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Plastic Surgery Blog

What Is the Difference between a Liposuction and a Tummy Tuck?


Many people who are not satisfied with the appearance of their abdominal area wonder about the options they have for improving or revitalizing their bodies. Here we will explore the differences between some of the more common plastic surgery procedures: liposuction and the abdominoplasty or, as it’s more colloquially known, the “tummy tuck.”


But, first, what do these procedures have in common? They are both used to remove abdominal fat and return the body to a more youthful looking state. Often as people age and experience life events like childbirth, their bodies change as well, and the abdominal area often takes the brunt. While many of our patients are active people who exercise regularly and moderate their eating patterns, some types of wear and tear can’t really be erased with simple diet and exercise modification. And while once clothing may have covered up many smaller figure issues, the fashions of today are more designed to showcase rather than hide.

The plastic surgeons at Bancroft Feldman are adept at turning back the clock in cases like these. Let’s break down the options.



During a liposuction procedure, our surgeons remove fat deposits using a small tube called a cannula. Through small incisions (less than 2mm) a vacuum mechanism is used to reduce the fat deposits. This is particularly helpful for stubborn areas that have proven resistant to other methods of slimming down. Typically patients who have liposuction do not experience a great deal of scarring because the incisions made are so tiny.  

This is a useful procedure for patients who are healthy and in good shape but need assistance in creating that more ideal slim form. It is not ideal for people who are heavily overweight or obese or women whose abdominal muscles or skin have been excessively stretched from pregnancy. In those cases abdominoplasty is necessary.


Tummy Tuck

With an abdominoplasty, or what people colloquially refer to as a “tummy tuck,” the procedure is more involved. If the patient has an excess of skin, stretch marks, or very stretched stomach muscles, surgery is required to correct this. The incisions made during a tummy tuck flatten the stomach, narrow the waist, and remove both excess fat and skin. The belly button will also be repositioned and re-sculpted to match the patient’s new slimmer form. An abdominoplasty takes several hours to accomplish, and the recovery time afterward is longer than with liposuction, but for the appropriate patient, the magnitude of the change can be much greater as all components of the abdomen - fat, skin, and muscles - are improved.

Liposuction is often used in tandem with an abdominoplasty to give the abdominal area the best post-surgical appearance possible, but one is certainly not a substitute for the other. Drs. Bancroft and Feldman are more than happy to consult with patients to discuss creating a more ideal body and how that may be best accomplished using either or both of the above procedures. Contact them today to take that step towards the  younger and slimmer body you once had and can have again.


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