Which Type of Liposuction is Best Combined with Tummy Tuck?

What type of liposuction is usually combined with a tummy tuck or mini tummy tuck procedure, specifically?  

Doctor Answers 15

The "type" of liposuction is not really important

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Hopefully you have chosen a great plastic surgeon to do your tummy tuck. If they are an excellent artistic surgeon who sculpts tissues well, they will use whatever lipo equipment they feel works best and you will have a nice result. It is much more dependent on the surgeon than the technique. There is no magic in Smart lipo.

Tummy Tucks and Liposuction

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I routinely combine tummy tuck procedures with power-assisted liposuction. I use a small cannula with holes on one side to remove fat from the deeper layers first. This is important to prevent irregularity of the upper skin. I recommend that you seek consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon who can explain to you the various techniques and the danger areas where liposuction is not recommended combined with abdominoplasty.

Daniel Reichner, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

There are many good options for liposuction

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Liposuction may be combined with an abdominoplasty many times. Some times this is only performed on the flanks, other times, some surgeons will perform liposcution on the front of the abdomen as well. There are different forms of liposuction available such as Power Assisted Liposuction, Vaser ultrasonic liposuction, and traditional hand assisted liposuction. All of these techniques are viable options in the right hands.

Sanjay Grover, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 245 reviews

Lipo helps refine tummy tuck.

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I agree, the type of lipo is not really that important. The most important thing is the quality of the abdominoplasty. Often, lipo can be combined with tummy tuck to help thin the flap and/or debulk the flanks during the procedure. This can help improve the overall result.

Don't get caught up in jargon

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Dear Anon,

Don't get confused with trying to marry the various types of liposuction available today with certain tummy tuck procedures. Each surgeon may choose to use a different type of liposuction along with their tummy tuck technique and each get a phenomenal result. The most important thing for you to do is to pick a board certified plastic surgeon to ensure your safety and maximize your chances of a great result. Good luck!

The important decision is not the liposuction. It is exactly HOW the TUMMY TUCK is done.

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Hi! The safest and most sophisticated way to do a tummy tuck is with the NO UNDERMINING technique. That means you don't lift up the skin and you don't endanger the blood supply. With the no undermining technique, you can have as much liposuction as you need at the same time safely. This no undermining technique was described by Dr. Saldanha.

I use tumescent liposuction with very small cannulas. Other plastic surgeons use power assisted liposuction, which is fine. Avoid Smart Lipo. That's a gimmick. I very seldom use ultrasound assisted liposuction because of limited benefit and increased risk.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

There are many Liposuction options

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Liposuction is frequently combined with a tummy tuck or mini tuck procedure. Your surgeon will recommend the technique that he or she thinks is best.

The choice will depend to a degree on how much fat has to be removed.

A couple of generalizations that are important. The smaller the liposuction cannula used, the less risk of contour deformities of the skin after liposuction. Today most surgeons use a 4 mm cannula or smaller.

Tumescent liposuction, injecting a special solution into the fat before suction, generally results in less bleeding, however if your surgeon is concerned about the quality of your blood supply, he/she will likely not want to inject tumescent solution into any skin that will be undermined or affected during the surgery. In a mini tummy tuck where only the lower abdominal skin is removed and the upper abdomen is not disturbed, use of tumescence may be possible if you have good circulation.

New laser liposuction has the additional benefit of skin tightening during liposuction. My results using SlimLipo in combination with a mini tummy tuck have been excellent. See before and after pictures of mini tummy tuck and Slimlipo of upper abdomen.

The key is the surgeon and the area to be suctioned, not the machine

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Liposuction combined with a tummy tuck can often provide very nice, natural results, with beautiful contouring of the abdomen. However, the surgeon should be experienced with combining these procedures, as there is a higher risk of certain complications versus tummy tuck or liposuction alone.

In general, there are certain areas of the abdomen that we will avoid suctioning at the same time as a tummy tuck, primarily because there is a risk of delayed wound healing or even loss of the blood supply to the skin. Your surgeon will discuss this with you in detail, but don't be surprised if he or she wants to actually perform the two procedures separately, spaced a few months apart-- in many cases this is the safest approach.

In terms of the type of machine used for the suctioning (tradition lipo, power-assisted lipo, ultrasound or laser) I think this is less of a factor than the surgeon's technique and judgement.

My advice is to talk to your surgeon, see his before and after photos, and don't be afraid to take a step back and seek another opinion or two. In the end, it's your body and you should feel totally comfortable with your surgeon prior to proceeding with surgery.

Best of luck!

Dr. Salemy

Shahram Salemy, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 155 reviews

My Opinion, the least traumatic.

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Great care and caution must be exercised here. Lipo will add trauma to a very significant operation, and over aggressive liposuction could lead to serious wound healing problems.

Different surgeons will disagree, but my opinion is that the lateral areas/flanks are safe areas to lipo, and I would avoid lasers, and ultrasound liposuciton for safety sake. Also, you can consider having a very aggressive lipo at a second procedure once your tummy is healed. So don't get stuck thinking "inside the box"

Surgeon's choice

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It is the surgeon, not the type of liposuction, that is important. It is more important to be judicious in combining the location and amount of liposuction with a tummy tuck than whether you use laser-assisted, ultrasonic, or simple machine or syringe vacuum liposuction.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

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.