A tummy tuck primarily addresses three concerns related to abdominal contour:
- Loose skin. A return to normal body weight after pregnancy or weight loss can result in the development of extra skin around the abdomen and flanks. A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is an excellent option for removing the skin between the belly button and pubic area. Skin with stretch marks in particular is best removed using a tummy tuck.
- Loose abdominal muscles. After a pregnancy or weight loss, the abdominal muscles can be separated or splayed from one another. Exercise will certainly improve muscle tone but will not bring muscles together when the connective tissue between them has been permanently stretched. This muscle separation, known as a diastasis, is corrected during a tummy tuck by sewing the muscles back together. This realigns and tightens them.
- Extra fatty tissue. A tummy tuck gives the surgeon the opportunity to directly remove extra fat from the abdomen.
Liposuction can be used to remove extra fat from the abdominal area and induce some tightening of the skin. That said, a tummy tuck is far more effective at removing skin from the abdomen, and particularly the stretch marks between the belly button and pubic region. Also, liposuction does not address the loose abdominal muscles the way that a tummy tuck does. A tummy tuck is therefore, usually a much more dramatic result.
Liposuction is most appropriate for removing localized areas of fatty tissue where the overlying skin is relatively firm. A tummy tuck is used when there is extra skin, loss of muscle tone and a “pooch” below the belly button. Neither a tummy tuck nor liposuction are weight-loss procedures – rather they are contouring procedures. A tummy tuck may be an excellent contouring procedure after weight loss.