Skip to main content

Last week I reviewed Liposuction, and the prior week Tummy Tuck. This week we explore how to know which procedure is right for your belly.

Liposuction or Tummy Tuck?

First off, when in doubt, ask an expert. Only after an in-person consultation with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon will you be prepared to make an informed decision as to which procedure will provide the best result for you. In the San Francisco Bay Area we are fortunate to have a large variety of Board Certified Plastic Surgeons to consult.

Secondly, there is no substitute for an in-person consultation with a qualified and experienced surgeon. Several aspects of the abdominal wall cannot be fully appreciated via photos or even video. It takes me about ten seconds to know whether a person standing in front of me is going to get a better result with either Liposuction or a Tummy Tuck, and that is because I have decades of training and experience on which to rely.


Liposuction is a safe and effective surgical procedure used to remove excess and disproportionate fat. As long as the overlying skin has good tone, Liposuction alone can recontour the abdominal wall and give wonderful results with minimal scarring. The limitation of Liposuction is its dependence on the quality of the skin. Beware of practitioners who claim that adding a laser, ultrasound or another “energy based liposuction” can reliably tighten the skin. It will not make loose skin tight.

Abdominal Liposuction before and after photos Liposculpture

For the carefully selected patient, Liposuction can provide excellent improvement in body contours by simply removing excess fat.

The patient above had good skin tone. She had enough disproportionate fat to upset the ideal abdominal contours; however, not an extreme excess of fat. Removing large amounts of fat can loosen the skin by wearing its support, causing surface irregularities. In the above case, her contours were flattened via tumescent liposuction beneath her otherwise tight abdominal skin.

Tummy Tuck

Abdominoplasty is literally the abdominal reshaping procedure. It remains the only reliable way to remove excess abdominal skin. In addition, Tummy Tucks can tighten loose muscles and remove excess fat, with or without the use of Liposuction.

Abdominoplasty before and after photos Tummy Tuck

This patient, like the liposuction patient above, does not have a large amount of excess abdominal wall fat. She does, however, have abdominal wall muscle laxity and loose skin. Abdominoplasty repaired her abdominal muscles, removed excess fat and tightened her skin.

This tummy tuck patient’s abdomen does not appear dramatically different from the liposuction patient’s abdomen; however, the differences were very clear in-person. This patient has a firm bulge in the lower abdomen due to muscle laxity rather than disproportionate fat. In addition, her skin was much looser. Liposuction alone in this case would leave the lower abdomen full and increase her skin irregularities. Even a Mini Tummy Tuck would not be enough to correct the upper half of her abdominal rejuvenation. Her tummy tuck has left her with a tight, flat belly that makes her a happy patient.

Body Contouring Consultations

There are many options for Body Sculpting. Liposuction and Abdominoplasty are two, but there are smaller, larger and in-between procedures, as well. In the San Francisco Bay Area call (925) 943-6353 to schedule a private consultation in my Walnut Creek Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Office. We can review your concerns and define the best way to reach your goals.

(925) 943-6353
Book an Appointment