The Difference Between a Tummy Tuck and Liposuction
EDISON, NEW JERSEY – People in today’s society appear to have a fascination with looking younger and more beautiful, thus thrusting us forward into the art of cosmetic surgery.
In 2011, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reported almost 9.5 million cosmetic procedures were performed. In the top five procedures for women, liposuction ranked number two, and tummy tucks came in at number four.
While these two procedures are very effective methods in removing excess fat and have grown in popularity, they are still greatly misunderstood, said Dr. Shain Cuber, a liposuction specialist in New Jersey.
Liposuction consists of removing the deposits of fat located in between the skin and the abdominal muscles. During the procedure, a cannula (blunt metal tube) attached to a vacuum-like suction unit is used to remove fat through a series of tiny incisions. Unlike a tummy tuck, liposuction does not involve the removal of excess skin.
There are many different types of liposuction including ultrasonic, power-assisted, laser lipo, and traditional suction-assisted. Which method is used is typically up to the surgeon based on the patient’s body and the surgeon’s own experience. General or local anesthesia may be used. Liposuction can treat areas of excess fat in the stomach, buttocks, calves, thighs, hips, love handles, saddlebags, breasts, neck, back, and arms. Liposuction works well for men and women.
Liposuction is well suited for patients who are in good overall health, who are near their ideal body weight, and have firm, elastic skin with pockets of fat in certain areas. While age is usually not a large factor, older patients may not achieve the desired result they were hoping for, as their skin’s elasticity has diminished.
For patients with loose abdominal skin or muscles that have some separation, a tummy tuck may be the best and most effective option. In the procedure, the surgeon makes a long incision in the lower abdomen, just above the pubic area. Torn and weak muscles are repaired using stitches to tighten the muscles, and extra skin is removed. Because of the invasive nature of this procedure, it is generally performed under general anesthesia.
Patients are advised to avoid smoking one month before and one month after the tummy tuck surgery.
Because liposuction involves fewer cuts, it takes less time for the incision to heal, approximately one week. For a tummy tuck, patients are expected to be out of bed the next day, feeling better in about 10-14 days, and making a full recovery in one month. While the procedures seem similar in nature, the prices can be quite different, said Dr. Cuber. Liposuction is somewhat less expensive than a tummy tuck, but with proper diet and exercise, the results of either procedure can last a lifetime.
“In some cases, we recommend a combination of both procedures to maximize the patient’s return on investment,” said Dr. Cuber. “But what really matters is what the patient’s anatomy is like on the exam and the patient’s vision of what they want their new body to look like.”
Ultimately, all patients should seek the advice of an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon to decide which procedure is right for them.
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