Neither tummy tuck nor liposuction are technically weight loss surgery. Instead, they are both types of plastic surgery used to give the patient a more slender silhouette and to contour the body to some extent. They both require a consultation with the surgeon to make sure that the patient is a good candidate for the procedure. Aside from that, they are quite different.
This is a minimally invasive procedure but should still be considered major surgery. During lipoplasty the surgeon physically removes fat from a patient’s body via a vacuum cannula inserted into tiny incisions. The patients who turn to lipoplasty have tried and failed get rid of pockets of fat through diet and exercise. The places that most patients want excess fat removed are their thighs, hips, buttocks and abdomens. Other areas are the upper arms and the jowls, and both men and women have lipoplasty performed on breasts they believe are too large. In men, this condition is called gynecomastia.
Liposuction was invented in Italy in the 1970s, and the technology has been continuously advancing. Conventional lipoplasty often required the patient to be placed under general anesthesia, and the cannula not only removed the unwanted fat but significant amounts of blood and other tissue. This resulted in much bruising, swelling and a recovery period that could take several weeks.
The most notable advance in lipoplasty is the development of tumescent lipo. During this treatment, a pain killer is injected in several spots around area to be treated, such as the abdomen. Then, they add a large volume of saline solution mixed with another pain killer and a drug that causes the blood vessels to narrow. The solution causes the area to enlarge and grow rigid. The painkiller that was given to the patient beforehand removes the need for them to have general anesthesia, which is important since general anesthesia comes with its own risks, and recovering from it can be quite uncomfortable.
Another development in lipoplasty is the use of lasers and ultrasound, which emulsify the fat and allow it to be removed with greater ease. In the end, the patient’s recovery time is reduced from a few weeks to a few days, even though they should still not engage in strenuous activity for about a month after the treatment.
Some patients opt for large volume lipoplasty, which is a body contouring procedure that involves lipoplasty treatment on at least five parts of the patient’s body or that results in the loss of over 10 pints of fat and fluid. For women, it can result in a slimmer waist and curvier shape. Men are attracted to the way the treatment defines and gives a youthful, masculine look to their body.
On the other hand, tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty should be regarded as major abdominal surgery. Similar to a lipoplasty, it removes unwanted fat, however, abdominoplasty is only performed on the abdomen and sometimes on the back, while lipo can be used on several areas of the body. Abdominoplasty also removes skin and other tissue and is much more invasive than lipoplasty. It is not uncommon for an abdominoplasty patient to have general anesthesia, though some have IV sedation if they are having a more limited form of the operation.
Women of childbearing age who opt for this surgery should be sure that they are done having children because the surgery can complicate future pregnancies because of the tightened abdominal muscles. Other people who should avoid abdominoplasties are people who are extremely overweight, diabetic or have circulatory problems.
During a standard abdominoplasty, the surgeon makes an incision into the abdomen just above the bikini line. The patient’s navel is cut away from the skin, and wedges of unwanted fat and skin are removed. The surgeon then tightens the muscles, fascia and the remaining skin. The patient’s navel is repositioned and sewed into place. Sometimes, the surgeon uses lipoplasty to resculpt areas of the abdomen. The incisions are sutured close and the surgeon applies a dressing, a compression garment, a drain to help fluid drain out of the surgical wound and a catheter to help them urinate. Typically, the patient spends at least one night in the hospital or clinic, such as our cosmetic surgery center in Dubai. Many lipoplasties are outpatient procedures where the patient goes home shortly after the operation.
Over the days and weeks after the abdominoplasty the patient will have drains, catheters and sutures removed, including deep seated sutures. They will need to wear their support garment for at least another month. Recovery from abdominoplasty can take from three to six months, and there is some scarring, though the scarring fades after time. It is only performed once, while conventional lipoplasty can be performed multiple times. However, the fat that is removed from an area, whether by lipoplasty or abdominoplasty does not return.
The cosmetic surgeons of BHSSCI, Dubai are pleased to offer these treatments to our patients. Whether they receive lipoplasty or abdominoplasty, the great majority of patients are thrilled with the results and their new, more slender and youthful figure.