The Jacobs Center for Cosmetic Surgery

Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck: What’s the Difference?

Though they are closely connected in some ways, there are many differences between liposuction and a tummy tuck. San Francisco’s Dr. Eric Culbertson explains the difference to patients who want their belly to have less of a bulge and more of a flat, sleek look.

First of all, liposuction is a surgical procedure ideal for removing fat in a wide variety of areas on the body—not just the belly. Involving a small incision, the insertion of a tube known as a cannula, manual loosening of fat cells, and the suctioning out of those unwanted cells, liposuction can be performed from virtually head to toe, front and back.

Because a beer belly or otherwise oversized gut gets a lot of attention in relation to liposuction, it’s understandable that people would associate the versatile procedure with one obvious area of the body, but remember that it’s not limited to the abdomen.

A tummy tuck, however, is.

As the name implies, a tummy tuck focuses on one specific area. The blend of multiple procedures works to re-contour the abdomen, most typically in cases where sagging skin—not fat—is the cosmetic problem. While some troublesome fat may contribute to the undesired look, the main goal of a tummy tuck (also referred to as “abdominoplasty”) is to trim away the excess skin and suture the remaining tissue in place for a more toned appearance.

Depending on the patient a tummy tuck may also involve repairing abdominal muscles that have been spread apart—a change commonly experienced by women who have been pregnant. The procedure can also include the creation of a new navel, depending on the extent of tissue removed.

There is likely a surgical solution to suit a patient unhappy with the look of his or her belly, whether there are persistent pockets of fat despite daily sit-ups and celery for every lunch (liposuction can help) or the exercise and dieting worked to drop pounds, but the skin didn’t get the memo and is hanging as a flabby reminder of the weight that once was there (ideal for a tummy tuck).

No matter the situation, Dr. Eric Culbertson would be happy to set up a consultation to discuss the best treatment suited to you. Contact him to discuss liposuction or a tummy tuck at the San Francisco Bay Area’s Jacobs Center for Cosmetic Surgery. Call Healdsburg at (707) 473-0220 or San Francisco at (415) 433-0303, or send a message online.