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Liposuction versus Tummy Tuck - Which is right for you?

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Whether pregnancy or excess weight gain has changed how you look around the abdomen, many people come to Cosmetic Surgery Affiliates in Oklahoma City interested in making their waist smaller.  Patients will routinely ask about liposuction and/or tummy tucks and often time have questions about which is right for them.


Liposuction removes fat in areas that have been resistant to diet and exercise. The most common areas it is performed is for love handles, thighs, and any other small collections of fat.  The procedure is most commonly performed under IV sedation.  First tumescent (dilute local anesthetic with epinephrine) is administered to the area from which fat is to be removed. This solution not only numbs the area making it more comfortable during the procedure but also post-operatively, but it also contained epinephrine which causes the blood vessels to shrink down to minimize any bleeding.  Next, tiny incisions about the size of your pinky are made in a couple hidden locations, and a small metal cannula attached to suction is used to suck the fat out. 


Once liposuction is performed, the fat cells that are removed are gone forever. That being said, should a person gain weight again, it will go to where fat cells still exist.  Liposuction should not be used as a diet, but rather as a tool to get rid of the stubborn fat after diet and exercise have been exhausted. 


A tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, focuses on removing excess skin and fat from the abdomen.  Liposuction is often performed at the same time to remove additional fat, but the tummy tuck is ideal for a person who has skin laxity.  Often after pregnancy or even after massive weight loss, the skin cells lose their elasticity, and once those little rubber bands are stretched out, they will never go back to the way they were.  Dr. Caplin often explains to her patients during consultations that once the skin has been stretch out, no matter how hard they diet and exercise, they cannot get rid of the loose skin.  In fact, often times performing liposuction or addition natural weight loss can actually make the appearance worse as it further deflates the area. 


Tummy tucks are routinely performed as an outpatient surgery at Cosmetic Surgery Affiliates.  As mentioned previously, liposuction can be performed additionally to remove excess fat.  Routinely all of the extra skin between the belly button down below the panty line is removed. The belly button stays in place but the skin above the belly button is pulled down tightly so the scar is hidden below the panty line. The muscles often need to be repaired if they have been stretched apart, and a new hole is created for the belly button.  All of the stitches dissolve on their own and skin glue is placed over the top of the incision. 


With both procedures, the results will be seen immediately although it takes about 4-6 weeks for the swelling to go down.  During the first month, an compressive garment is recommended to help reduce the swelling. True final results take between 3-6 months as the body continues to heal and shrink. 


I hope this has clarified any confusion you may have had about liposuction versus a tummy tuck.  If you are still unsure which may be right for you or a loved one, please call and schedule your complimentary consultation with Dr. Caplin today!

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.