People who are unhappy with the appearance of their abdominal area may opt for cosmetic surgery if they are unable to resolve their concerns with diet and exercise. Surgeries like liposuction and abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) allow for a degree of sculpting that isn’t usually possible with simple exercise. Many people assume that the two surgeries are similar or even interchangeable, but they are actually quite different.


Liposuction surgery is the removal of excess fat from portions of the body that have resistant fat deposits. It is most often performed in the abdominal area, the thigh area, the hip area, the back, or the upper arm area. Liposuction does not improve muscle tone or remove excess skin. To have good liposuction results, the patient needs to have good skin elasticity to start with.

Liposuction patients typically require between a few days and a week away from work, and a total of two to three weeks away from their exercise routine. Liposuction swelling and bruising is typically gone in a month or less. This surgery requires only very small incisions, though which the doctor will insert a small cannula to remove the excess fat.

Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck is a more invasive procedure than liposuction is, but it has more dramatic results. A tummy tuck surgery removes excess skin and the fat attached to it. No matter how much weight a person loses, the extra skin will remain. This surgery is the ideal way to remove that skin and reposition the remaining skin into an attractive new contour.

Tummy tuck surgery typically requires two full weeks off work for recovery. During recovery, patients must wear a compression garment. This garment reduces swelling and can help alleviate pain. Tummy tuck patients will need to change wound dressings every other day for the first couple of weeks after surgery. Patients can return to their full exercise routine after six weeks, and may resume light exercise after one month.

Combining Procedures: Liposuction and Tummy Tuck Together

Some patients choose to have two surgeries performed at the same time. Liposuction and tummy tucks are a natural union that can be ideal for anyone looking for a major change in their abdominal area. Each surgery does something that the other cannot. Liposuction removes the excess fat but not the skin. A tummy tuck removes the skin but only takes away the fat that is currently attached to that skin.

When the two surgeries are done concurrently, it can be very beneficial for the patient. They only have to go under anesthesia once rather than twice, and the patient only has to contend with recovery once rather than on two separate occasions.

Ready to Schedule a Consult?

A patient does need to be in good general health to undergo two procedures at once, but most patients who want a tummy makeover will be able to qualify to do so. If you’re ready to get started on the tummy you’ve always wanted, click below to set up a consultation Dr. Patterson. Our dedicated and highly experienced surgical staff will help you choose the option that suits you best!