Which has more risk? Tummy tuck or liposuction?

Hi I'm originally scheduled to have tummy tuck with lipo of flanks, but considering just getting tummy tuck to avoid liposuction risks. Which is more riskier tummy tuck or liposuction?

Doctor Answers 12

Tummy Tuck vs Lipo Risks

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Thank you for your question. It is difficult to tell without any photos. However, any cosmetic surgery has risks. It is hard to tell someone which procedure will be more risky for them with out a physical consultation. Schedule a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon and get some opinions. Best of luck!

Dhaval M. Patel 

Double Board Certified 

Plastic Surgeon 

Hoffman Estates 




Hoffman Estates Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 100 reviews

Which has more risk? Tummy tuck or liposuction?

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Both carry risks. Consult with a board certified plastic surgeon to discuss your options and risks associated with surgery. 


Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 518 reviews

Liposuction vs Tummytuck

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Hard to advise without photos. Liposuction is ideal for well defined areas of fat unaffected by diet and exercise. Tummytuck addresses redundant skin and fat and also tightens stretched abdominal wall muscles after pregnancy. Risks are similar. Consult with a board certified plastic surgeon to assist with your decision

Robert M. Tornambe, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Risks of surgery

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A full abdominoplasty is quite a large operation and generally carries more risk than liposuction. I believe the extra risk of adding liposuction to the flanks is quite small while it can add greatly to your contour improvement with an abdominoplasty.

Ira H. Rex lll, MD
Fall River Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Lipo vs tummy tuck

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A tummy tuck procedure is generally a riskier procedure in comparison to liposuction however both procedures address different things. Seeing that your physician suggested a tummy tuck with liposuction of the flanks, I am assuming that liposuction alone as a procedure for you would not give you the result you are looking for. A tummy tuck procedure will tighten any excess skin and muscles leaving you with a flat rejuvenated look of your abdomen. The liposuction to the flanks will enhance your natural contours of your body. Adding flank liposuction to a tummy tuck is common. James Lee

James Lee, MD
Montreal Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Risks of tummy tuck and liposuction

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Combined operations often have more risk than any one operation alone. Liposuction in general has less risk than tummy tuck. There have been some reports in the literature that state that liposuction with tummy tuck increases the risk. However, this is generally when the liposuction is done in the same area of the abdomen. Liposuction in that area must be done very carefully and there are recent papers that show it is possible to suction even in the mid abdomen at same time as tummy tuck if certain blood vessels are preserved. Liposuction of the flanks is a different area and is very commonly done with tummy tuck. In fact, I almost consider it part of the procedure as I often use liposuction at the edges to keep the incision a bit shorter. Altough a plastic surgeon can never say there is no risk, I think you should not be worried about some liposuction of the flanks at same time as abdominoplasty.

Which is riskier, tummy tuck or liposuction?

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In general, a tummy tuck is a much bigger or more involved surgery and carries high or more risks than liposuction alone.  

Todd C. Case, MD
Tucson Plastic Surgeon


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Relative risk between there two procedures should not be an issue because they should both be low. If you are in the position of asking this question, see a different surgeon!

Leland Deane, MD, FACS
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Increased Risks of Tummy Tuck and liposuction

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Great question. In my opinion, it is very reasonable to have liposuction and a tummy tuck at the same time.  If the liposuction is well planned then the risk of complications is not increased.  An example of a poor plan would be to liposuction of your abdomen, upper and lower back as well as the flanks plus a tummy tuck.  This will increase the possibility of healing complications.  Please seek several opinions from board certified plastic surgeons. Best wishes.

Risk of tummy tuck vs. liposuction

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It all depends on the extent of the liposuction as well as whether or not it's performed with local anesthesia or general anesthesia or IV sedation.  In general, procedures under local anesthesia carry less anesthesia risk.  If both procedures are done under general anesthesia or IV sedation, then the tummy tuck probably carries more surgical risk as this is a more invasive procedure.  The chances of postop complications like blood clot, infection, bleeding are higher.  Cosmetically, the complication risk are similar.  Having said that, both procedure are very safe when performed by a well-trained surgeon in the appropriate surgical setting on the appropriate patient.  The only way to know for sure in your specific case is to go in for 1 or 2 consultations with a board certified plastic surgeon to see what is best for you.  Good luck!

Elan B. Singer, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 26 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.