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Cosmetic surgery for your tummy from Dr. Flint

Posted at 8:29 AM, Dec 09, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-09 12:20:15-05

Patti Flint is a paid sponsor of Sonoran Living Live

Tummy Tuck or Liposuction: Which is best for me?
Patti Flint MD

If you have worked on your mid-section in the gym and successfully controlled your weight, it can be more than a little bit frustrating to have a mid-section that is thicker than desired. Many patients believe liposuction will accomplish their goals while others are aware that a tummy tuck may be required. This article will clear up some of the mystery about these two very different procedures.

The short story is, lax skin has to be surgically excised whereas excess fatty tissue under the skin has to be treated with liposuction. Most patients present with a combination of these problems. Consequently, it is common to combine these procedures in one way or another. Liposuction does not tighten skin, so if lax skin is a problem on the abdomen, a tummy tuck is the best treatment. Liposuction should generally not be performed in areas of stretch marks, as skin in this condition is damaged and will not contract after fat has been removed, thereby worsening laxity. The waistline and flank (love-handle area) on the other hand generally has good quality skin and it is very common to liposuction these areas at the time of tummy tuck to provide three dimensional contour improvements.

Child bearing not only results in stretching the abdominal skin, but also the underlying connective tissue.

Even if the skin snapped back well, sometimes the abdomen looks protuberant due to laxity in the deeper connective tissue or due to a gap that developed between the six-pack muscles to allow the baby room to grow. This cannot be improved with diet and exercise. During a tummy tuck, the connective tissue can be tightened with permanent stitches to provide a smooth snug abdominal wall to re-drape the skin over.

Some patients are concerned about scarring with a tummy tuck. The final position of the scar is based on the expertise of the surgeon. The length of the scar is dependent on how much extra skin needs to be removed. If the tummy tuck scar is expertly placed, no excessive tension is applied during closure, and a topical scar treatment program is started early post-operatively, most scars fade very well. A new topical scar product called Embrace is revolutionizing the appearance of tummy tuck scars. After an exam, an experienced board certified plastic surgeon can give you a good idea of the ultimate position and length of your scar.

The recovery from these procedures is also different. Liposuction results in a week of soreness and three weeks without exercise, whereas a tummy tuck requires at least a week to ten days off of work, and no lifting for six weeks. These procedures should not be performed on smokers or patients who are markedly overweight. In healthy patients who are good candidates, these body contouring procedures can provide confidence and pride in your appearance.  If you desire more information, please call my office or visit my website at

Patti Flint is a paid sponsor of Sonoran Living Live