How Are Liposuction and Tummy Tuck Different?

  • ByMedical Content Team
  • Medically Reviewed byDr. Sabine Kulhanek
  • Fact checked

How Are Liposuction and Tummy Tuck Different?

Whether you want to get rid of the stubborn fat around your belly, hips, and thighs or wish for reconstruction after a massive weight loss, a pregnancy, and childbirth, you may resort to plastic surgeries for sculpting your body in a way that diet and exercise can’t do. But the moment you start searching for the perfect surgery, you’ll find yourself lost in the many options that may address your needs. You’ll dig a little deeper and you’ll probably get stuck between the two most related procedures to your concern; liposuction and tummy tuck (also known as abdominoplasty) and you’ll wonder which one is right for you. Well, you have every right to be confused. Liposuction and abdominoplasty seem to bring about similar results.
So how are they different from each other?

Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck

Liposuction and tummy tuck are both cosmetic procedures that are performed to achieve a sculpted midsection with a flatter stomach. Yet, they’re different in several aspects including how they are done, the recovery period, risks and complications, and more importantly the purpose and the outcome they provide. So taking a look at these differences helps you decide which one best works for you.


This might be the most important difference which helps you figure out which procedure is going to best address your needs. By understanding the purpose of each procedure, you can decide how closely they match your goals and expectations.



Liposuction is performed to improve and contour your body shape by removing excess local fat not only in the abdomen area but almost all parts of the body containing annoying fat including thighs, buttocks, hips, flanks, calves, arms, chin, and neck. Abdominal liposuction is one of the most common liposuction procedures which results in a much flatter tummy.

However, it’s not a solution to your loose skin which might be a result of aging, childbearing, or excessive weight loss, because it only removes fat.

Tummy tuck

Well, first of all, tummy tuck only deals with the tummy and as already mentioned, it’s just another term for abdominoplasty, a plastic surgery to improve the shape of the abdomen. So if you also want to make a change in other parts of your body, this procedure is not for you or you may also have to undergo liposuction in other areas of your concern. Tummy tuck aims at sculpting your abdomen by removing both fatty tissues and excess loose skin, providing a tight, flat, and toned stomach that can’t be achieved through liposuction.


It could also result in the narrower look of the waist which is usually considered an important element of a beautiful body among women.


Liposuction is done under local anesthesia through very small incisions about a quarter of an inch through which fat is suctioned out of the body using cannulas. A tummy tuck, on the other hand, requires general anesthesia and a much larger incision from hip to hip and maybe also around the belly button in case a repositioning is needed. The excess tissue, including fat and skin, is then extracted through the opening made in the lower abdomen.


You can expect a shorter and smoother recovery after liposuction considering it’s a minimally-invasive procedure. You’ll probably be able to get back to work and normal activities after 2-3 days following the surgery. However, you’re still advised to stay away from strenuous activities for about 2 weeks. You may experience some degree of swelling, bruising, minimal pain, discomfort, and bleeding. But they will pretty much subside and almost disappear in two weeks.

Also ReadHow to Minimize Tummy Tuck Scars?


Normally, you should expect a rather longer and more complex recovery after a tummy tuck which is a more complicated and invasive procedure compared to liposuction. You should be prepared to stay away from work and other activities for about two weeks during which you will experience pain, soreness at the incision area, bruising, and swelling. You will also need to ask a family member or a friend to stay with you to take care of you at least for the first few days if not the whole two weeks. Strenuous activities, lifting heavy objects, and sex must be avoided at least for a month following the surgery.

Also Read5 Tips to Maintain Liposuction Results for Long


While the final result of an abdominoplasty appears much later than liposuction, the effects are also usually loner-lasting. The real outcome of a tummy tuck shows up when the swelling subsides, which could take up to 6 months. But then you can enjoy a firm flat belly that is stable for a long time. 

Liposuction results appear much faster though, usually in two weeks, and are quite promising. However, there’s a chance that fat bulges find their way back in 1 or 2 years.

Risks and Side Effects

Any surgery may come with some risks and complications, abdominoplasty and liposuction are no exceptions. However, it’s always best to consult your doctor and thoroughly discuss your medical history to prevent risks and complications. 

Liposuction may come with a reaction to anesthesia, risk of infection, seroma, irregular contouring, damage to the surrounding tissues, and fat embolism. But these complications rarely occur.

Some of the abovementioned complications are also probable risks of abdominoplasty such as reaction to anesthesia, infection, and seroma. Other possible complications of abdominoplasty include poor healing of the wounds, necrosis, and hematoma.

How to Make the Final Decision?

Well, if you wish to reshape a body part other than your abdomen, you should go for liposuction as it could cover many areas. But what if you just want to improve the appearance of your stomach?

If you happen to have tight skin but suffer from bulks of fat in your stomach, the easier choice would be to go for liposuction, a much smoother and less expensive procedure, with faster results, and shorter recovery.

However, if the shaking loose skin around your stomach bothers you and you would so much love to get rid of it as well as the fat tissue, a tummy tuck is for you. You may have to spend a bit more money and wait a bit longer for the final results to appear, but the result is actually worth it.

Still, we recommend that you consult your doctor to find the best choice according to your conditions, needs, and expectations.

Also ReadUnderstanding the Distinction Between CoolSculpting and Liposuction

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Comments (1)


Abslutely one of the hardest surgery ever!