Summary: A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a common procedure used to tighten the abdominal area and remove excess skin. However, a standard tummy tuck doesn’t necessarily involve adequate removal of stubborn abdominal fat, an issue that plagues many men and women. And, while liposuction alone can remove fat cells in and around the abdominal area, this surgery alone can’t improve loose or baggy skin, or repair the abdominal muscles.
Combining liposuction with a tummy tuck into a single procedure removes fat cells, reshapes the abdomen and tightens loose skin all at once, delivering the best of both worlds from a cosmetic and technical standpoint.
When combining a tummy tuck with liposuction, technically called lipoabdominoplasty, the patient first undergoes liposuction through a small incision accessing the abdomen and flanks. A suction device called a cannula breaks up and removes fat cells lingering in stubborn pockets of fat that haven’t responded to diet and exercise. During this time, optimal blood supply to the skin is carefully maintained. By removing fat cells, liposuction sculpts the upper and lower abdomen, as well as the thighs, to bring out the best in your lower body contours. Following liposuction, your surgeon pulls abdominal muscles together during the tummy tuck if they have been loosened to give the abdomen a compact and youthful shape. Finally, excess tissue is removed, the skin is tightened and smoothed over the abdomen, and loose skin is trimmed away.
The Benefits of Combining Procedures
Combining liposuction with a tummy tuck makes the most sense from a cosmetic standpoint. Because the issues addressed by each procedure are so complementary, many patients who would benefit partially from one procedure find that the combination of the two is the most effective way of achieving their goal appearance. In a traditional tummy tuck without liposuction, the patient must wear post-surgical drains during recovery to prevent fluid buildup, known as seroma. Seroma is caused by trauma to blood vessels and the surrounding tissue, causing plasma to leak. If seroma develops, it is usually easily treatable, but can become serious if ignored. In an effort to reduce the tissue trauma that can lead to seroma, some surgeons leave behind a small amount of abdominal fat and tissue during a tummy tuck in addition to using post-surgical drains, potentially compromising your final contours. However, combining liposuction with a tummy tuck significantly reduces the risk of seroma. This is accomplished with layers of internal sutures that form small compartments inside the abdominal cavity, which is only possible after the removal of excess fat cells through liposuction. These small internal compartments reduce tension at the incision and prevent fluid buildup, eliminating the need for post-surgical drains. And what’s more, studies show that tummy tucks when combined with liposuction result in fewer complications overall.
Better Recovery, Better Results
With improved circulation and a decreased chance of seroma and other complications, patients typically enjoy a quicker, more comfortable recovery after lipoabdominoplasty as compared to a traditional tummy tuck. Wearing and changing post-surgical drains is often one of the more dreaded aspects of tummy tuck recovery, but the added benefit of a drain-free recovery allows you to focus more on relaxing in optimal comfort. The superior body contouring of combining a tummy tuck with liposuction can help you meet your cosmetic needs, but, most importantly, provides a safer, gentler option with minimal risk of post-operative complications.