It’s bikini season and with it comes many questions about body contouring procedures and how they may benefit our patients’ bodies.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve your appearance — especially during a season when your assets are on full display! But just in case you are unsure of what type of procedure you should look in to, we’re going to break down the basics of two major body contouring procedures: liposuction and the tummy tuck.
While both have long been staples of body contouring, there are small differences between the procedures. The best choice for your will depend on what goals you have for your body.
Liposuction is the process of removing excess fatty deposits from the target region — abdomen, thighs, hips, arms, and more — in order to improve definition and contouring. The procedure is much less invasive than a tummy tuck and can be done with either general anesthetic or conscious sedation depending on how extensive the treatment is.
What to expect:
Small incisions will be made and the liposuction tube placed. In many instances, a solution will be introduced in order to help break down the fat cells, reduce bleeding, and reduce bruising both during and after the surgery. The fatty deposits are then suctioned out of the region.
Because the procedure is not incredibly invasive, most patients are able to return to work after a few days. After one to two weeks, you’ll start feeling much better, and after three weeks, most of the bruising and swelling will have subsided.
Is it for me?
Not all procedures are created equal. If you’re considering liposuction, you’ll want to meet the following criteria:
- You have realistic expectations about results. Here’s the thing — while liposuction can be a great way to redefine your body, it’s not a permanent fix. If you don’t keep up with diet and exercise, you may gain the weight back. Stay healthy, stay fit, and stay realistic about what results you wish to see.
- You’re within 10% of your goal weight. To keep patients safe and get the best results, we recommend candidates are within a reasonable range of their ideal body weight.
- The fat you want to be removed does not go away with exercise or diet. We call this type of fat, “diet resistance fat.” In many cases, this type of fat creates a less-than-ideal aesthetic appeal because it is out of proportion of the rest of your body.
- You only need fat removed. Liposuction removes fat, not skin. If you have excess skin as well as fat, a tummy tuck may be a better option for you. (More on that later.)
- Your skin has good elasticity. As mentioned above, only fat is being removed during this procedure. Whether or not your skin has good elasticity will have a lasting effect on the results of your procedure.
A tummy tuck is a more thorough and invasive procedure for patients who may have excess skin on top of fat that needs removing. In most cases, it helps restore and strengthen separated or weakened muscles in the abdomen.
What to expect:
A horizontal incision is made between the pubic hairline and the belly button. Generally, this scar will never go away, but most people are able to find clothing to help conceal the scar. Once the incision is made, the skin from the upper abdomen is pulled down. The excess skin is removed and the remaining skin is stitched back together.
Is it for me?:
Like liposuction, tummy tucks have ideal candidates for the procedure. If you’re considering a tummy tuck, be sure you meet the following:
- You have loose skin around your abdomen. You’ll want to make sure there is enough excess skin so your surgeon is able to make a proper incision for your tummy tuck. If there isn’t enough skin, you run the risk of creating an unnatural stretched look to your skin.
- You have realistic expectations about your results. This is a big one with every procedure. Like the liposuction above, having realistic expectations about what you’re going to look like when all is said and done is the healthiest way to move forward with a procedure.
- You’re near your ideal weight. If you plan on losing more weight, this will negate the tuck. It’s best to be as close as possible to your ideal weight so the desired effect can be created from the procedure.
As always, it’s important to consult with a professional physician so you’re able to find the best procedure for your desired results!