I am a 53 yr. old woman, 5'8" and weigh 175 lbs. Liposuction or Tummy Tuck?

I am a 53 yr. old woman, 5'8" and weigh 175 lbs. I am having a hard time deciding between liposuction or a tummy tuck for my "belly rolls" any suggestions?

Doctor Answers 20

Tummy tuck or liposuction

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If you have fullness in the area of the abdomen with tight skin, liposuction alone will give a nice shape. On the other hand, if your abdominal skin is loose or hanging, usually after pregnancy or large weight loss, an abdominoplasty (which removes the excess skin) is the only way to get a really nice looking shape. Frequently after pregnancy, abdominal muscles are loose. The abdominoplasty tightens loose muscles to allow a much flatter abdomen. "Belly rolls" frequently refers to extra skin as well as fat, so the best looking result when  this is the case would be from an abdominoplasty. Find before photos of patients that look like you, see what they did and how it looks.

Lipo or Tummy Tuck?

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Liposuction and tummy tucks are procedures which were designed for different problems.  Excess fat under the skin is well treated by liposuction.  Excess skin of the abdomen and loose muscles are best treated with a tummy tuck.  From your age, height and weight I would suspect that you have a bit of both problems...hence the dilemna. Liposuction alone would remove the excess fat and perhaps leave you with some loose skin or contour irregularites.  A tummy tuck alone would leave you with less loose skin and a flatter tummy but probably some excess fat in the upper abdomen or waist line.  Neither of these is a perfect solution.  You should be very open with your surgeon about what you want and expect as a final outcome so you can get the best advice. A newer procedure that combines the two is called a lipo-abdominoplasty.  This is a very effective procedure in addressing all concerns expressed but should be performed by a board certified Plastic Surgeon with experience with this technique.

George Bitar, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Tummy Tuck vs Liposuction

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Without photos of your exact condition, I can only offer general information, but the condition and amount of your abdominal skin will determine whether just liposuction alone or with a tummy tuck would give you the best result.  Liposuction works best when the skin is pretty firm without much excess, and so after suction removal of fat, the skin flattens back against the deeper layers of your abdominal wall.  If the skin is too loose, such as when you notice real belly rols or folds, then following liposuction by itself you might end up with rippling, dimpling, even folds, so then a tummy tuck would be best added to remove and tailor the skin of your belly wall creating a smoother, trimmer contour.  Also, stretched out abdominal muscles can be contributing to the forward bulge of your belly and would need to be tightened with a tummy tuck.  On condition that can NOT be corrected either with a tummy tuck or liposuction is excess intraabdominal or visceral fat, inside the abdominal cavity around your organs.  This can only be reduced through exercise and dieting.

Richard G. Schwartz, MD
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

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Tummy tuck or liposuction?

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Without photos, my assessment is just a calculated guess, but at 5 ft 8 inches and 175 pounds and 53 years old, I would think you would be better served with a tummy tuck.

It's best to think of a liposuction as a procedure for removing fat, although some tightening of skin does occur. If you have excess skin with stretch marks, which indicates a loss of elasticity, or skin overhanging your lower abdomen, or even if the skin is more than a liposuction will tighten, you would be best served with a tummy tuck. Most tummy tucks also require some liposuction too. A TT enables the plastic surgeon to tighten the underlying rectus muscles, which have often separated. This reduces the protuberance of the abdomen, particularly the lower abdomen. This cannot be done with a liposuction.

This is a decision for your plastic surgeon. Rarely, but occasionally, I have had a perfect patient for a TT that still chooses a liposuction only because of limited time for recovery or limited funds. Iiposuction still helps them because it reduces their size, but it doesn't help as much, or in my opinion, enough. The patients that have chosen this route have been reasonably happy though, maybe because they look better in their cloths. The TT can be done at a later date, if necessary.

The bottom line:

1. Only excess fat - you need only the liposuction

2. Excess fat and skin - requires a tummy tuck for the best result

3. Loose rectus muscles - requires a TT.

Liposuctions usually accompany Tummy Tucks as mentioned. Your plastic surgeon should help you with these decisions.

Good luck.



Tummy tuck vs liposuction

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This is difficult to answer without seeing photos, but basically if you have loose, excess skin with stretch marks then a tummy tuck is best. If you have good skin tone and elasticity with minimal stretch marks, then liposuction may improve your contour. Due to your age, I would suspect a tummy tuck with perhaps some liposuction to the flanks (love handles) would give the best result, but you will need to consult with a plastic surgeon in person for a detailed examination and evaluation.

Best wishes,


William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 410 reviews

Tummy tuck or lipo

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Without photos it is impossible to say which procedure is better for you.  However, if you have rolls of skin on your tummy,  or if there are stretch marks, you are likely a better candidate for the tummy tuck.  The tummy tuck is a more expensive procedure with a tougher recovery, but in almost every case, it has the advantage of giving you a flatter tummy.

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Excess fat versus excess laxity

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Thank you for the question.  Although we discuss liposuction and tummy tuck as procedures that can accomplish comparable results they are really designed to address tow separate issues.  Liposuction is ideally suited to reduce excess fat without addressing excess laxity while a tummy tuck is designed to address excess laxity.  If laxity is an issue a tummy tuck will be your best option.

All the best,

Dr Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Abdominal Contouring- Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck

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The answer to your question is dependent on your skin elasticity, the amount of excess abdominal skin and your personal goals.  Liposuction works well with patients who have good skin elasticity, are not overweight, and do not have excess “overhanging” skin.  Tummy tucks are preferred for patients who have loose, excess skin and underlying muscle laxity which may have resulted from pregnancy or weight fluctuations.  An important consideration is that scarring from liposuction is minimal, and tummy tucks often require long scars on the lower abdomen/bikini line.  Without photos it is difficult to assess your specific situation.  I would suggest that you consult with a board certified plastic surgeon.  Good luck!

Mark Schwartz, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon

Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

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Abdominal liposuction has a higher incidence of rippling and wrinkling than other areas.  Liposuction of the tummy, if there is significant excess skin, can empty the skin envelope and cause a worsening in the appearance of the abdominal "apron."


For the right candidate abdominal liposuction may be reasonable; abdominoplasty is quite reliable and offers a powerful tool for abdominal contouring.  Be sure you are at your best weight before considering either procedure, and consult a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.  Be sure to see a comprehensive portfolio of pre- and post-op pictures so you can see what types of results are reasonable. 

Liposuction or Tummy Tuck

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This is a very common question in our practice. Basically, liposuction removes excess fat and tummy tuck removes excess skin. You can combine both procedure as lipoabdominoplasty. The best way to see if you are a candidate, is to see a board certified plastic surgeon who can offer both procedure. Good luck

Stanley Okoro, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 168 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.