Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck

Jun 19, 2021 | Tummy Tuck

Whether it is after having given birth or just due to improper diet, one way or the other you might find yourself having the need to lose some belly fat. While some would rather work out to achieve this goal, some prefer undergoing surgery. Now, once you have settled on the idea of surgery, a new question might arise; To go for liposuction or to have a tummy tuck? Dr. Rahul Vemula can help you make the distinction. 

What is the difference?

While both are aimed at getting rid of fat, they actually differ in the way the procedures are carried out and how long it takes to recover. Liposuction does get rid of fat but does not do much as far as the skin is concerned. It does not remove excess skin but it can be applied on other areas other than the tummy including hips, thighs and buttocks. A tummy tuck takes care of the removal of fat and also removes excess skin.


Liposuction removes fat through suction. First, anesthesia is induced on the client as would happen in any other surgery situation. This is important in order to prevent discomfort. Then incisions are made and through those incisions, tubes are inserted and fat is sucked out.
For you to decide that you are going to undergo this procedure, you need to be aware of certain factors such as the risks, recovery process and the qualifications of getting the procedure performed on you.

What does it take?

→ Give up smoking

First, to be an ideal candidate for a liposuction, you must not be a smoker. If you already are a smoker, you should quit smoking at least one month prior to the procedure and keep it that way even after the procedure. If not, you are at risk of developing complications after the surgery. Due to blood flow restrictions caused by nicotine, healing becomes difficult and the results are poor.

→ Do not be too overweight

Liposuction is not meant to remove huge amounts of fat in one procedure. If you have too much fat to lose you might need to stick to diet change and working out. Even if you lose that weight through liposuction, the risks related to obesity remain diabetes, heart diseases, and other health risks. This procedure is ideal for people who are physically fit.

→ Age limit

To get liposuction, one must be at least 18 years old. This is what the surgeons recommend since a younger person might be taking risks as their body is still developing. For younger teenagers, a proper diet and working out is recommended.

→ Be cellulite-free

If you are going into a liposuction procedure while having cellulite, beware that it just might get worse. Since liposuction does not improve the skin, the skin wrinkles, making the cellulite look even worse.

→ Inform the surgeon of any medical conditions

If you have allergies to certain medication or you are undergoing any medication, inform the surgeon before the procedure. Any medication that affects the size of your blood vessels puts you at risk of post-surgery complications. The surgeon will tell you what to do and offer alternatives if necessary.

What are the risks?

→ Swelling

This is caused by inflammation and the accumulation of lymphatic fluids. Should this happen, massages can help reduce swelling. You should also wear a compression garment and switch to a healthy diet. How long this swelling lasts, depends on the amount of fat that was removed and how one takes care of their body after the surgery.

→ Bruising

When the blood capillaries are injured during the procedure, it causes bruising. Wearing compression garments is supposed to control the amount of bruising. It could take up to a month for the bruising to stop.

→ Infections

Bacterial infections could be a result of using surgical tools that have not been properly sterilized. It could also be caused by bacteria entering the incision through direct contamination. In such a case, it is important to consult the doctor in order for them to prescribe treatment.

→ Contour irregularities

These are manifested in folds, wrinkles, and dimples. This is because once excessive fats are removed, the excess skin still remains. Cellulite also becomes more visible if it was there before the procedure.

→ Fat embolism

This occurs when fat globules enter the bloodstream from the tissues. It manifests in certain discomforts such as shortness of breath. 0ygen therapy can be used to control this condition.

Recovery after liposuction

During the recovery process, observe a healthy lifestyle. Eat healthy food and keep your body hydrated. Wear your compression garment and take antibiotics in the case of a bacterial infection. Exercise and get massages for the swelling. Healing completely should take a number of weeks but it is not the same for everyone.


Just like in the liposuction procedure, the first step for a tummy tuck procedure is anesthesia. A horizontal incision is made below the navel. The adjustments are then made and excess skin is removed. Then the incisions are closed. For a tummy tuck, one must also consider the qualifications, risks, and recovery process.
What makes you an ideal candidate?

→ Be a non-smoker

Quit smoking at least a month before and after surgery. If your smoking interferes with your blood flow, then there will be complications in the healing process.

→ Have stable weight

Make sure that your weight is close to the one you are trying to achieve. If you are too overweight, lose weight weeks prior to the surgery.

→ Have good health

If you have any health issues, you should discuss them with your doctor so they can determine how safe it is for you to undergo the procedure. Complications in the lungs or heart can bring problems even during anesthesia. There are other conditions that could also affect the healing process.

→ You are not planning on getting pregnant

While the pregnancy will not be affected by a previous tummy tuck procedure, the skin will stretch again and you will need to undergo another procedure after that pregnancy. To avoid all this repetition, make sure you first have the babies, then when you are sure of no more future pregnancies, go for the tummy tuck. Should you, however, get pregnant again, you need not worry about the health of the baby.
What are the risks involved in a tummy tuck procedure?

→ Asymmetry

An irregular-shaped tummy can be seen soon after surgery but it should not be cause for alarm. However, if it persists after a long time, then it could be that the surgeon made an error during the procedure. In this case, you should visit your surgeon in order to get the problem fixed.

→ Swelling

Swelling after a tummy tuck procedure is normal. This is due to the slow drainage of fluids, so they tend to accumulate. To control this swelling, wear your compression garment and move around in order to allow circulation.

→ Bleeding

This can be manifested in severe swelling and bruising. It can be caused by blood vessels opening up during recovery due to pressure by certain activities. Should this happen, it is advisable to see the doctor.

→ Infection

In the case where you experience a bacterial infection, see the doctor immediately. Infections could be caused by contamination during the procedure or healing process. The doctor will prescribe the necessary antibiotics.

→ Scarring

Scars will form in the areas where incisions were done during the procedure. While you may not be able to get rid of the scars, you can minimize their visibility. You should be on the lookout for infections, as they may make your scars worse. Also, avoid irritating the scars for faster healing.

→ Blood clots

This is mostly associated with minimal movement during and after the tummy tuck procedure. In order to prevent this, one is advised to move around to stimulate blood circulation in your legs. Also, avoid smoking even after the procedure because smoking causes thinning of blood vessels thus increasing the risk of blood clots.

→ Fat necrosis

When fat cells die, they release oil resulting in a lump forming. The lump usually goes away by itself. If it becomes too uncomfortable, it can be removed through surgery.

→ Numbness

Numbness occurs when the nerves around where the incisions were made are destroyed. The numbness actually stays for a while, probably months. It is normal and should be expected.

Generally, any unusual observations after surgery should be reported to the doctor in order to prevent worse problems.


Remember that insurance does not pay for cosmetic surgery unless it is a medical necessity. Be prepared to pay for it yourself. Whichever procedure you end up choosing, consider the qualifications and the risks. Choose the procedure that will best suit your desire; if there is excess skin involved, remember that a tummy tuck will be more effective than liposuction. Make sure that you see a professional at least a month before the time you want the surgery to be performed. Ensure there is a favorable environment for you to heal in. Once you observe the doctor’s instructions, you will experience quicker healing and satisfactory results.