Do I Need Liposuction or a Tummy Tuck? Is Cryolipo or Thermage an Option?

I had my son a year ago and I hope to get back to my pre-pregnancy body if possible. I gained 36 lbs and lost most of it except for 2 lbs. The extra weight is stuck on my upper and lower abdomen, and flanks. I didn't get stretch marks but my skin seems a little looser than before. I wouldn't trade this tummy for a big scar from a tummy tuck unless it was my best option. Should I go for liposuction or would it leave me flabby? I was also considering Cryolipo and thermage which are non invasive.

Doctor Answers 11

Tummy Tuck vs Lipo

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Of course there is only so much I can tell you without actually examining you.  The greatest issue for you is how much of the bulge in your lower belly is from fat versus bulging muscle.  It is common to develop a separation of the vertical abdominal (Rectus) muscles in the abdomen with pregnancy which will cause a bulge...but this isn't always the cause.  Often there is a thickness of lower abdominal fat that can add to this appearance.  There are situations where simple liposuction can alleviate this issue- yet sometimes a significant improvement isn't possible without repairing the muscle.  It looks to me from the photos like the quality of your skin isn't bad so I'd suspect that liposuction can give you a good enough result and that a tummy-tuck is likely more than you need.  Again, an exam would be necessary to give you definitive information. I hope this helps.  Scott Newman, MD FACS

Liposuction vs tummy tuck or CoolSculpting

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You would need an examination to determine if there is a laxity of the stomach muscle wall which would need an abdominoplasty vs. just localized fat that can be reduced with liposuction .   Zeltiq's CoolSculpting can reduce fat 20% withou surgery and the treatment can be done as a series of treatments.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Many patients ask if they would benefit more from liposuction or a tummy tuck.

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Many patients ask if they would benefit more from liposuction or a tummy tuck. From the picture shown, liposuction would be the better approach. A tummy tuck leaves a large scar and is better for those with a serious loss of elasticity, or those who need muscle tightening. Cryo-lipo, or cool sculpting may also help but would require several treatments.

William P. Coleman III, MD
Metairie Dermatologic Surgeon

Liposuction or Tummy Tuck

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Without examining you, it is impossible to give you specific advice.  However, based on your pictures, it appears that you would benefit from liposuction.  However, if you have very loose skin, then tummy tuck would be a better option.


Good Luck.

Liposuction should do well for your abdomen and flanks.

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Liposuction should give you good results without having to get the scarring from a tummy tuck.  Thermage is always an option after liposuction if you need it but do the lipo first.  Cryolipo has not shown to make any dramatic changes as far as what i have seen of it.  Expect to pay around $5000-6000 for lipo and don't risk the cheapy lipos since you will regret the results.   Sincerely,

David Hansen,MD

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Tummy tuck or liposuction (YES). Thermage or cryolipo (NO).

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You are one of those patients who can do well with either surgical option, depending on your goals. I assume you are done with your family, or I would eliminate tummy tuck from your option list (Why tighten things up only to re-stretch your skin and muscles with subsequent pregnancies? Certainly possible, but not advised!)

If you really want your tight flat abdominal muscles back, even after one pregnancy there is abdominal wall stretching, and muscle repair would be done at the time of excess skin removal and tightening (tummy tuck). This would give you the best and most dramatic improvement and restore your body to pre-pregnancy parameters! But, at the expense of a bigger operation, long bikini-line and tiny belly button scars, and more cost. For many women this is the only real option after childbirth, as the issue is loose skin and muscles, NOT excess fat!

However, in your case you have lost most of the excess fat, you have good skin tone without stretch marks or extensive laxity, and the localized fatty tissues in the lower abdomen can be (probably--physical examination in person is needed) liposuctioned with high likelihood of a very reasonable result. Not quite as dramatic as a tummy tuck, but with less cost and scars!

Thermage and cryolipo will cause more loss in your wallet than in your body. Not enough improvement to be in my arsenal--I prefer happy patients to excuses! Enough said there, but look up these modalities on this site and also look up the "Worth It" rating--you'll see what I mean. There are no guarantees, but Dr. Blinski has a point--find out what happens if there is no visible improvement or you are unhappy. Is it money's gone--tough bananas, or is there a policy of fee applied to surgery? Also, make sure you are consulting ABPS-certified plastic surgeons, not "bogus-boarded" cosmetic surgeons who have little or no surgical training and are not fully-qualified plastic surgeons! Ask about touch-up or revisional surgery costs, and who pays for what.

So, one option is to go all-in and ask for the tummy tuck. If I were you, however, I would probably consider ultrasonic (Vaser) liposuction of the abdomen and hip rolls ("love handles" or flanks, depending on how you describe this area). This will give you a nice improvement and still preserve the ability to undergo a tummy tuck later if you so desire! See the link below for an example like you. Best wishes!

Choices between tummy tuck and liposuction

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You look like one of those few postpregnancy patients who could do well with liposuction and avoid the scar and recovery of a tummy tuck.  You wouldn't be quite as tight and flat but it could be an improvement.  Make sure to see an excellent plastic surgeon for a proper exam and opinion.

Tummy tuck vs liposuction

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Without an exam it is hard to say. You may be  a very good candidate for liposuction, remember it will not tighten the muscles that more than likely have become weak from the pregnancy.

Do I Need Liposuction or a Tummy Tuck? Is Cryolipo or Thermage an Option?

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Thanks for the posted photos. I recommend Smart lipo Triplex + lipo as a good choice. Cryo lipo or thermage may help but ask for a guarantee. 

Which technique you chose depends on what you are looking for

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Liposuction will give you a nice reduction in the fullness in your waist (hip area) and your abdomen. It will not, regardless of the technique used for liposuction giver you any significant reduction in skin laxity. Your photos show quit a bit off laxity and if you wish to reduce this laxity which is in the lower abdomen and the upper abdomen, you will need a surgical skin reduction procedure. I imagine you would do well with a full tummy tuck. It is some what difficult to be absolutely sure that you have enough laxity to warrant a full tummy tuck with out examining you but that would be my guess. 

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