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Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction for a Flatter Stomach

Published on December 28, 2023

The struggle to achieve firm, flat abdominal contours affects countless men and women. There are many reasons patients accumulate unwanted inches in the abdominal area and many reasons why that extra bulk may never disappear no matter how much they diet and exercise.

Fortunately, surgical abdominal contouring procedures can provide long-lasting tightening and slimming. Tummy tuck surgery, or abdominoplasty, and liposuction are two popular plastic surgery procedures for sculpting this common problem area. If you are considering cosmetic surgery to reshape your waistline, it is important to understand how each procedure works to improve the abdominal contours.

Abdominal Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck Surgery: What Is the Difference?

Abdominal lipo and tummy tuck procedures are both intended to help patients accomplish a slimmer, flatter look. However, there are major differences, particularly regarding:

  • Candidacy
  • Procedure details
  • Recovery
  • Results


Liposuction and abdominoplasty are both surgical procedures, so patients considering either treatment must be in good overall health. As with any cosmetic surgery, preferred candidates are non-smokers, as smoking increases the risk of complications.

In order for a plastic surgeon to determine if you are a better candidate for abdominal lipo or a tummy tuck, the treatment area must be physically examined. If you have loose, hanging skin and/or damaged abdominal muscles, you are likely a good candidate for a tummy tuck. If stubborn abdominal fat is the reason for your cosmetic concerns, you will likely be advised to undergo abdominal lipo.

Procedure Details

Both abdominal contouring surgeries require anesthesia to ensure the patient remains comfortable. Abdominoplasty requires general anesthesia, while liposuction can often be performed with intravenous sedation and local anesthetic.

During an abdominal lipo procedure, small incisions will be made, so a thin, hollow tube called a cannula can be inserted. Unwanted fat is then extracted via the cannula using a specialized suction device.

A tummy tuck incision is longer, extending horizontally from one hip bone to the other. Once the incision is made, the plastic surgeon can repair damaged muscles, excise loose skin, and remove minor amounts of fat. The incision will be closed with sutures to complete the procedure.


A dedicated recovery period involving downtime and physical activity restrictions is necessary with both procedures. However, since abdominal liposuction is a minimally invasive procedure, recovery times are shorter than with abdominoplasty.


Patients who prioritize weight management can enjoy long-lasting results with abdominal lipo and tummy tuck procedures. Because pregnancy can negatively impact abdominal contouring results, women are typically advised to wait until their family is complete before undergoing a tummy tuck or abdominal lipo procedure.

Can a Tummy Tuck Be Combined with Abdominal Lipo?

For some patients, the best abdominal contouring option is a combination procedure that pairs abdominal lipo and abdominoplasty. When patients have both a significant amount of abdominal fat, as well as excess skin and/or separated abdominal muscles, combining these two procedures is often necessary to achieve an optimal outcome.

Find Out if Abdominal Lipo or a Tummy Tuck Is Right for You

If you are considering abdominal lipo or tummy tuck surgery in Monterey, reach out to the office of board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. David T. Morwood to schedule a consultation. Dr. Morwood is a renowned provider of body plastic surgery whose personalized treatment approach and advanced surgical skill allow him to deliver exceptional abdominal contouring results.



Out of Town? Visit Monterey for Your Next Surgery

Out of Town?

Visit Monterey for
Your Next Surgery

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