So you’ve decided that you want to get rid of that excess (and stubborn) fat around the belly area. You’ve tried before, but didn’t see great results, maybe because of hormones, the effects of pregnancy, or genetics. Since there are several different procedures available to address a less-than-ideal abdomen, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you. Many people mistakenly assume that a tummy tuck will work just as well as liposuction for flattening the abdominal area. However, although the goal behind both procedures is to create a smaller, more aesthetically pleasing midsection, the surgeries are completely different. The most suitable form of plastic surgery for you depends on what your goals are, as well as your individual anatomy. Here’s a basic summary of the differences and similarities between liposuction and tummy tuck surgery at our Portland-based Waldorf Center for Plastic Surgery.

What Are They Used for?

Tummy tucks and liposuction can be performed on their own as standalone procedures or used in combination with each other. Tummy tucks primarily involve surgically removing excess skin and can include repairing separated core muscles. Liposuction is strictly a fat reduction procedure that involves removing below-the-skin fat with a thin tube that’s inserted into tiny incisions in the skin. Liposuction can also be used on surrounding, transition areas that you can’t improve with a tummy tuck, including the flanks, lower back, hips, outer thighs, and other areas.

What Are the Results?

For both procedures, the results are lasting. Fat cells to not “regenerate” after they are removed, and skin and muscles tend to stay tightened—unless future weight gain, a pregnancy, or something similar physically alters them once again. The recovery after liposuction is often shorter and less complicated when compared to tummy tuck. Since there are longer incisions involved in a tummy tuck, it can leave more noticeable scars, though the plastic surgeon will work to position them in areas where they can be easily concealed, even by underwear and swimsuits.

Who is a Good Candidate?

In order to be eligible for either surgery, patients should ideally be physically healthy, non-smokers, and maintain realistic expectations of their results. Liposuction patients should be within 30 percent of their goal body weight, and also have a firm skin and muscle tone.

Learn all about liposuction and tummy tuck surgery from the Waldorf Center for Plastic Surgery team. If you’re ready to tighten and sculpt your abdominal area with these procedures, call our office at 503-646-0101 or fill out a contact form to request a private consultation.