Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck For a Flatter Stomach

Liposuction or lipectomy is a minimally invasive cosmetic surgical procedure. Dr will suction excess fat out from targeted areas of the body permanently, thereby reshaping and adding contour to that area. It reduces stubborn fat in areas of the body resistant to conventional weight loss methods like dietary modification and regular exercise.

A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure wherein Dr Doyle removes excess skin from the stomach area, which has a smoothing and tightening effect on your midsection.

Both surgeries are similar, yet apply different surgical techniques to get the desired tummy shape. Each has its own merits and demerits.

Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck

Both liposuction and tummy tuck are beneficial in people with body contouring goals. But they have some important differences:


It is a highly individualised cosmetic procedure. It may be the procedure for you if you:

  • Are of normal weight range with firm skin but have excess fat deposited in certain areas of the body only.
  • Have realistic expectation regarding the result of the procedure.
  • Are sticking to a healthy diet plan and regularly exercising, but still cannot get rid of stubborn fat from certain areas of your body.
  • Planning to enhance your body contour.

Tummy tuck 

A tummy tuck (Abdominoplasty) may be the right procedure if you:

  • Are physically healthy and in a stable weight range.
  • Don’t expect a baby soon!
  • Have loose skin around your abdomen following significant weight loss.
  • Want proper contouring for your sagging tummy after pregnancy.
  • Have realistic goals from the procedure.

Find out which is best for you with the help of our quiz…

How Different Are the Procedures?

what is liposuction

Liposuction needs local anesthesia, intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia. Your surgeon will help make the best decision as to what method of anesthesia to use. There are different ways to remove fat cells. Depending on your treatment goals and proper areas for fat removal, Dr will choose the right fat removal method during your consultation.

Tumescent liposuction

It is the most popular method of fat extraction. Intumescent liposuction is as follows:

  • Dr will make small, inconspicuous incisions around the target areas to remove the fat. This helps in reducing post-operative scarring.
  • First, diluted local anesthesia will infuse to reduce discomfort, bleeding, and trauma.
  • Then, a thin cannula will insert through the incisions to loosen and dislodge excess fat cells from the site using a controlled back-and-forth motion.
  • After that, dislodged fat will suction out of the body using a syringe attached to the cannula.
  • Finally, incisions will stitch after fat removal.

Vaser Liposuction

Vaser lipo or ultrasonic liposuction is a recent addition to the field of body sculpting cosmetic surgery. In Vaser liposuction, the cannula will energize with ultrasound, making it ultrasonographically charged, and will insert through multiple small incisions.

The cannula’s ultrasound vibrations destroy the fat cells’ walls, and emulsify, or liquefy the fat, making it easier to suction out; using suction-assisted liposuction. 

Power-Assisted Liposuction

The procedure involved is similar to tumescent liposuction. The only difference is using a specialised cannula with a mechanized system. This vibrates back and forth rapidly to accelerate the breakdown of the fat cells and help remove them easily. This allows less time for completing the procedure, minimal tissue trauma, and faster recovery.

Tummy Tuck

The stepwise tummy tuck procedure is as below:

Tummy Tuck we’ll do under General anesthesia. After administration of the anesthetic:

  • The amount of skin to remove will mark before the operation.
  • An incision will make that spans the entire length of the abdomen.
  • After incising, the abdominal skin will lift upwards. However, your umbilicus remains attached to the underlying abdominal skin.
  • Then, abdominal musculature will reveal with the attached umbilicus. The exposed muscle layer will tighten using a running suture. Then muscles are brought together into the midline.
  • Excess skin will pull downward. The original hole will lift along with the skin that lies below this line and gets resected along with the excess skin, and the wound will close.

What to Expect as Results?

Liposuction is a method for permanent fat removal from the targeted side. However, significant weight gain or subsequent pregnancy after liposuction can diminish the results.

A tummy tuck can restore the abdomen’s contour by removing excess fat and skin by bringing the rectus abdominis back together. Tummy tuck results are usually permanent. Same as liposuction, significant fluctuations in weight and subsequent pregnancy can diminish the results.

What Are the Benefits?


  • Helps get rid of excess stubborn fat, not responding to conventional methods of weight reduction.
  • The procedure can be done with a few small incisions with minimal post-operative scarring.
  • Provides an enhanced contour to your body, and your clothes fit better.

Tummy Tuck

  • Improves your abdominal tone.
  • Helps remove excess skin from the abdomen following significant weight loss after pregnancy or any other condition.
  • Helps improve posture.

How Is Recovery Time?


Bandages and compression garments will apply over your incision sites and surrounding areas. Temporary surgical drains may also drain out excess local anesthetic or blood build-up under the skin. The dressings must remain in place for one week. You must wear the compression garment for up to six weeks following the surgery. Despite the dressings, you can take shower.

You will require someone to drive you home from John Flynn Private Hospital where your surgery will perform. Also, taking leave from work for a few days is a good idea.

