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Liposuction Vs Tummy Tuck: Differences Based on Procedure, Recovery, Risk, Cost

Many people want to improve their abdominal area by creating a tone and tight midsection. There are two procedures namely, liposuction and tummy tuck, which help here. However, both these procedures are pretty different from each other, in terms of the results they provide and also in many other ways.

Liposuction Vs Tummy Tuck

Liposuction Vs Tummy Tuck: Differences Worth Knowing

Liposuction Vs Tummy Tuck: Basic Differences

Liposuction is ideal for removing localized fatty tissue that is centralized to specific areas. It removes fat from any of the body parts (including stomach, the sides, arms, legs, chin and the butt); and it is a less invasive procedure. This is great for those who generally have good skin and muscle tone or who do not have issues, such as, excess skin in the midsection or loose abdominal muscles.

However, a tummy tuck centers on fat and muscles found in the abdomen. It is a long procedure and takes a long time to recover. It is also known as abdominoplasty and is a great way to remove excess abdominal skin while tightening the abdominal muscles.

Liposuction Vs Tummy Tuck: Differences Based On Home Preparation

For patients undergoing Liposuction as well as Tummy tuck, they have to undergo laboratory tests and a possible adjustment in medication. They must avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements, as these substances could impact bleeding.

Home preparation for both these procedures is mostly the same. Patients undergoing these procedures should stock up on ice packs and have loose clothing. However, patients undergoing liposuction also need compression bandages. Petroleum jelly is required for the wound, in case of patients undergoing the tummy tuck procedure and they also require a hand-held shower and a bathroom chair. It is always good to have a companion along with you, if you are undergoing these procedures, you won’t be able to drive after the procedure.

Liposuction Vs Tummy Tuck: Differences Based On The Procedure and Variations

For the procedure of Liposuction, the cosmetic surgeon decides whether the patient will receive intravenous sedation or a general anesthesia; after which, the surgeon makes small incisions in the target areas. The area is infused with saline solution mixed with pain medication, which helps in reducing bleeding and pain. Then the surgeon inserts a cannula so as to loosen the fat with a back and forth motion. The dislodged fat is then suctioned out. Depending on the amount of fat being removed, this procedure takes up to 2 hours.

This procedure is known as Tumescent liposuction and it is the typical liposuction procedure. Other options include laser-assisted Lip and ultrasound-assisted lipo. The former one uses a laser to liquefy fat before removal, while the later one make use of ultrasonic energy for the same purpose.

However, general anesthesia is administered for a Tummy tuck procedure. The cosmetic surgeon makes a horizontal incision between the hip bones. The weak abdominal muscles are repaired, and excess of fat, tissues and skin are removed. This surgical procedure lasts for 1-5 hours. It must be noted that patients can either undergo tummy tuck or a mini tummy tuck procedure; where the tummy tuck focuses both, above and below the belly button, while mini tummy tuck focuses only on the lower abdomen.

Liposuction Vs Tummy Tuck: Differences Based On Recovery

Patients won’t be able to drive after either procedure. Liposuction may be completed in a clinic or in a hospital, and that depends on the cosmetic surgeon. Recovery in this case may take a few days to about 2 weeks. Patients typically experience swelling, pain and bruising. In order to minimize the swelling, compression bandages might be used.

However, tummy tuck procedures are always performed in a hospital. At-home recovery takes 4-6 weeks. Swelling, bruising and pain, is typically experienced by the patients undergoing this procedure. Patients cannot also stand straight. Compression bandages are used to reduce swelling.

Liposuction Vs Tummy Tuck: Differences Based On Risks Involved

There are risks involved in both the procedures. Liposuction carries risks, such as, uneven contours, change in skin sensation and skin discoloration or swelling. Asymmetry is also one more risk involved with the procedure of liposuction. Some of the significant complications of liposuctions include, excessive loss of fluid or fluid accumulation, skin or nerve damage and unfavorable scarring. Apart from this, there is always a risk of infection. Fat clots, blood clots and damage to deeper structures, like nerves, muscles, blood vessels, lungs and abdominal organs are some of the serious yet rare complications of Liposuction. Patients undergoing ultrasound-assisted liposuction have risks of thermal burns or heat injuries from the ultrasound.

Coming to the risks in tummy tuck procedure, a study suggest that 8.5% of people who had a tummy tuck, required to return to the hospital because of some kind of complications. Typical risks of this procedure include asymmetry, unfavorable scarring, numbness or other changes in the sensation of the skin or skin discoloration. Infection is also a risk in this procedure. Some of the serious complications of a tummy tuck, include bleeding and fluid accumulation. Other serious, yet rare complications of this procedure are, blood clots, skin loss, nerve damage, deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications.

Liposuction Vs Tummy Tuck: Differences Based On Cost

Liposuction costs around $2,852 excluding the anesthesia, operating room facilities and other related expenses. However, a tummy tuck costs approximately $5, 241, excluding anesthesia, operating room facilities and other related expenses.


Though, both these procedures can improve the abdominal area by creating a tone and tight midsection, it is always essential for you to know very well about the procedure you want to undergo and clear all the doubts about it, from your cosmetic surgeon before you get prepared for the same.


  1. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (2021). Liposuction. Retrieved from https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/liposuction
  2. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (2021). Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty). Retrieved from https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/tummy-tuck

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 17, 2023

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