodyTite (radiofrequency-assisted liposuction). Each of these has its own unique procedure and benefits. For example, PAL is able to remove large amounts of fat, Vaser is useful for contouring areas with stubborn fat, and BodyTite is best for removing smaller amounts of fat and tightening the skin.

Before and After

Liposuction Cost

The price of liposuction at the CREO Clinic for one large area of the body, such as the upper or lower abdomen, starts from £4,500. This includes any anaesthetics used, the surgeon’s fees, nurses’ fees, use of the surgical facility, compression garments, and three follow-up appointments.

The exact cost of liposuction is dependent on the number of areas treated as well as the surgical complexity of the procedure. You will receive a comprehensive price breakdown following a consultation with our cosmetic surgeon.

Recovery

Your road to recovery from liposuction depends on a range of factors. The surgeon will provide you with detailed aftercare instructions as well as any required prescription pain relief. You will be required to wear a compression garment over your abdomen as you heal, which will help to reduce swelling and further contour the stomach. In addition, your surgeon will monitor your progress closely to ensure the smoothest possible recovery process.

Results

Liposuction immediately removes the excess fat from the area and, in doing so, will noticeably flatten the abdominal region. The final results will only become apparent once the swelling subsides, which can take up to 12 weeks. After this, you will be able to enjoy a flatter, more contoured abdomen to full effect.

Ideal Candidates for Tummy Tuck

Our cosmetic surgeon will perform a thorough assessment to decide whether a tummy tuck is the most suitable treatment for you. Patients with a BMI lower than 30 seeking to contour and flatten their abdomen, who are in good health and don’t smoke, are ideal candidates for a tummy tuck. Patients are advised to reach their ideal weight prior to undergoing this procedure, and women should wait until after their final pregnancy.

Ideal Candidates for Liposuction

The ideal candidate for liposuction are adults within 30% of their ideal weight who have firm skin and good muscle tone. Patients should be in good health and should be able to give up smoking to ensure a smooth recovery.

Combining Tummy Tuck and Liposuction (Lipoabdominoplasty)

A tummy tuck can be combined with liposuction as a comprehensive treatment for the abdominal area. This is called lipoabdominoplasty. It is ideal for patients looking to both remove excess skin and large pockets of fat as well as strengthen the abdominal muscles.

Benefits

Lipoabdominoplasty benefits from targeting excess skin that can be left behind after liposuction. The excess skin is removed and tightened to create an enhanced abdominal area with more tone definition.

Procedure

The lipoabdominoplasty combines the surgical techniques used in a tummy tuck with liposuction. The surgeon first uses liposuction to remove the maximum amount of fat from the area. After this, an incision is made along the bikini line to remove excess skin and tighten the abdominal muscles. The skin is then replaced, and, in some cases, the belly button is repositioned for a natural-looking finish.

Before and After

Cost

The price of lipoabdominoplasty at the CREO Clinic starts at £13,900. The exact cost breakdown varies from patient to patient and is dependent on the complexity of the surgical techniques used. You will receive a precise cost following a 1-to-1 consultation with our cosmetic surgeon Dr Omar Tillo.

Recovery

Your surgeon will provide you with comprehensive, tailored aftercare along with any pain medication you may need to make your recovery as comfortable as possible. You will also be booked in for two follow-up appointments for 1 week and 6 weeks after surgery to monitor your progress. Whilst recovering, you will be required to wear a compression garment that will help to further contour your abdomen and promote healing.

Results

You will be able to see a noticeable difference immediately after your lipoabdominoplasty as the excess tissues will be gone, resulting in a flatter stomach. However, you won’t be able to get the full effect of your surgery until the swelling has completely subsided, which can take up to 6-12 months.

Schedule a Consultation with CREO Clinic Today

If you are considering cosmetic surgery to enhance your abdomen, a tummy tuck, liposuction, or a combination may be suitable for you. At the CREO Clinic, our double-board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Omar Tillo specialises in body contouring and has both the clinical knowledge and artistic expertise to craft the best results. Contact us today to arrange a 1-to-1 consultation and find out how these procedures can be tailored to you and your tummy’s needs.

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