Smart Lipo Better Than Tummy Tuck for Post Baby Belly?

I run 3-4 times a week and lift weights regularly, but I am unable to lose some of the fat from my pregnancy on my stomach. I also have some scar tissue associated with my c-section. Is Smart Lipo a better choice over a Tummy Tuck?

Doctor Answers 7

Smart Lipo vs. Tummy tuck

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There really is no comparison here. I would compare smart lipo and tumescent or tradition lipo. Tummy tuck removes skin and fat where liposuction removes fat only.

So if you have excess skin as you would after pregnancy then a tummy tuck is what you would need.

As far as smart lipo goes, it is not magic and no different results than traditional liposuction. You will see that there are dermatologist and so called cosmetic surgeons (dont know what a "cosmetic surgeon" is or does, there is no board for cosmetic surgery, just weekend courses) that push smart lipo over other surgical procedures and try to fit every patient into a smart lipo procedure. You need to understand that this is because dermatologist and "cosmetic surgeons" do these procedures in their office under local sedation with some oral sedative. They are not allowed to do "surgery" at a surgery center or hospital because they are not surgeons and really should not be performing liposuction, as it is real surgery. So make sure you are seeing a BOARD CERTIFIED PLASTIC SURGEON.

Good luck. Hope this helps shed some light on this topic.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Probably not

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Without seeing photos, it's hard to answer this question. That being said, most women who have had children have laxity (looseness) of the abdominal wall muscles, extra skin with poor elasticity, and some extra fat. You also mentioned scar tissue from your C-section.

Liposuction, whether it is Smart Lipo, Slim Lipo, ultrasound-assisted liposuction, power assisted liposuction, standard liposuction, etc., will not improve laxity of the abdominal wall or the abdominal wall scar tissue. Although a few surgeons claim a significant amount of skin tightening with Smart Lipo, it almost never is significant in women who have children, as much of the skin's elasticity has been compromised by pregnancy. Thus, liposuction will really only be beneficial is your only problem is isolated fat collections without extra skin or muscle laxity.

Your best bet is evaluation by a board-certified plastic surgeon, with experience in liposuction and tummy tucks. He or she can give you an honest assessment about the relative benefits of both operations.

Best of luck.

Smart Lipo is not better than Tummy Tuck for post baby belly

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Rebecca first you must understand WHY (Not so) Smart - lipo can never replace an abdominoplasty to correct "post baby belly".

As you know, the pregnancy results in a huge stretching of all the abdominal muscles which culminates in a true separation of the six pack (rectus) muscles in the midline creating the "diastasis". While being active is otherwise great for your health, it cannot and will not magically bring the muscles back to the center and fuse them together, the way they were before the baby(ies). ( Much like your husband borrowing your favorite blouse and wearing it for 9 months. Do you think it would fit you ever again without having to be taken in??)

You can see an illustration of this on my website at

A tummy tuck will formally flatten your abdomen, recover your hour glass shape, lift the pubic mound some and could even smooth the cellulite on your anterior thighs. NONE of these can be achieved by "Smart Lipo".

Liposuction removes fat. Period. It does not repair the muscle and cannot reverse any of the changes caused by pregnancy. Smart Lipo purports to shrink skin. I and many of my colleagues are still skeptical of such claims. I'll stop there. Search this site for some Smart Lipo stories.

If you completed your family and want to regain your figure and potentially even get one better than you had - Abdominoplasty is the way to go.

I hope this answered your question.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

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Smart Lipo Better Than Tummy Tuck for Post Baby Belly?

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Thank you for the question. Online consultants will be much specific to without viewing photographs or in-person evaluation. However, some general thoughts may be helpful to you.
For most patients who have had pregnancies and/or weight loss a full abdominoplasty is necessary to achieve the desired results. The tummy tuck operation serves to re approximate muscles that may have spread with pregnancy and/or weight gain/loss, remove "excess" skin/adipose tissue (often overhanging C-section scars) and further contour the abdominal wall, with tools such as liposuction surgery.
Generally speaking, the “ideal” patient for tummy tuck surgery is one who has completed pregnancies, is psycho socially/emotionally/financially stable, has an excellent social support system surrounding him/her, is capable of arranging enough recovery time, does not smoke and who has reached a long-term stable weight.
Of course, there are downsides (including a longer scar and probably a longer recovery time) but for most patients the benefits outweigh the downsides.
You will also hear/read about mini tummy tuck surgery. In my opinion/experience, the mini tummy tuck is an operation that produces very limited results and is very rarely indicated. It involves a shorter incision but does not address the majority of the abdominal wall issues present for most patients who present consultation. For example, the area of skin excised is quite small. The abdominal wall musculature is addressed below the umbilicus leaving the upper number wall potentially lax. The appearance of the umbilicus is not necessarily addressed sufficiently.
Again, for the vast majority of patients who have had pregnancies and/or weight loss a full abdominoplasty is necessary to achieve the desired results. When the time is right, seek consultation with board-certified plastic surgeons who can demonstrate significant experience helping patients achieve the types of outcomes you would be pleased with. You may find the attached link/video, dedicated to tummy tuck surgery concerns, helpful to you as you learn more. Best wishes.


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Smart or other forms of Liposuction are not a substitute but rather addresses a different problem than a TT. Liposuction is less invasive and quicker to recover from than a Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty). This is because liposuction only involves removing fat from beneath your skin. Your body will cause the overlying skin to contract only to the degree it is capable, often leaving redundant skin which can be unsightly. In other words, you need good elasticity to get a good result. So if you have some extra fat in your hips you would be a candidate for lipo.
A Tummy Tuck involves removing redundant skin and tightening the underlying muscles. Sometimes liposuction is combined as needed with a Tummy Tuck for the best possible result. Your photos suggest that you probably are a candidate for a Tummy Tuck. The question is whether the shape of your abdomen is affected by an excess of fat, skin, muscle separation or laxity, or some combination thereof. This can only be determined by examination, so go ahead and consult with a board certified plastic surgeon. Some of my patients elect to have liposuction first, and then opt for a Tummy Tuck if the results are not satisfying.

Tummy Tuck vs Smart or Slim Lipo

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A tummy tuck definitely gives you more versatility to remove excess skin, fat and tighten the underlying abdominal muscles.  Hence, it has the potential to give you the strongest results.  That doesn't mean everyone should have a tummy tuck over Slim or Smart Lipo.

Both Slim Lipo and Smart Lipo use laser to melt fat and tighten skin.  However the degree of tightening is more incremental compared to the amount you can tighten with a tummy tuck.  So the ideal candidate has good to moderate skin tone to begin with and does not require (or want) any muscle tightening.

Another in-between option is the mini-tummy tuck.  If your moderate laxity is limited to below the belly button, then you can consider a mini-tummy tuck.  You already have a c-section scar and if the scar is heavy or causing you pain, this may be opportunity to have that revised as well.

Also remember that may surgeons will combine a liposuction procedure with a mini-tummy or full-tummy tuck procedure to further enhance the result.

Good luck

It may be able to, but most plastic surgeons won't admit it!

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The answer depends on which specialty you consult for your procedure. If you go to a plastic surgeon, most like the answer will be no. On the other hand, many dermatologists and other cosmetic surgeons who perform SmartLipo have seen cases (as I have in my practice) where SmartLipo offers a fantastic alternative to a tummy tuck.

Additionally, a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) leaves most women with a terrible scar, while SmartLipo done by the tumescent method is nearly scarless. It pays to consult a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon with an open mind rather than hearing NO like in a Capital One commercial. Good luck!

Joel Schlessinger, MD
Omaha Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 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.