Smart Lipo Vs. Tummy Tuck, Which am I a Candidate for? (photo)

So my orginal thought was to get a tummy tuck after i lost about 50lbs. Now i'm no where near a doctor so i sent him pictures and he recommended smart lipo. My main concern isn't so much the fat even though i'm having a hard time with this last little bit on my lower abs. My main concern is the skin.. What do you guys think? After smart lipo will my skin tighten up enough to have a flat stomach?

Doctor Answers 9

Smart Lipo vs. Tummy Tuck

I don't think that you have to pick one over the other.  Sometimes the better answer is in between.  The combination of a limited skin excision with focused liposuction (ultrasonic) would likely give you the result you are looking for.


Do your homework on the plastic surgeon you see. Good luck!

Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 183 reviews

Plastic Surgery and the Theory of Relativism

"Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration." Or so says Wikipedia on the subject of social relativism which we can adapt to your particular situation. With respect to laser assisted lipolysis (SmartLipo) vs. surgical treatment, the right answer is certainly going to depend on a thorough exam and evaluation. Having said that, let's use the limited information and photos you have provided to give you a perspective on how to think about the outcome of each of these procedures. There is no doubt that a mini tummy tuck will give you a very tight, contoured abdomen - consider it the gold standard. The obvious downside is the scar. If you don't mind that, the clear choice is the tummy tuck (Surgeon thinks to himself: moderate risk - predictable and good outcome). Now, if you are concerned about the scar, SmartLipo is definitely worth thinking about. SmartLipo may give you an acceptable result if you are willing to accept a 60-90% outcome with respect to contour and appearance (Surgeon thinks: low risk - less predictable and fair to good outcome). Clearly, the selling points are lack of a transverse scar as well as a less invasive surgery, quicker recovery, and less pain. The takeaway message is that both these procedures can help improve your appearance, but can you be happy with a relative improvement or do you need to have the best outcome possible? And that question only you can answer! Best Regards

Kirk A. Churukian, MD
Los Gatos Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Male abdominoplasty

I'm sure no 1 on this site is going to recommend a complete abdomioplasty but a combination of a modest amount of liposuction and as someone suggested a removal of a strip of skin in the lower abdomen might just do the trick. I use the laser for liposuctions regularly and definitely helps but probably not enough to really satisfy you. the scar should be low enough to be easily.

Sherwood Baxt, MD
Paramus Plastic Surgeon
3.8 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Male tummy tuck

Liposuction is the suction removal of fat, period.  Any skin retraction, redraping, is totally unpredictable, you may have great skin retraction, none or your skin may become looser and more wrinkled.  There are many types of liposuction: tumescent, ultrasonic, laser, power, smart, maybe even dumb lipo!  There is not one study that proves one method provides any more skin retraction than another.

Based on your history of a 50 lb weight loss and the loose skin in your photographs, I would recommend a mini tummy tuck.  This would consist of skin removal and fat removal with a well placed lower abdominal scar that will be hidden in all your clothing.  You will need to decide if you want to trade the scar for the loose skin, if you feel that the scar is a FAIR trade, then you will be happy with a tummy tuck.

Good Luck!

David Finkle, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Smartlipo vs. Tummy Tuck

Getting a completely flat stomach after a 50lb weight loss is not likely to be achieved by fat removal alone. Your abdominal skin is undoubtably a bit loose or stretchy and that is the limiting problem in terms of getting the tight and flat stomach that you want. Whether a low horizontal scar is worth your pursuit of a flatter abdomen is the decision you will have to make. If a scar is not acceptable then you can have Smartlipo instead and settle for some improvement albeit not as signficant as a skin-only tummy tuck.

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)

In spite of losing 50 pounds and not being a very heavy individual, you do not have significant excess skin and you have minimal stretch marks. If superficial liposuction is performed with the assistance of laser or internal/external ultrasound modalities, you would benefit from one of these procedures. This type of surgery is less expensive and recovery is a lot easier and quicker. After a few months, if you are still concerned with excess skin, at that time, you could then consider a mini tummy tuck. 

Fereydoon S. Mahjouri, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Weight loss and skin

Thanks for the phtoos but it is hard to tell jsut from these. If your lower abdomen has mainly loose skin then a small skin excision which can be kept in your underwear line may be the best for you. If your skin is loose, liposuction will make it looser.  An exam is key.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Smartlipo does not tighten the skin that much

It is impossible to make a recommendation without a full exam.  Looking and feeling your skin quality is absolutely necessary.  I purchased my Smartlipo machine after being told by the company and other physicians how it tightened the skin.  I feel that it tightens the skin is some patients a little bit.  I was very disappointed to find that the hype is mostly hype.   The reps from the laser companies (realize these machines cost about $125,000) keep pushing the "our new machine is even better" line but in the end I myself do not believe it.  The tightening effect is no more in my opinion than seen with other types of liposuction such as ultrasound assisted liposuction.  If you have very loose and damaged skin, the skin will be looser not tighter with any of these types of liposuction and you will need a tummy tuck.  Don't believe the advertising that promises tummy tuck results with smartlipo.  Ask the surgeon offering this procedure to see pictures of patients similar to you that he/she performed and not laser company stock photography.  I wish I could answer your question specifically rather than being vague however I would suggest going to see a board certified plastic surgeon who has all of the technologies available to him/her so you can get some good advice!

Evan Sorokin, MD
Cherry Hill Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Lipo vs. Tummy tuck - male

There will be a degree of tightening after liposuction but that depends on a few factors; quality of skin, age, activity, area of the body. With that in mind you should see some tightening but not to the same degree as in a tummy tuck when skin is removed. I don't see a lot of skin on your photo therefore I would not recommend a tummy tuck for you because you will be left with a permanent scar. Best of luck, Dana Khuthaila, MD, FRCSC, FACS

Dana Khuthaila, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 68 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.