About Liposuction and Abdominoplasty
Let’s talk about the fat component in this blog. There are two layers of fat in the abdominal region – one layer is in front of the tummy muscles – called superficial fat, and the second layer is behind the tummy muscles – called deep or intra-abdominal fat. Both contribute to a prominent tummy.
Intra-abdominal or deep fat can only be reduced through weight loss. There is no safe surgery that removes this fat. Liposuction cannot be safely performed on this deep layer.
Superficial fat can be easily removed through liposuction, and this is a very common procedure. The question is, can this tummy liposuction be performed at the same time as the tummy tuck? The quick answer – sometimes!
Because of technical considerations related to the blood supply to the abdominal skin that is lifted and stretched downward, liposuction in the central tummy has to be done very carefully, and to a limited extent. Aggressive liposuction, trying to remove all the excess fat at the same time as the tummy tuck, can result in loss of skin and prolonged healing. However, moderate liposuction can be performed at the same time with limited risk. This is the approach that I commonly take.
Another option, that is very common in my practice, is to “two stage” it. That means that the liposuction is performed either before or after the tummy tuck – usually separated by 2-3 months. With this approach, I can safely be very aggressive with the liposuction with very little risk to the abdominal skin. Liposuction of the abdomen does not have a long “back to work” recovery time – most patients are back in 3-5 days – so while it is inconvenient to perform two surgeries, the safety and end result frequently warrant it. Oftentimes, patients who need liposuction in the abdominal region also have excess fat in other areas, like the thighs, arms, love handles, and buttocks. Doing the two stage procedure allows me to safely suction those areas at the same time as the abdominal liposuction.