Tummy Tuck or Liposuction? An Easy Guide to Choose What’s Best for You

Some of us are convinced we need a tummy tuck. We want a flat stomach, and we’ve heard that the most surefire way to achieve it is with a tummy tuck.

But what about liposuction? Does it not also remove belly fat and flatten your stomach?

If you’re not sure which approach is best for a slimmer look, read on. We’ve highlighted the pros and cons of each procedure to help you decide which one is better for you.


Of the two methods for belly fat removal we’re discussing today, liposuction is the less-invasive one. It only requires minimal incisions for a tiny cannula to be inserted under the skin, it leaves no visible scars, and the recovery afterwards is swift – most patients are able to return to regular activities within 1-2 days. Aqualipo, SmartLipo (a form of laser Lipo), or radio frequency assisted liposuction can all be used to flush away unwanted fat, permanently.

Pros of Liposuction

  • minimal downtime
  • minimal trauma
  • no scar

Cons of Liposuction

  • does not remove excess skin
  • less immediate or drastic results
  • does not remove visceral fat

Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck is the most “invasive” way to remove belly fat. The plastic surgeon simply removes sections of fat and all the excess skin. Skin can lose its elasticity over time or after pregnancy and childbirth, and removing it altogether is the most effective way to flatten the stomach and tighten the skin. A tummy tuck can also be used to repair the underlying muscle. And it can also beautify your belly button. Depending on the severity of muscle damage and excess skin, a mini tummy tuck may be sufficient, meaning a lower and shorter scar.

Pros of a Tummy Tuck

  • immediate, drastic results
  • removes excess skin completely
  • repairs muscles

Cons of a Tummy Tuck

  • requires surgery with sedation
  • longer recovery
  • scar (although placed discreetly below bikini line)

For patients who have lost a substantial amount of weight, or have a large amount of excess skin for whatever reason, a tummy tuck may be the only solution to achieve a flat stomach. For all other patients, liposuction may be sufficient to remove enough fat to make a noticeable difference.

It sort of depends on your goals, and how perfect you want the results to be. If your main goal is to go down a few pant sizes, minimally-invasive liposuction may be perfectly sufficient. If you want an absolutely flat stomach, even if you have already achieved your target weight, liposuction alone may not get you there.

Liposuction and Tummy Tuck Combined

For some patients, it’s not an either-or decision. Liposuction can be effectively combined with a tummy tuck for the best overall results.

For instance, you might choose a tummy tuck for your abdomen, but add on liposuction to some surrounding areas like bra bulges, thighs, or even arms, to achieve an overall slimmer look.

Another option is to boost your curves elsewhere to make the flat stomach stand out more. Before the surgeon does your tummy tuck, he could use liposuction on your stomach to harvest some fat, then use that fat in a fat transfer to breast procedure to increase your breast size.

A Third Option: Radio Frequency Assisted Liposuction (BodyTite)

When considering the above pros and cons, you might be turned off by either option. You don’t want invasive surgery, you don’t have time for a lengthy recovery, but you’re also not entirely convinced liposuction will be enough to flatten your stomach. Or if it does, you might still be left with excess, saggy skin.

Luckily, there is now a third way: You can add BodyTite to your liposuction for up to 45% skin tightening without any surgery.

As a general rule, patients with a BMI 30 and under are ideal candidates for liposuction or BodyTite, while a tummy tuck typically achieves better results for patients with a BMI between 30 and 40.

As always, it’s best to meet with a plastic surgeon to discuss which solution will be best for you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment in Nashville or Memphis.

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