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Abdominoplasty vs. Lipo: St. Louis’ West County Plastic Surgeons Explain

Surgical body contouring procedures continue to enjoy immense popularity in the United States, as they can provide immediate and dramatic results that can make a person’s physique appear more sculpted and toned. Many patients have questions about two procedures in particular: tummy tuck or abdominoplasty and liposuction (frequently referred to as lipo). St. Louis’ West County Plastic Surgeons explain what each of these procedures entail, and in which cases they may be appropriate.

Lipo is a well-known fat reduction method, and can also be used to reposition or reshape fat in a treatment area to make it look more sculpted. It can be performed on almost any area of the body, including the abdomen, back, thighs, buttocks, arms, and under the chin.

While lipo is very effective for sculpting or debulking, it will not correct laxity in the muscles or skin. Because of this, lipo on its own is typically recommended for patients who have good skin elasticity to conform to newly shaped contours, minimal muscle laxity, and are already within a healthy goal weight range with only localized fat deposits to be addressed.

Some patients who choose to receive lipo may also want to address any excess, sagging skin and muscle tissue that occur as a result of the fat deposits stretching them out. This may be performed with a skin tightening surgery that takes off excess skin, and tightens remaining skin and muscle tissue. Such procedures can range from a facelift to a thigh lift.

As the name states, an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is an abdomen-focused skin tightening procedure. While a small amount of excess fat can be removed (much less than what lipo could address), it is not intended to be a fat reduction procedure. The main aim of an abdominoplasty is to remove excess skin and tighten remaining skin and abdominal wall muscles.

Many patients benefit from receiving both procedures simultaneously. Lipo can address excess fat, while the tummy tuck can then tighten up any stretched-out tissues. Note that neither procedure can or should result in significant weight loss, and is not meant to address overall excess weight or obesity.

Our surgeons would be happy to assist anyone who is looking to learn more about body contouring. To request a consultation, contact our office online or by phone at (314) 996-8800.