Tummy Tuck vs. Lipo: What’s Better for a Flabby Stomach?

One of the chief complaints among Dr. Dennis Bucko’s San Diego cosmetic surgery patients is a flabby stomach. No matter how carefully someone eats or how much they exercise, it can be difficult to spot-tone, spot-reduce fat or tighten the skin of a soft or sagging abdomen. Factors like pregnancy, aging, genetics and weight fluctuation can make changes impossible without surgery.

How to treat a flabby stomach often comes down to a discussion about the merits of tummy tuck versus liposuction. Here, Dr. Bucko explains some of the variables that determine whether tummy tuck or liposuction is more appropriate.

When Tummy Tuck Is More Appropriate

Abdominoplasty or “tummy tuck” is normally recommended to individuals with multiple cosmetic concerns about the abdominal area — namely unwanted fat, loose or sagging skin and weak or damaged muscles. In many cases, this is because of multiple pregnancies or significant weight loss, which requires addressing all of these problems.

The tummy tuck procedure includes steps designed to target each of these three problems. Unwanted fat is removed from the abdomen by liposculpture. Loose or sagging skin is removed to tighten remaining skin. Weak or damaged muscles are repaired by being brought together and stitched into place. This can often be done without a belly button scar (Modified Abdominoplasty). The result is a firmer and flatter abdomen.

When Liposuction Is More Appropriate

Generally, liposuction alone is the more appropriate treatment option for individuals whose cosmetic concerns are limited to abdominal fat. Ideally, liposuction candidates should have little to no skin laxity, intact abdominal muscles or accept a less flat abdomen.

Patients that see the best results from liposuction alone have elastic skin that can retract or shrink over the smaller, slimmer treatment area. If fat is removed, but the overlying skin is loose and saggy, the treated area won’t have the desired definition or contour but they may still look better in clothes.

Combining Procedures

Generally, liposuction is combined with a tummy tuck to deliver the best results. The procedures can be performed simultaneously during the same operation, and are rarely staged out separately, unless there is a large volume of fat to be removed.

However, the decision to combine procedures is determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the patient’s anatomical concerns, goals of treatment and Dr. Bucko’s recommendations.

Talk to Dr. Bucko about Your Concerns

If you are bothered by a flabby stomach, loose abdominal skin or both, Dr. Bucko can help. Call (858) 453-8484 or email Belladerma Cosmetic Surgery & Skin Care Center today to schedule an informational consultation with Dr. Bucko.