Post-Baby, Can I Do Liposuction or Do I Need a Tummy Tuck?

I am a 29 year old mom of three. I am 5'2" and currently 136 lbs, my waist 37" presently. I have a 5 week old son and normally are 128-130 lbs. I have a lot of stretch marks and loose skin below belly button and stretch marks along the sides. My belly button is also misshapen. I want a flatter more contoured stomach to match my active lifestyle. I am OK with living with stretch marks and am more concerned with how I look in clothing versus naked or in a bikini. Will a reputable doctor do lipo?

Doctor Answers 12

Your babies stretched your abdomen; liposuction is a mistake!

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Your loose skin and stretched abdominal wall tissues will not become firm or taut with liposuction, which only further "empties" your already-flabby skin. A "prune-belly" appearance can occur, and THEN you will not have any doubt as to what operation is necessary!

Furthermore, liposuction will not tighten your abdominal wall fascia (the "gristle" layer that surrounds your six-pack muscles and was stretched by your pregnancies); only tummy tuck and muscle repair (rectus sheath plication) will restore the abdominal tone and flatten your abdominal wall at the same time your excess skin is removed and the rest tightened.

For an example of a patient of mine who underwent liposuction (elsewhere) and then came to me for the tummy tuck she really needed, click on the link below. This could be you if you (incorrectly) choose liposuction!

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Liposuction versus Tummy Tuck after Babies

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Dear Heatherm716,

You are an ideal candidate for tummy tuck.  This procedure is usually performed with some liposuction as well.  In addition to removing fat, a tummy tuck removes redundant or extra skin, and tightens the abdominal muscular wall, neither or which is affected by liposuction alone.

Please consult with a few doctors certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Best of luck! 

Gerald Minniti, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 100 reviews

You need both

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Tummy tuck is the procedure of choice based on the photo you provided. You have some excess skin and anterior muscle laxity. These will be addressed with tummy tuck. You will however, need liposuction to the waist area. So a combination of tummy tuck and liposuction is the answer to your question. Your plastic surgeon will be able advise you about both procedures. 

Moneer Jaibaji, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

A tummy tuck may be better

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Liposuction can get rid of fat deposits in your mid section, however it will leave you with more visible loose skin (as your photos show that you do have a bit of loose skin in your mid section). To address loose skin and excess fat, then a tummy tuck would be better suited to address your concerns. You may also need to see if muscle plication is necessary. Please see an experienced board certified plastic surgeon for a physical examination of your concerns, as it is difficult to provide a suitable treatment based on photos alone. 

Please wait at least 6 months after you've stopped breastfeeding before proceeding with surgery.

Tummy tuck vs. liposuction

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The abdominal contour changes commonly seen after pregnancy are usually best addressed with an abdominoplasty or "tummy tuck." This procedure not only removes excess skin and fat but also serves to tighten up the muscle layer which has been stretched during pregnancy.  This combination leads to a flatter abdomen and a more youthful contour.  If you are considering having more children it is best to wait until you have completed your family as pregnancy after abdominoplasty will potentially "undo" the correction.  Liposuction is not indicated in your case based on the pictures you have shared. Liposuction works best with good skin tone and serves to remove excess fat deposition.

LipoSuction and Tummy Tuck for mommy makeover

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You will not be satisfied with liposuction only to contour you belly. After 3 pregnancies, your abdominal wall is strectched out, the sit-up muscles are likely seperated and the bulging you see is NOT just extra fat. A tummy tuck in addition to lipo-contouring will give you the best result:

  1. Flat tummy and better belly button shape
  2. Gets rid of many stretch marks and extra roll of skin that you see when you sit
  3. Realigns the muscles, which may also help your core feel stronger - a real bonus when you have an active lifestsyle!
  4. Simultaneous liposuction will shape your hips and waist for a really smooth look

Still too early to do this, though. Wait at least 3 months to allow your body to recover forn delivery and to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight. Remember to choose a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Good luck!

You need a tummy tuck

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You're a perfect candidate for a tummy tuck. Your photos reveals looseness of the abdominal wall muscles, excess skin and fat, and stretch marks. Liposuction would ultimately give you the appearance of having more loose skin and a residual abdominal bulge.

Let's face it: if every patient had a choice, they would avoud the incisions and downtime associated with a tummy tuck. That being said, for your constellation of physical findings, it will certainly give you the best results.

Hope this helps. Best of luck.

The tummy tuck is for you

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Only the tummy tuck will tighten the muscular foundation and correct the skin laxity from your pregnancy. The muscular repair will be a very important part of your procedure to restore the contour and tone. Your surgeon should also be able to use liposuction over the hip during the tummy tuck to smooth the transition and enhance the contour.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Lipo vs abdominoplasty

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I think that based upon your photos,  your abdomen would benefit most from  a full tummy tuck. It would tighten the muscles and flatten the abdomen. The loose skin and umbilcus would also be improved.  Good luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Tummy tuck will help

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It is too early after your pregnancy to discuss surgery. You will need to have tummy tuck to remove the stretch marks,tighten the abdominal muscle and do some liposuction. Liposuction by itself will not work.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 152 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.