Can Liposuction Get Rid of Paunch Look?

I have had major abdominal surgery with a scar that runs from above the pubic bone to below the breast plate. The result (aside from the good news of still being around) is that I now have a "paunch" which I never have had before.

Is it possible and/or safe to have liposuction to reduce the paunch look? I have been exercising, and am not particularly heavy (6 ft. 180lbs.) but nothing seems to reduce the "look."


Doctor Answers 9

Liposuction for a paunch

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You will need a consultation to determine by examination if there is a hernia before anyone should consider liposuction for you. Traumatic scars may improve by performing liposuction underneath them, similar to subcision, a procedure that can loosen the overlying scar attachments. If your major traumatic event displaced bowel and some loops of the intestines are able to glide in and out of the muscular wall's defect, then liposuction might damage this bowel and there could be serious complications. It is possible though, that there can be improvement in the scar and the paunch.

Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Scar revision and liposuction for correction of vertical abdominal scar and fatty paunch

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Very commonly this requires a combination of procedures which may include a scar revision in which a layered repair is performed to lessen the appearance of the depressed scar which can exaggerate the appearance of the "paunch". We commonly perform this procedure in women who have undergone a vertical c-section.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Liposuction of the abdomen

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It is very possible that liposuction may obtain the results you desire. However, without an exam, it is impossible to say. A plastic surgeon will be able to examine you and give you a very good idea if you are a good candidate for the procedure. In appropriate candidates, liposuction is a very safe and effective procedure. Good luck!

Dean Fardo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Can liposuction get rid of paunch look?

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Whenever approaching ANYONE with a paunch / pooch in the midline with a liposuction cannula (tube), the surgeon should be very careful.

True. It could be a fat pocket. But - worse yet - it could be an abdominal wall weakness / hernia with or without a few loops of intestine waiting under the skin to a "visit" from the liposuction cannula.

When you state that the paunch is associated with a surgical scar that spans from the Xyphoid (center of rib junction) to pubis (as is done in exploratory laparatomies or repair of the aorta, the major blood vessel in the body), the alarm bells SHOULD BE at their loudest.

I would not do anything without a CT or MRI scan to tell us that you do not have an un-recognized hernia just under the scar. If you have one, you would benefit much more from a hernia repair, an Abdominoplasty, even a Component Separation technique than a potentially lethal liposuction.

If the coast is clear and the fat was localized, liposuction would not hurt you.

Good Luck.

Peter A Aldea, MD

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

It depends on whether the fat is inside or outside the abdominal wall.

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If the fat is in the skin on the outside of the muscular abdominal wall, then liposuction may help. However, if the fat is inside the abdominal wall it won't. 

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Liposuction for paunch after abdominal surgery

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Whether or not liposuction will help depends on the cause of your paunch:

1) It's possible, but not probable, that the "paunch" is an isolated fat pocket. If that's the case, then liposuction will help. The results will be good if your skin doesn't have many stretch marks, not so good if it does.

2) If the paunch is the result of laxity (looseness) of the abdominal wall muscles, which can happen after laparotomy (intra-abdominal surgery), liposuction won't help at all. You need a procedure which tightens the abdominal wall muscles.

3) The paunch could be a hernia. Liposuction won't help a hernia. Only a hernia repair helps a hernia.

4) The paunch could be skin and fat re-draping around a tethered abdominal scar. An extensive scar revision would be needed to help with that.

Ultimately, liposuction probably isn't the right option for you. Your best bet is consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon for a thorough evaluation.

Hope this helps. All the best.

Liposuction after abdominal surgery

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My guess is that liposuctioning will not help you that much. Unless I am wrong, it sounds like there is adherent scar in the midline and the skin and fat is drooping from the left and right sides of the scar. If there is mostly fat there liposuctioning will help but if there is excess skin you will get minimal improvement. It is difficult to tell without seeing you.

John P. Stratis, MD
Harrisburg Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Liposcution can help the paunch

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Dear Earl,

Liposuction can help the fat thickness of the abdomen but it sounds like you may have more going on than this. After surgery your muscle may have lost a lot of tone and this adds to the the laxity or paunch that you notice. If you have gotten back in shape and toned your muscle then some thing else may need to be considered such as plication of the muscle or making sure there is not a hernia.

A plastic surgeon that sees you in person should be able to give you an idea of where your paunch is coming from. Keep exercising and toning the abdominal muscles and this will help your surgeon know what to do.

Best Wishes

Dr. Peterson

Marcus L. Peterson, MD
Saint George Plastic Surgeon

Abdominal liposuction

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I am having a bit of trouble envisioning what you are describing. Possibly you have an indented vertical midline abdominal scar. If this is the case, you can revise the scar and make it flat. Otherwise, if you are healthy now and is there is some extra fat with good skin tone, liposuction might help you. Make sure to see a Board Certified plastic surgeon so they can sort all options out for you.

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.