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With the warmer weather approaching, many clients are concerned about achieving a flat, toned abdomen and may be ramping up their exercise regimen or embarking on a strict diet to limit calories. While these actions are ideal for living a healthy lifestyle, they rarely make an impact in terms of contouring the lower body. Stubborn fat clings to the belly, undermining all your body sculpting efforts and making it impossible to enjoy wearing your favorite summer clothes and swimwear.

If you are seeking an effective, safe procedure for trimming the excess skin, fat and tissue that creates unsightly bumps and bulges in the midsection, you may be considering both liposuction and abdominoplasty as viable options for body contouring. Although both of these procedures can lead to a successful result, there are key differences that are important to understand before making your choice. Below we will explore both procedures in depth.

What is liposuction?

Liposuction is a popular, minimally invasive surgical technique that uses suction to vacuum out excess fat, leaving the body shapely, firm and contoured. Liposuction is not a method of fat loss, and it is important to understand that in order to be a good candidate for the procedure you must be at or near your ideal weight. Instead, liposuction is effective as a fat loss method that can help sculpt, trim and tone the torso. If stubborn bulges are keeping you from looking your best and wearing all your favorite clothes with confidence, liposuction may be a great option for creating your ideal physique.

Learn more about our New Jersey Liposuction procedure »

How is liposuction performed?

During liposuction, a small incision is made in the treatment area through which a slender tube known as a cannula is inserted. Fat is then suctioned out of the body to help slim and reshape its contours. Liposuction can be performed using a tumescent solution, ultrasound energy or laser technology. The fat can be discarded, or it can be saved for a future fat transfer procedure.

Liposuction is typically performed on an outpatient basis and takes 1-2 hours. After the procedure, minor swelling and bruising are common, but these side effects can be well managed with pain medications and compression garments.

Woman with serious expression on her face

What is abdominoplasty?

During abdominoplasty, your plastic surgeon will excise fat, skin and tissue to beautifully restore a flat, toned and tight abdomen. If you are a woman who has recently been pregnant, you may have weakened or stretched out six-pack abdominal muscles. A tummy tuck can help to tighten these muscles, restoring your figure after childbirth. In addition to pregnancy, aging and massive weight loss can both result in sagging belly skin that drapes over the mid-section in flaps. This condition may be difficult to treat with liposuction alone, in which case a tummy tuck is the best method of body contouring.

Aging in particular can cause excess fat to accumulate around the waist, the hips and the lower back, as a woman's estrogen levels begin to fluctuate. Hormones are a major factor in how the body stores fat. Additionally as we age, we sacrifice our skin elasticity, losing that taut, youthful shape. The sagging that is due to aging rarely responds to dieting and exercise. In these cases a surgical tummy tuck is the only procedure that can truly make an impact on your physique.

Learn more about our New Jersey tummy tuck procedure »

How is a tummy tuck performed?

A tummy tuck is usually performed under general anesthesia and takes about 2-3 hours to complete. During treatment, a linear incision is created across the lower belly from hip to hip. The scar can be well hidden within the bikini line. The surgeon trims excess skin and tightens the abdominal muscles to create a flatter, more attractive belly contour. The incision is then closed with sutures and drains are applied to escort excess fluids out of the body. Surgical dressings are placed, and the patient is sent to the recovery suite to have their vitals monitored.

How can I decide which statement is right for me?

There are several factors to consider when choosing either abdominoplasty or liposuction. The first is what the procedure can accomplish. Liposuction is primarily a fat removal method, while a tummy tuck can help tighten the abdominal muscles and reduce excess sagging skin.

Liposuction typically costs between $4,000 and $8,000, while tummy tuck pricing can reach upwards of $10,000. With liposuction, you will be able to take two days off work and return to your regular exercise routine after about 2 or 3 weeks. The tummy tuck procedure has a longer recovery, with patients typically returning to high-impact exercise after 2 months.

Who is an ideal candidate for liposuction?

  • You are healthy, both mentally and physically
  • You have realistic expectations for your treatment
  • You are within a reasonable weight range for your body frame
  • You are a non-smoker
  • You do not struggle with sagging skin around the abdomen
  • You have retained good skin elasticity
  • You are under 40 and struggling with bulges and bumps in your figure

Who is an ideal candidate for a tummy tuck?

  • You are of sound mind and body
  • You are at or close to your ideal body weight
  • You have excess fat, skin and tissue distorting the abdomen
  • You are finished having children
  • You are okay with the lengthy recovery time involved with abdominoplasty
  • You are a non-smoker
  • You have realistic expectations for your results
  • You are over the age of 45 and struggling with weakened or separated abdominal muscles

What is the takeaway?

Only a detailed consultation with your cosmetic surgeon will yield the answers to your questions regarding whether a tummy tuck or liposuction is right for your body. During your initial session, the doctor will perform a physical evaluation, determining your skin quality, the amount of fat you wish to lose, and your overall goals for your procedure. Rest assured, if you follow through with the process and gather all the necessary information, you will make the best choice possible. Whichever treatment you decide upon, you can look forward to enhanced self-confidence, a wider range of wardrobe choices, and a slimmer, tighter physique for years to come.


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"You were so skilled and confident. I am loving my liposuction result."

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