For people who wish to improve their midsections – the abdominal area in particular – there are two main cosmetic surgery options, liposuction, and tummy tucks.
These are different techniques, which achieve different results, with each suitable for patients with different needs. How will you know which is right for you?
Foremost, it should be said that these are not weight loss procedures, if this is the main goal then the primary and still the best way to do so is with a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet. It is only after weight has been lost and a patient wishes to further sculpt their body that cosmetic surgery should be considered.
Liposuction is best suited to patients who have tried to lose weight but have been unable to affect some of the hard to move areas in their physique, such as the lower abdomen, love handles, thighs or buttock regions, In this case, a more toned and contoured torso can be achieved with the help of liposuction.
The process involves a surgeon making tiny incisions through which a cannula is introduced to the affected area and it proceeds to sucks the fat from the body. It can be performed under local but preferably general anaesthetic particularly for larger areas and is ideal for removing pockets of fat deposits from specific areas of the body. While not as invasive as other forms of surgery, the procedure is still surgery, and as such patients will require rest and recovery after. Also like all surgeries, it is also not without its risks, though they are far lower than more complex forms of surgery, and therefore needs to be approached with appropriate preparations.
Generally speaking, liposuction results in a flatter, more proportioned and contoured torso. But it can’t be repeated enough that liposuction is not a way for overweight people to trim down – rather it is used to address stubborn fat deposits in those who have already put in the exercise and diet to slim down themselves.
It is also not the most effective solution for everyone. In particular, some people may have excess abdominal skin as a result of weight loss or after pregnancy, as well as pockets of stubborn fat. Also, often after childbirth the abdominal wall muscles may require repair, due to a separation of these by the growing baby in the womb, leading to a range of physical, psychological and aesthetic issues post pregnancy. For these patients, a tummy tuck is the most suitable option.
A tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, involves a surgeon making an incision across the lower abdomen, removing excess skin and repairing/tightening the muscles underneath as well as fixing any hernias that may be present, before stretching the remaining skin back over the abdomen and reattaching it, resulting in a flat tummy.
While an abdominoplasty can be a cosmetic procedure, it is also partly a reconstructive procedure that is necessary to correct abdominal abnormalities caused by pregnancy, obesity, weight loss, trauma, tumour or another disease or previous lower abdominal surgery.
A tummy tuck surgery can correct or relieve structural defects of the abdomen and improve the function of the abdominal muscles, thus improving posture, back pain and providing improved support for the abdominal contents. Some patients also suffer from having a large and distressing apron of fat, which is called a “pannus”. This can cause chronic dermatitis, skin infections, difficulty in walking and difficulties with hygiene. A tummy tuck surgery would be an effective procedure to address those issues as well.
An abdominoplasty is a major surgery and as such, patients need to carefully consider the risks, plan to have enough recovery time (up to six weeks) and follow any post-operative instructions very carefully.
It is recommended that if patients are planning to have more children, they delay a tummy tuck surgery, as some of the results could be attenuated after subsequent pregnancies. It is important patients maintain a healthy weight after the procedure in order to preserve the results achieved by surgery.
So which procedure is for you? If you have minimal to no excess skin and wish to achieve a better contoured abdomen, liposuction is the answer. But if you have excess skin, a tummy tuck possibly in combination with liposuction is the way to go – after carefully doing your research, considering all the variables and consulting with a qualified cosmetic surgeon.
Breast & Body Clinic led by Dr Michael Yunaev FRACS specialises in abdominal procedures such as described above. If you wish to discuss your specific circumstances and see how they can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact the clinic on firstname.lastname@example.org or (02) 98197449.