Tummy Tuck Vs Liposuction for Abdomen

I am 112 pounds with thin arms and legs. My abdomen has always been large in proportion to my body, but after 3 C-sections, it is huge. I could pass for being 5-6 months pregnant. I have been told there is not a lot of fat there but the underlying tissues are very weak. Over the years I have done multiple abdominal exercises and nothing works. I am 60 years old and in good health. What do you recommend?

Doctor Answers 20

Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction

Do the pinch test! Pinch your upper abdominal skin. if you can pinch about 2 inches of tissue or fat that means that the majority of your abdominal fullness is subcutaneous fat. In this case you should first consider liposuction. On the other hand, if you can only pinch one inch of fat in your upper abdomen, and you still have a large protruding abdomen, then it would seem that most of this fullness is due to loosness of the abdominal wall. In this case a tummy tuck would be better.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Given your description of your abdomen, I would imagine...

Given your description of your abdomen, I would imagine a tummy tuck would be the best procedure for you. It's an operation designed to tighten the abdominal wall muscles as well as to remove any excess skin that you may have low on your abdomen. Some liposuction can be performed at the same time, but the best thing to do is to consult with a couple of Board Certified Plastic Surgeons in your area and get their opinions on what would work best for you.

Shahram Salemy, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 149 reviews

Tummy tucks address skin, muscle, and fat.

From what you describe you are suffering from a weakening in the muscle wall that is usually a result of pregnancy. Many women come in to my office desiring liposuction or even "Smartlipo" when in fact the correct procedure is a tummy tuck. An abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is a surgical procedure which allows the surgeon to tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall (like tightening a corset,) remove the extra stretched out skin, and remove any excess fat. The tradeoff is a scar where incisions are made however most women are happy to trade this "scar for skin." Liposuction will remove fat but will not address the skin or fat. Smartlipo may cause a very small amount of skin tightening but the percentage of tightening is small and certainly muscle will not be addressed. At 60 years of age (I have done tummy tucks on many 60 year olds) in good health I would require you to have a medical clearance just based on age as this is a real operation with a real recovery. Schedule an appointment with a plastic surgeon and get some information about your options! Good luck!

Evan Sorokin, MD
Cherry Hill Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

From the way you describe your body, it is clear that a...

From the way you describe your body, it is clear that a tummy tuck is the more appropriate procedure for what you want. Liposuction would do essentially nothing for you. The only way to improve your abdominal contour is to tighten the muscles and remove the extra skin as is done in a tummy tuck.

Make sure you go to an excellent plastic surgeon who does this procedure very often because you are a little older than the usual patient and need the judgement and technical expertise of an experienced surgeon to make this a safe option for you.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews


An exam or at least a photo is required for a reasonable opinion. Here is some general information.
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.
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.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction

Based on your description, the answer is probably a tummy tuck or a combination of tummy tuck and liposuction as it sounds that your primary objectives would be to tighten the abdominal wall and remove excess skin. Liposuction may help reduce the excess fat.  I would suggest a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon who can provide you with an exam to determine more precisely the basis of your concern.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Tummy tuck with muscle repair

A tummy tuck has the distinct advantage over liposuction and other non-invasive fat reduction technique in that it as the ability to surgically remove loose skin and also address the laxity of the underlying abdominal muscles - often called rectus diastasis.  Based on your description, I would not settle for any other type of procedure as you need to tighten the underlying muscles to help flatten your abdominal contour and reduce the pregnant look.  The C-section scar can be used as part of the tummy tuck incision.  Also if you don't need much skin reduction, then you can also limit the size of the incision.  Good luck!

Young R. Cho, MD, PhD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Tummy tuck versus liposuction

If your problem were just fat below the skin alone and you were willing to accept loose skin, then liposuction would be a compromise option. It is difficult without examining you, but if some of the bulging of your abdomen is due to the intra-abdominal contents pushing out, then liposuction will likely not be a good option and a tummy tuck with muscle repair and excess skin removal would be better.

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Tummy tuck

It sounds as if you would a good candidate for a tummy tuck; however, a photo would be nice.  It would be a safe procedure for you.

Shahin Javaheri, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Perfect candidate for a full tummy tuck

It sounds like you would be a perfect candidate for a tummy tuck.

In a tummy tuck, the plastic surgeon will elevate the skin and fat and assess the underlying musculature. The plastic surgeon will then perform a muscle repair which it sounds like you would benefit from. The plastic surgeon would then remove any excess fat and then retake the skin and remove any excess skin and stretch marks at that time. This will have the benefit of tightening your abdomen removing excess skin and returning your figure

Pat Pazmino, MD, FACS
Board Certified, American Board of Plastic Surgery

Pat Pazmino, MD, FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 101 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.