Each year, millions of people decide to lose weight and get in better shape. In many instances, however, factors make it difficult to get rid of stubborn fat around the abdomen.
Whether because a significant amount of weight loss has left sagging skin in your abdominal region or because your body has experienced changes during pregnancy, getting a sleek and toned look around the midsection can be tough.
If you struggle with excess skin or fat around your abdomen, there are many options you can turn to, including liposuction and tummy tucks. But which one is the right choice? Can you combine both for ultimate results? Learn more about these procedures and how they can help.
Liposuction: What It Is and Who Can Benefit
Last year, there were almost 500,000 liposuction procedures performed in the United States. It is a popular treatment because it can be less invasive than a tummy tuck while still offering the chance to get rid of pockets of fat .
Liposuction is a procedure that uses suction techniques for the removal of pockets of fat from certain areas of the body that have not responded to exercise or dieting. The most common treatment areas are the following:
- Upper arms
This surgical procedure is best suited for people who are at a stable weight, who are in overall good health, and who have some skin elasticity. It is most successful at treating smaller areas of fat.
Liposuction is not a weight-loss procedure, and it does not eliminate excess skin. For the best results, someone who undergoes liposuction should be within 30% of their ideal weight .
Liposuction Procedure and Recovery
For liposuction, you may have to go under general anesthesia or have IV sedation. If you are getting treatment for very small areas, your surgeon may just use local anesthesia.
The surgeon will make small incisions around the site of the fat deposits and will insert a cannula, or thin tube, to help loosen the fat cells. With a medical vacuum, the surgeon will remove the fat cells they have dislodged.
The procedure can take a few hours, depending on the number of treatment areas and their size, but you can return home the same day.
During the recovery process, you need to get lots of rest. You will wear a specialized pressure garment, and you might have drains that keep fluid from building up in the incision sites. Your surgeon will show you how to take care of all of these things. Avoid strenuous movements for the first couple of weeks.
Tummy Tuck: What It Is and Who Can Benefit
A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that can help improve the appearance and shape of the abdomen. During a tummy tuck, a surgeon can remove excess fat as well as excess skin while at the same time tightening connective tissues in the abdomen. The surgeon can also reposition the skin to give the entire abdomen a more toned look.
This procedure can help people who have excess fat and skin due to the following factors:
- Significant changes in weight
- Abdominal surgery
A tummy tuck can also help diminish stretch marks in the abdominal area.
This is an ideal procedure for people who are in good overall health and who have excess abdominal fat and skin that does not improve with diet and exercise. The best candidates should not have any serious medical conditions, should not be planning significant weight loss or pregnancy in the future, and should not smoke.
Tummy Tuck Procedure and Recovery
Since a tummy tuck is a surgical procedure, you will need to undergo a few tests to ensure you are healthy enough to go through it. Give your surgeon your full medical history and tell them about any medications you take. If you are a good candidate for a tummy tuck, your surgeon will give you instructions on how to prepare for surgery.
Tummy tucks take place in a hospital or outpatient facility, and they require general anesthesia. You will need to have someone ready to drive you home.
During the procedure, the surgeon typically makes oval or elliptical incisions to remove belly fat and extra skin between the pubic area and the belly button. During this process, the surgeon can also tighten connective tissue with permanent sutures. They will reposition the skin around the belly button and lay it in place with more sutures.
The procedure can take up to three hours.
It is crucial that you take time to rest after a tummy tuck. You will need to clean the drain tubes and the bandages that will cover the incisions. Do remember to walk a bit as you recover, and make sure to wear your abdominal supportive garment as directed.
Which Is the Right Choice?
Whether liposuction or a tummy tuck is the right choice will depend on a number of factors. One of these factors is the kind of results you want. If you have a lot of excess belly fat and skin, liposuction may not be the appropriate option because traditional lipo does not tighten sagging skin.
You also want to consider that having liposuction alone can create sagging skin. That is one reason why combining it with a tummy tuck is so helpful. The liposuction can remove some of the fat, and the tummy tuck can tighten tissues and get rid of excess skin.
Get Rid of Stubborn Fat
Either of these options can offer lasting results. You can choose to have a less invasive procedure like liposuction if you only have small fat pockets, or you can opt for a tummy tuck to help you deal with excess skin and lax tissue.
If you are not sure which option to choose or if you want to know whether you are a candidate for both procedures, reach out to a professional for help.