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Many patients seek to improve the appearance of their abdominal area, whether it’s to remove excess fat, tighten skin and muscles, or achieve a more defined waistline. Due to the number of plastic surgery options available, some may be unsure of which procedure would benefit them most. The two main surgical alternatives include liposuction, which targets excess fat deposits in the belly, flanks, or hips, and abdominoplasty or tummy tuck, which removes excess skin from the belly and tightens underlying muscles. In some cases, a combination of procedures – referred to as lipoabdominoplasty – may be feasible. Some patients may benefit from any one of these surgeries, although the results will be different for each. Keep in mind that combining procedures also lengthens the duration of surgery, and may be associated with a higher risk of complications.

In general, advantages of liposuction include:

  • tiny, imperceptible scars
  • quick recovery
  • minimal pain
  • low risk of complications

Liposuction is not intended as a means of weight loss, and only a limited amount of fat may be safely removed at any one session. Furthermore, patients who undergo liposuction should have good skin tone devoid of stretch marks, and must allow several weeks to months to achieve final results.

Benefits of abdominoplasty or tummy tuck include:

  • tightening the rectus muscles of the abdomen to achieve better core definition
  • removing excess or poorly toned skin (e.g. with stretch marks) to create a tighter belly
  • immediate results once recovery is complete

The scars necessary to achieve great results from a tummy tuck range from relatively short, C-section type scars used in a mini-abdominoplasty, to full length hip to hip scar required when significant amount of skin is removed, as in a full abdominoplasty. In addition, muscle plication (repair of the separation between the rectus muscles) creates more discomfort and prolongs recovery from the surgery. In some patients, liposuction may be performed concurrently with a tummy tuck, and this combination of surgical procedures may yield the best results. In other patients, the two procedures may be performed in two stages so as to minimize potential complications and allow adequate healing in between surgeries.

Men may also undergo either liposuction, tummy tuck or combined procedures to achieve a more aesthetically appealing abdomen and torso. Be sure to discuss your wishes with your plastic surgeon so as to choose the best procedure for your body and your lifestyle.

Dr. Olivia Hutchinson is a board certified plastic surgeon in NYC whose practice is dedicated to aesthetic plastic surgery. Her Manhattan office is equipped with a fully certified AAAASF Operating Room which ensures the safety, privacy and comfort of her patients. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Hutchinson, please contact us or call us at (212) 452-1400.

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