Tenderness, bruising, and swelling commonly occur after the surgery. Dr will prescribe pain medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, and antibiotics as needed to help you manage these common conditions. Infections after liposuction is a rare findings but can easily be managed with antibiotics.

You need to meet the surgeon for follow-ups to ensure the healing process is going on properly. Normal work can resume in about two weeks after the surgery, but this is individual-specific and extensiveness of the surgery. However, it can take several months to recover completely after the surgery and see full results in treated areas.

Tummy Tuck

In this procedure, Dr will place drainage tubes under your skin to prevent fluid accumulation, it helps incisions to heal properly. It would be best if you avoid showering or making the area wet for the period.

You should stay in the hospital for 24 hours for monitoring purposes. Pain, swelling, and bruising are common after the procedure. Still, the majority of swelling should subside after about six weeks. Dr will prescribe you pain medications to relieve pain. You need to wear pressure garments for about three weeks postoperatively.

You will be able to return to light activity within about two weeks after a tummy tuck (Abdominoplasty). Still, you should always consult with your surgeon before resuming any strenuous physical activity. Complete tummy tuck recovery and the final result are expected six months after the surgery.

Risks and Complications 


Complications associated with liposuction include:

  • Complications related to anesthesia: Development of rashes, loss of consciousness
  • Infection at the incision site
  • Bruising at the incision site
  • Persistent swelling
  • Poor wound healing
  • Persistent numbness and change in skin sensation
  • Damage to underlying structures such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and nearby organs
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Seroma formation
  • Irregular pigmentation
  • Irregular contour
  • Heat injury from ultrasound-charged cannulas in Vaser liposuction
  • Fat embolism

You may need a re-surgery if the obtained results are asymmetric or in cases of complications.

Tummy Tuck

Complications associated with a tummy tuck include:

  • As the operation requires general anesthesia, complications related to anesthetics like dizziness and loss of consciousness may occur
  • Bleeding from the incision site
  • Infection at the incision site
  • Persistent pain
  • Seroma- Fluid accumulation
  • Poor wound healing of the wound site
  • Large visible scarring
  • Skin loss more than anticipated
  • Changes in skin sensation around the area of surgery
  • Change in skin color
  • Recurrent looseness of skin
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Asymmetric skin removal results
  • Possibility of a revision surgery

Which Procedure Is Best For Me, Tummy Tuck or Liposuction?

There is no exact answer as to which one you should choose. Subcutaneous belly fat can be removed by liposuction or tummy tuck. As for which procedure is best for achieving a flat tummy, it depends on your goals and your situation. Subcutaneous belly fat can be removed by both

If you’re looking to just lose the stubborn fats from your stomach, you should probably choose liposuction. But, if you want to get rid of excess skin from your belly, then a tummy tuck is the best option.

These two procedures can complement each other. Combining liposuction and tummy tuck (Abdominoplasty) will give you the benefits of both surgeries. Removing both excess fats and skin from your belly.


Can Liposuction Cause Scars?

Any procedure involving cutting layers of skin results in wounds and hence scars are visible for some time. Liposuction is no exception. However, excessive scarring is not routinely seen after liposuction due to the thin cannulas for the procedure.

How Much Weight Can I Lose With Liposuction?

Liposuction should not be taken as an operation to reduce weight. You will lose only about 1-4 kilograms following liposuction. 

Does Tummy Tuck Include Love Handles?

No, this procedure does not cover love handles but a variant of it known as extended tummy tuck covers love handles.

Will My Insurance Cover Liposuction?

As Liposuction is a cosmetic surgery procedure, done mostly without medical indications, you will have to bear all costs as your insurance cover will not cover it.

Will an Insurance Cover for a Tummy Tuck?

It is a cosmetic surgical procedure, generally undertaken without any medical indications. Insurance companies usually don’t cover for that. So you need to pay all costs of a tummy tuck on your own. If you choose to undergo Tummy Tuck surgery for medical indications, Medicare and your insurance may cover a portion of the cost. Find out the criteria in our blog, Will Medicare Cover my Abdominoplasty?

How Can I Flatten My Stomach After Liposuction?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by exercising and dieting can complement liposuction results in weight reduction and give you a contoured aesthetic-looking stomach. 


About Dr Mark Doyle FRACS (Plas) – Queensland Plastic Surgeon

Servicing patients in Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Cairns and New South Wales NSW – Northern Rivers, Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore and more.

Dr Mark Doyle is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon with over thirty years of experience performing BreastBodyFace and Nose surgery. Dr Doyle is a fully qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeon with 30+ years of experience. He has completed all required training and only carries out approved surgical practices. There are absolutely NO undertrained doctors or cosmetic doctors acting as surgeons in our clinic.

As a highly esteemed plastic surgeon, Dr Mark is committed to achieving the best possible results for all his breast, body, face and nose patients, both men and women.