44 Yr Old, No Kids, Relatively Fit - Lipoabdominalplasty or Mini Tummy Tuck?

44 yr old female, no children, eat healthy and workout several times a week - but would like to get rid of accumulation of fat around torso (love handles and abdominal area).I am probably about 10-15 lbs over my "ideal" weight. Am concerned about the lumpy bumpy problem I hear about with lipo, but not sure that I really need a tummy tuck. Also always concerned about the health risk of any surgery, wondering if one procedure is "safer" than the other.

Doctor Answers 11

Tummy Tuck vs Lipo vs Non Surgical Fat Reduction and Skin Tightening

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It is hard to give you accurate advice without any pictures. I would recommend that you get a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon so he/she can examine you and give you the best answer. A tummy tuck will help you with sagging skin, while liposuction targets the fat around that area.
Typically, candidates for a tummy tuck are patients who are healthy but have EXCESS SKIN OR FAT that does not respond to diet and exercise, as is in your case. Patients who have undergone SIGNIFICANT WEIGHT LOSS and have hanging skin. Women with loose skin and stretch marks FOLLOWING PREGNANCY. Anyone with LOSS OF SKIN ELASTICITY. Patients who are unable to tighten the abdominal wall with exercise. If you have loose or sagging abdominal wall skin; often associated with relaxation of the anterior abdominal wall muscles (frequently secondary to multiple pregnancies). 
You may also want to consider non-surgical options such as fat reduction using ultrasound (#UltraShape) or Radiofrequency (#Vanquish), Freezing (Cool Sculpt) together with skin tightening (Velashape).

Mini Tummy Tuck or Lipo

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I cannot answer your question without examining you and looking at photos. I would want to determine the elasticity of your skin, the amount of fat present and whether you have stretch marks. I consultation would be very informative for you.

Richard Linderman, MD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon

Lipo vs tummy tuck

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A photo would have be helpful to determine which procedure you are a good candidate for. Since you have not had any children and are in good shape, it may be possible that you do not need a tummy tuck. A tummy tuck involves repair of the rectus muscles (usually stretched from pregnancy) and removal of loose, excess skin in the abdominal region. A tummy tuck will require more recovery time and is the more invasive procedure of the two. Consult with a board certified plastic surgeon to discuss the best and safest possible option for you.

On this site, I do my best to give advice without a physical examination but I want you to know that a physical examination by a board certified physician is always the best way to get the most accurate information.

Lipo versus Tummy Tuck

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This is a good question.  It would be more helpful if you post pictures of your "before."  However, the general rule is that if you have loose skin, then you need a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty).  If you only have fat, but your skin has good elasticity, then liposuction is what you need.  However, every patient is different.  So, without seeing pictures or examining you in person, it is impossible for us to give you specific advice.


Good Luck.

Liposuction or Tummy tuck

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Whether or not you need a tummy tuck or just benefit from liposuction is mostly dependent on the prsence or absence of losse skin. You state that you are 44 years old, work out and never had any children. Thsi scenario suggets that you probably don't have excess skin although pictures would be helpful.I would suggets that you be examined a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who should easily be able to tell you liposuction or tummy tuck.

Abdominoplasty or liposuction decision making

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Its impossible to answer this question without a couple of photos to look at. A mini tummy tuck addresses loose skin, fat and laxity of the abdominal wall from about the belly button position and below. Very few patients are good candidates for this procedure.

Should I have Liposuction or Tummy Tuck?

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This is one of the most common questions in my practice. If you have excess skin, stretch marks, or abdominal wall laxity (fullness in the lower abdomen), then the best result will be achieved with a tummy tuck. If you have excess fat with good skin quality and no stretch marks, then liposuction is an excellent procedure. The lumpy bumpy abdomen can be avoided by an experienced board certified plastic surgeon. It is impossible to eliminate all the fat from the abdomen with liposuction, this results in the lumpy bumpy appearance. Hope this helps, Frank Agullo, El Paso, Texas.

There are risks to every surgery

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At age 44 with no children and exercising several times a week it is likely that you would be a candidate for liposuction.  The limiting factor will be the elasticity of your abdominal skin.  Consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon will either confirm your eligibility or steer you towards a tummy tuck.  The "lumpy bumpy" effect that you mention is a risk of any liposuction procedure, regardless of the technique used.  Good luck!

Tummy tuck vs abdominal liposuction

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Liposuction addresses the excess fat accumulation whereas a tummy tuck/mini tummy tuck are procedures used to remove excess and lax skin. Photographs would be somewhat helpful to better determine what your condition may be.

The procedure chosen should be based on if can address your particular issue. Both of these procedures when carefully performed by board certified plastic surgeons and given your apparent low medical risk, should be relatively safe with a very low risk of major problems. Of course, there can always be aesthetic shortcomings.

You should contact a board certified plastic surgeon to obtain more information including what procedure(s) would be best for you. 

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Decision depends on condition of skin

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The first question is whether you need a tummy tuck.  If your skin tone is reasonable and you don't have a lot of stretch marks, you may do just fine with liposuction alone (if you can grap a roll and shake it up and down, you may be better to have a tummy tuck).  Contour irregularities sometimes happen with liposuction.  The most important factor in preventing them is the skill and experience of your surgeon, so you want to go to an experienced plastic surgeon.  I also use ultrasound, which I think helps, but it is secondary to surgical proficiency.  Both procedures, lipo and tummy tuck, can be very safely performed by an experienced surgeon in an accredited facility.  I personally prefer an unconscious IV sedation for both procedures because it is so safe and avoids some of the things that go with a traditional anesthetic (intubation, gas, paralysis, and a ventilator).  If you are in doubt, go with the liposuction.  You can always return for a tummy tuck.  Incidentally, a "mini-tummy tuck" is usually not sufficient.  If you need a tummy tuck, you are usually better to have a full tummy tuck.  I talk much more about this on my website.

Eric Swanson, MD
Kansas City Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.