Is Liposuction Necessary when Having Tummy Tuck?

I have had several consultations with different plastic surgeons about having a Tummy Tuck done. Two of the plastic surgeons told me that they would just do the Tummy Tuck, without Liposuction as it can be dangerous if done at the same time. Two other plastic surgeons said that they would do Liposuction to the flanks, and also right under my rib cage, above my belly button. I am really confused! I am going back to the one ps who said he would do both at the same time and ask him more questions about it. I just want to be safe. Is Liposuction really necessary? Or can some area already be tightened with just Tummy Tuck?

Doctor Answers 16

Tummy Tuck - With or Without Liposuction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Recent reports state that conservative liposuction with a tummy tuck(abdominoplasty) does not significantly increase the risks to the patient or the flap. This surgery is never necessary and you ultimately have the decision on what surgery is performed.

If your surgeon is recommending liposuction and has the experience performing liposuction with a tummy tuck, I would follow his recommendations.

Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon

Liposuction and a tummy tuck

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

This is a very interesting topic. Textbooks have stated that it is risky to perform abdominal liposuction at the same time as a tummy tuck, but recent plastic surgery articles have discounted this. In my practice, I'll liposuction the flanks only with a tummy tuck to help preserve the blood supply to the abdominal skin. The feeling is that extensive liposuction above the belly button could disrupt the blood supply to the skin flap. A little liposuction would probably be fine, but I would be hesitant to perform aggressive liposuction above the belly button at the same time as a tummy tuck. You can always go back later (3-6) months for liposuction after the blood supply has been re-established to the abdominal skin after your tummy tuck.

Liposuction Is Often A Component of Tummy Tuck

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Tummy Tuck surgery typically combines a number of surgical tools. Liposuction is but one of many better surgeons use to help with their sculpture. For my Tumescent Tummy Tuck, the liposuction is an element of my artist's pallet of tools to sculpt the body.

With undermined tissues, liposuction done poorly can increase the risk of tissue loss. When used approprately, it is a feathering tool for the transition zones.

Liposuction is not a replacement for weight loss. Weight loss before surgery is typically better than weight loss after.

Hope this helps.

Michael Bermant, MD (retired)
Virginia Plastic Surgeon

You might also like...

Abdominoplasty and liposuction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

There are many issues here which are too complex to answer completely in this format but I will try to simplify.

  1. Some physcians have concerns with any combination of the procedures and feel that there is an elevated risk of deep venous thrombosis. This, at one time in the past, let the Florida State Health officials to limit performing these combinations to hospitals or surgery centers only; this moratorium has since been lifted.
  2. Many physicians are reluctant to perform liposuction on areas that are lifted during the surgery especially the central and upper portions of the belly. This can cause a compromise of the blood supply and lead to healing problems. Less controversial is liposuction of the flanks (an area that is not lifted). Liposuction of the thighs, arms etc. is generally considered acceptable but does vary among surgeons and may depend on the extent of the abdominoplasty.
  3. Liposuction is generally considered an integral part of mini-abdominoplasty in which the upper and central parts of the abdomen are not lifted up.

This is extremely oversimplified and is essentially a summary of the most relevant points in my opinion. I hope it helps.

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

With or without lipo

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Abdominoplasty can be performed without liposuction but liposuction may be necessary to obtain optimal results. While abdominoplasty removes excess skin and the underlying fat, it does not take care of surrounding fat which can be removed by liposuction. An evaluation will allow the surgeon to determine if liposuction needs to be performed with an abdominoplasty for optimal results.

Vijay K. Bindingnavele, MD, FACS
Corpus Christi Plastic Surgeon

Tummy tuck and lipo - two different procedures

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Thank you for the question. Tummy tuck and liposuction address different needs so it would help to conduct an in-person exam to give you an individualized answer. Keep in mind, however, that tummy tuck does not necessarily involve liposuction. These are two different procedures.

A tummy tuck offers the most effective way to correct loose skin and muscle separation in addition to eliminating excess fat. Liposuction will also remove fat, but it can't address flabby, hanging skin that typically persists after weight loss. For this reason, many patients who have experienced a massive weight loss or recent pregnancy tend to opt for a tummy tuck. This procedure can also be combined with liposuction for maximum effect. 

As for discomfort, you will not experience any pain during the procedure itself since your plastic surgeon will use anesthesia. A tummy tuck will involve more bruising and a more prolonged recovery since it's a more invasive procedure. If you pick a qualified surgeon and carefully follow the post-op instructions, however, you should not experience any complications. 

The bottom line is a full tummy tuck will not only remove excess fatty tissue, but also eliminate excess skin and correct abdominal muscles that have been separated and weakened by lack of physical activity or pregnancy. 

An in-person exam with a board certified plastic surgeon is always the best way to fully assess your needs and address your concerns. Best of luck!

Michael M. Omidi, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 121 reviews

Is Liposuction Necessary when Having Tummy Tuck?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Thank you for the question.
Liposuction is a tool that is often used during the time of tummy tuck surgery. Different plastic surgeons utilize this tool differently; some are more “aggressive” than others. In my practice, I frequently utilize this tool to treat adipose tissue of the flanks and pubic areas during the tummy tuck procedures.
It will not hurt to discuss the pros/cons of liposuctioning with your plastic surgeon; simply ask for his rationale why feels it would be potentially helpful treating the areas you are concerned about.  
Best wishes.

Liposuction can be safe with Tummy Tuck

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I think each patient is different. Most patients can have some liposuction done at the same time as an Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) and liposuction to the upper abdomen is almost always done at the same time. The most important thing is safety for the patient. If I thought that it would be too risky then I would recommend that the liposuction be done at a separate procedure. One way to limit the risk with liposuction is to limit the amount of fat removal and the length of the procedure. I limit all of my procedures to 6 hours for patients that are going home and I get them moving as soon as possible after surgery.

Allen Clark III, MD
Montgomery Plastic Surgeon

Yes and No

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I consider myself a conservative and safe surgeon. Yes, liposuction can be performed on that abdominal flap in the superior abdomen at the time of abdominoplasty. However, this does run the risk of injuring the blood supply to the flap and thus increasing the risk of wound healing problems. In addition if the lower part of the flap is not or cannot be defatted than the result is more fullness in the lower abdomen which can give the appearance of an unfinished surgery.

However, liposuction of the flanks is totally safe and has no bearing on the blood supply of the abdominal flap. I aggressive remove the fat from this area which results in a very pleasing waist line.

Liposuction with abdominoplasty is safe if done correctly.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Hi! It sounds as if you do need liposuction. In New York City, we do abdominoplasty together with liposuction safely all the time. The key is how the tummy tuck is done.

We use a MINIMAL UNDERMINING abdominoplasty technique which does not damage the blood supply to the skin. This makes simultaneous liposuction safe.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

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.