Liposuction Surgery or Tummy Tuck Surgery
A friend of mine once said “Physicians are just nerds trying to be cool.” The title above is my feeble attempt to sound hip!
But joking aside, when a patient presents to me for improvement of the abdominal area, the question arises which procedure is best: liposuction or tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)?
If a patient has no stretch marks or loose skin and the only issue is excess fat under the skin, the decision is easy: liposuction will remove excess fat and since the patient has normal skin tone and elasticity, the skin will retract properly. If on the other hand, the patient has hanging skin over the pubic area and a hanging shelf of skin above the umbilicus (belly button), then a tummy tuck will give the best result.
What about the patient who is borderline though? There are patients who have borderline skin elasticity, may or may not have some stretch marks and are in that gray area between liposuction and tummy tuck. This is where patient’s concerns and expectations are important to asses.
First of all, is the patient terrified of having general anesthesia, despite the safety of general anesthesia in healthy individuals? In a recent article by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the risk of death from elective out patient surgery was 1:50,000 versus 1:5,000 from driving. This means the risk of dying while driving is TEN times more than having elective outpatient surgery! Are they concerned about the increased incisions and recovery time after a tummy tuck? Is cost a factor? What are the patient’s expectations? Is he/she expecting a flat stomach with little or no stretch marks or is the patient looking for some improvement only? It is critical the patient is honest with him/herself and with the surgeon, and adequately addresses their concerns and expectations. Liposuction is a very effective procedure for patients who have borderline skin tone, as long as the above issues are adequately addressed.
Michael A. Jazayeri, M.D. is a board certified plastic surgeon with over 10 years of experience. His office is located in Orange County, California. To schedule a complimentary consultation, please call 714-834-0101.