Lipo and tummy tuck are two of the most common ways to surgically flatten the stomach. But they both address different issues.
What if you need both lipo and tummy tuck?
Doing liposuction at the same time as an abdominoplasty seems logical: the goal of liposuction
is to remove excess fat and the goal of abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is to remove excess skin, so they are complimentary procedures. But many people don’t realize that doing the two procedures at the same time can actually lead to problems.
During an abdominoplasty, I elevate the skin over the abdomen off the underlying muscles all the way up to the level of the rib cage. Then I pull down the excess skin and remove it. On the figure below (demonstrated an an incredibly fit model, who admittedly needs neither lipo or a tummy tuck), the blue outlines the area of skin which is elevated off the underlying muscles.
Tummy tucks affect blood supply to the skin.
Lifting the skin up cuts many of the blood vessels which supply the skin with nutrients, so the blood supply to this skin flap is decreased. Subsequently performing liposuction in an area with decreased blood supply can cause problems including skin necrosis, where the skin actually dies, leaving an open wound.
For this reason, I only do very conservative liposuction over the central and upper abdomen during abdominoplasty surgery. (The red markings on the photo above).
Where can you have lipo safely?
The hips, thighs, and flanks are not at all affected by having abdominoplasty. So I can safely liposuction these areas at the same time as a tummy tuck. (Look at the areas marked in green). If you are considering having liposuction and an abdominoplasty at the same time, here are some questions you may want to ask your surgeon:
- Do you do liposuction and an abdominoplasty at the same time?
- If so, how often do you perform this procedure?
- Have you ever had any complications?
So can you have lipo and tummy tuck at the same time?
Yes, but you need to find a surgeon who knows what she is doing! This means seeing a surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
How do you know if you need lipo, a tummy tuck, or something else? Take the quiz!
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Dr. Greer is a Plastic Surgeon who practices in Cleveland, OH. Her passion is helping moms regain self-confidence by getting rid of sagginess, wrinkles, and stubborn fat. Read more about her at www.greerplastics.com.