Do I need a tummy tuck or liposuction?  This would have to be one of the most common questions we hear in our clinic!  Essentially there is no 1 hard or fast rule however, Dr Cheng considers some key variables when determining the best treatment approach for a flabby stomach including:

  1. Skin laxity – if there is a considerable amount of skin laxity or poor skin tone for instance, after significant weight loss, it is likely that abdominoplasty is going to be the right choice for you.  Abdominoplasty will remove redundant skin and tighten remaining skin.   If skin tone is good and there are small areas of fat that haven’t responded well to diet and exercise then liposuction may be the appropriate treatment for you.
  2. Muscle Laxity – following pregnancy and massive weight loss, the abdominal wall can become loose, causing a bulging appearance or a pot belly. Often our patients report that they have worked really hard with their Physiotherapist but no amount of pilates and planking can close the separation of their tummy muscles.  Physical evaluation by your surgeon and your physiotherapist is often needed to determine if muscle laxity and/or fat is the underlying cause of the “problem.”   Muscle repair can be performed during a full tummy tuck or abdominoplasty.
  3. Patient’s personal goals and expectations – sometimes a small amount of loose skin doesn’t bother some patients who may prefer to try liposuction first as a less invasive approach and then reevaluate the outcome in 4-6 months once the skin has had a chance to adjust.  This is called a staged approach.  In general however, liposuction is more effective in younger patients with good skin tone and those who have avoided significant weight changes over time.  On the other hand, liposuction can result in more scar tissue in the fat layer, which could make tummy tuck surgery more challenging.

After considering all the above and more, Dr Cheng may recommended a combination of a tummy tuck and liposuction to the abdominal area to achieve the best result. However, if there is a need to remove large volumes of fat, Dr Cheng may suggest to perform liposuction and tummy tuck at two different stages to minimise the surgical trauma and bleeding.

Check out our Tummy tuck gallery for before and after images.

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