Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction

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Frank Campanile, MD

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As of 10/09/2017

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I get a lot of questions about tummy tucks and liposuction. After your personal consultation with me, I’ll provide a recommended treatment plan to help you look your very best.
– Dr. Frank Campanile

When men and women notice a few extra pounds around their midsection that stick around even with regular exercise and a healthful diet, they have two options for body contouring: a tummy tuck or liposuction. While these may seem like similar procedures to the outside observer, the truth is that they’re very different, and accomplish different goals.

Request a consultation today or call 303-345-7476 to meet with Denver plastic surgeon Dr. Frank Campanile in person. His detailed understanding of body contouring techniques allows him to provide outstanding cosmetic care.

The Best Candidates for Liposuction

Liposuction is not a substitute for weight loss, but it can help refine the shape of your figure when diet and exercise haven’t helped. The best candidates for liposuction:

  • Have reached or are near their target weight, and have maintained a steady weight for several months
  • Are in relatively good physical and mental health, but have a few isolated fatty deposits that don’t respond to other approaches (for example, a “muffin top”)
  • Still enjoy firm muscles and a good level of skin elasticity

Taken together, these three qualities are good indicators that liposuction alone can deliver the results you hope for.

What Happens During Lipo

Liposuction begins with a few tiny incisions near the target area, in this case close to the abdomen. Through these access points, Dr. Campanile is able to saturate the area with tumescent fluid. This combination of sterile saline, epinephrine and lidocaine serves a threefold purpose:

  • Lidocaine serves as a local anesthetic to numb the area during the procedure itself and into the first stages of recovery
  • Epinephrine is a vasoconstrictor that prevents excess bleeding during surgery and also controls the amount of lidocaine that can be absorbed into the bloodstream
  • The fluid overall causes the fat cells to swell, which makes them easier to remove

Dr. Campanile breaks apart the fat deposits using a sweeping motion with a cannula, or hollow surgical tube, before permanently removing the fat cells with gentle suction.

The Best Candidates for Tummy Tucks

Abdominoplasty contours the midsection as well. Like lipo, a tummy tuck should not be considered as an alternative to healthy weight loss. There are a few indicators that men and women would benefit from a tummy tuck rather than liposuction:

  • Candidates notice visible loose, excess skin and tissue even after reaching their target weight
  • Tummy muscles are noticeably lax, even if there isn’t much extra fat around the midsection
  • Patients have recently undergone rapid weight loss, or notice that their figures didn’t bounce back as hoped following pregnancy

None of these issues can be resolved through liposuction alone, but instead require the greater level of improvement that surgical abdominoplasty offers.

What Happens During a Tummy Tuck

Abdominoplasty begins with an incision that runs from hip to hip across the lower portion of the belly. Through this incision, Dr. Campanile is able to surgically repair loose or separated abdominal muscles using specially layered internal sutures. Next, excess skin and tissue are removed and the remaining skin is redraped over the muscles that have just been tightened. Finally, the incision is sutured closed and the patient begins recovery.

A Combination Approach for Better Results

When it comes to body sculpting, both liposuction and abdominoplasty have their purposes; as a result, these surgeries are very complementary and often deliver superior body contours when performed together.

Dr. Campanile has developed the exclusive C.L.A.S.S.® tummy tuck technique that effectively and safely combines the best elements of abdominoplasty and liposuction together for noticeably improved, more natural looking results. This procedure has the added benefit of offering an easier, faster recovery than a traditional tummy tuck, without the use of surgical drains.

Contact us online or call our office at 303-345-7476 to schedule your visit with abdominoplasty specialist Dr. Frank Campanile at his Denver, Colorado practice. We look forward to meeting you and helping you feel fantastic about your new look.