Will a person Need a Tummy Tuck After Liposuction?

Doctor Answers 24

Will I need a tummy tuck after liposuction?

The best way to evaluate if liposuction is the best treatment option is to establish the goals after a careful examination of the area. I am looking for the texture of the fat, which areas we are talking about and the skin laxity. Liposuction may shrink the skin a little but if there is skin laxity and you suck out a large amount of fat, you will be left with redundant skin.

London Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Liposuction is sometimes done in conjunction with a tummy tuck, and sometimes is staged

Liposuction "debulks" areas of excess fat in the abdomen, hips, thighs, buttocks, and/or other areas where the body can store fat that is resistant to a healthy diet and regular exercise.

If your abdomen has only excess fat and no extra, stretched-out skin (from weight gain and loss or pregnancies), and also does not have "rectus diastasis" (separation of the rectus abdominis muscles), then liposuction alone may in fact be appropriate for you.

However, if you also have excess skin and/or separated muscles, then a tummy tuck or "abdominoplasty" may also be needed to achieve your aesthetic goals.

These two procedures can often be performed together.  But occasionally they may be "staged": liposuction performed first, and a tummy tuck 6-12 months later, or the other way around.  Which method is recommended depends on many factors, including body fat percentage, skin laxity (tightness or stretchiness), health, downtime, and aesthetic goals. 

Be sure to visit a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon with a great deal of experience in these procedures for the most appropriate assessment.

Karen M. Horton, MD, MSc, FRCSC

Karen M. Horton, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews


A tummy tuck and liposuction are two procedures that are not designed to perform the same function.  A tummy tuck is done to correct any muscle separation and/or remove excess sagging skin in the abdomen.  Tummy tucks are most commonly performed for women after pregnancy or for patients after significant weight loss.  Liposuction can be performed on multiple areas of the body to suction out stubborn fatty deposits that remain despite a healthy diet and exercise.  Liposuction is a great tool for minor body contouring or enhancing the results of other procedures.  Liposuction can be done in conjunction with a tummy tuck, but having properly performed liposuction should not create a need for a tummy tuck.  To be a good candidate for liposuction, a patient must have good skin elasticity.  Having good elasticity means that the skin will retract and not sag after the fat is suctioned out.I recommend researching for a board certified plastic surgeon.  During the consultation process, your surgeon can determine which procedures will work best for you.

Be well and good luck!


Morgan E. Norris, III, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Tummy tuck after Liposuction?

Thank you for the question.

It is critical for patients seeking to him improve the appearance of his/her abdominal wall to receive expert advice. In my opinion, this is best done in consultation with a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon. During this consultation it is extremely important to make the correct diagnosis and tailor recommendations based on the diagnosis.  If for some reason a correct diagnosis is not made (for example physician lack of experience or ethics)  the patient may receive unsound advice and may undergo a surgical procedure with unsatisfactory results. Further surgery may be necessary to improve the results. 

For example,  most patients who have had pregnancies and/or weight loss  experience changes in the abdominal wall musculature (spreading of the abdominal wall muscles) and/or looseness of the abdominal wall skin (related to loss of skin elasticity).   These anatomic changes must be diagnosed correctly and the treatment plan will likely be tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty).   If, for whatever reason, liposuction  surgery is performed instead the patient will likely be dissatisfied with the results and require further surgery (for example tummy tuck)  to achieve the desired results.

Conversely if a patient presents with good abdominal wall muscle tone (without diastasis)  and good skin elasticity he/she may be a good candidate for liposuction surgery alone.  Unfortunately, these favorable anatomic features are rarely seen with patients who have had pregnancies and/or significant weight loss.

Again, it is very important  for patients seeking abdominal contouring surgery to  seek consultation with a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon to obtain advice (based on good ethics and judgment) to  improve  their chances of a successful outcome and minimize the need for further surgery.

I hope this helps.



Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Whether or not you need a tummy tuck after liposuction depends on the skin

The answer to this question depends on the amount of excessive and loose skin, the degree of skin elasticity (often age-dependent), and individual patient goals - such as removal of “stretch marks”. Generally, patients who are younger than 65 years old and have only mild to moderate lipodystrophy (excessive abdominal fat) will have excellent results from abdominal liposuction alone. This is especially true for younger patients who are interested in “liposculpting” of relatively minor regional excessive fat deposits. In these patients, the fat can be removed, and the abdominal wall can be sculpted so that the underlying muscles are visible (often producing a visible “6-pack”). The natural elasticity of the skin, combined with the inflammation from the procedure, will produce excellent skin retraction with a sculpted contour as a result. Radio frequency-assisted liposuction (i.e. Vaser) or laser-assisted liposuction (i.e. Smart Lipo) may be used to ensure optimal post-operative skin retraction.

Michael R. Macdonald, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Tummy Tuck Necessary After Liposuction?

Just because you have liposuction doesn't mean you'll need a tummy tuck. Liposuction alone can take care of excess fat tissue, but loose skin and stretch marks must be addressed by one of three techniques: dermatolipectomy, mini-tummy tuck, or full tummy tuck. Your plastic surgeon will know which procedure, or combination of procedures, will give you the results you're after.

Ricardo L. Rodriguez, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

If you have a significant amount of excess skin, only excision (tummy tuck) will solve the problem.

Laser assisted liposuction might tighten the skin a little.  However, if  the amount of excess skin significant, only excision will give you a good result.  Unfortunately there will be a scar across the lower abdomen. You'll have to decide if it's acceptable or not.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

SmartLipo can shrink the skin better than traditional liposuction.

SmartLipo can shrink the skin better than traditional liposuction.  If your skin doesn't shrink sufficiently after liposuction then you can be left with "flabby skin" which is also not desirable.

If you have a consultation with a plastic surgeon that performs both tummy tucks and SmartLipo then he or she can give you a very credibel opinion on which would be better for you.

Richard H. Fryer, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 271 reviews

Will I Need a Tummy Tuck After Liposuction?

If you have excess loose skin and your abdomen is bulging out, you may see significant improvement with a tummy tuck surgery. A Tummy Tuck will remove the extra skin rolls and tighten your loose abdominal muscles.

Ivan Thomas, MD (retired)
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Do you need a tummy tuck after having liposuction?

The answer is "no" if all you have to treat is extra fat on the abdomen.  Liposuction should take care of that just fine.  However, if you have loose, stretched skin (stretch marks) and/or loose muscles from prior pregnancy, you cannot expect liposuction to give you great results. You might get "okay" results from just liposuction, but you'd get the best results from a tummy tuck. Be sure you talk to your plastic surgeon about your goals, and she will help guide you.

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 42 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.