I often have patients come into the office for abdominal rejuvenation. Many are women who have finished having children and are interested in either a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) or abdominal liposuction. However, often patients think they only need liposuction, when they clearly need a full tummy tuck, or vice versa. What are the indications for both surgeries, and when are they performed together?
When someone has excess abdominal fat, but no extra saggy or loose skin, only liposuction is needed. Liposuction can remove fat only, and the hope is that the overlying skin will shrink back a small amount to account for the reduced volume of fat underneath it. The ideal patient is relatively young and the skin has good elasticity, ideally with no stretch marks.
A good tummy tuck candidate is someone that is thin but has excess and saggy skin. There is little underlying fat and the patient usually complains about not having a flat abdomen even though they work out and are at their ideal weight. This is because the fat was lost underneath, but the skin has not snapped back after being stretched out. Often, a woman has delivered her baby and got back to her pre-pregnancy weight, but the skin just did not shrink back. Often there are stretch marks, which are signs that the skin was stretched beyond its limit. If stretch marks are present, this almost certainly means that a tummy tuck will be needed and not just liposuction.
During pregnancy, the midline rectus abdominis muscles (the ones that form a six pack) tend to separate from each other, known as “rectus diastasis”. This can lead to a bulge in the middle of the abdomen that can look like a hernia, although it is not a true hernia. During an abdominoplasty, these muscles are brought back together and repaired in the middle. By fixing these muscles back together, this helps narrow the waist at the flanks and give a more svelte hour-glass appearance.
For those patients with a combination of excess skin and excess fat, usually an abdominoplasty is combined with liposuction. This gives the best of both worlds, because the stretched redundant skin is removed during the tummy tuck, and the remainder of the abdomen is thinned is out with liposuction. The flanks and the pubic area can also be liposuctioned to give a smooth, gradual, and youthful contour.
If you are interested in seeing whether you are a candidate for liposuction or a tummy tuck, schedule a consultation with Board Certified plastic surgeon Dr. Shareef Jandali today. Dr. Jandali performs over 100 body contouring procedures every year. Call 203-374-0310 to set up an appointment. We look forward to seeing you!