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Modern Tummy Tuck

Discover the differences that today’s modern tummy tuck provides

If you can grab a handful of excess fat and skin around your waist rather than pinching an inch, then you may be thinking that a traditional tummy tuck is your best option. However, innovations in liposuction and abdominoplasty have led to the development of the lipoabdominoplasty, a far superior procedure.

According to a recent study in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, patients who had a lipoabdominoplasty were more satisfied with their appearance than those who opted for the liposuction or a tummy tuck alone. But what are the differences?

Why is lipoabdominoplasty preferable to a traditional tummy tuck?
The tumescent solution used with a lipoabdominoplasty makes all the difference. Developed to enhance liposuction results, it safely separates fat from the abdominal fascia, the strong layer of tissue that lies over the abdominal muscles. It also constricts blood vessels, so there is less bleeding during and after the procedure. A tummy tuck requires a scalpel or electrocautery ‒ the use of a heated tool ‒ to separate (undermine) and lift the abdominal skin and fat, traumatizing lymphatic vessels, veins and arteries.

How is anesthesia used differently in a lipoabdominoplasty and a tummy tuck?
The tumescent solution and a local anesthetic numb the abdomen in a lipoabdominoplasty. A mild iv sedative puts patients in a sleepy state, but unlike true general anesthesia, they are not given a paralyzing agent and they are able to breath on their own. Patients are sedated as heavily or as lightly as they desire for their personal comfort. The traditional tummy tuck is performed in a hospital and the patient is “put under” with general anesthesia because of the procedure’s invasive nature.

Which process removes more fat?
An integral part of lipoabdominoplasty is the removal of fat – the liposuction. Dr Greenberg uses a narrow cannula to sculpt the abdomen and in some instances the waist. The flap of fat and skin that has been lifted away during a traditional tummy tuck cannot be liposuctioned without damage to blood vessels and an increased risk of tissue death (necrosis).

Which process allows abdominal muscles to be tightened more?
Abdominal tightening is the same for lipoabdominoplasty or a tummy tuck. The surgeon uses self-absorbing sutures to permanently pull together muscle – above and below the umbilicus (navel) — that has been stretched by pregnancies or weight gain.

Which procedure removes more excess skin?
Lipoabdominoplasty because removing fat via liposuction leaves a “pocket” of loose skin that’s easier to manipulate and more skin can be excised with less damage to blood supply.

How do you work around the belly button?
Repositioning the umbilicus for both lipoabdominoplasty and a tummy tuck are essentially the same. Dr Greenberg performs three types of lipoabdominoplasties. In a traditional lipoabdominoplasty, the umbilicus is freed from surrounding skin and repositioned within the new tighter abdomen. He also performs a sliding umbilicus lipoabdominoplasty for patients who have little excess skin to remove. The reverse lipoabdominoplasty, performed for extended upper abdomens, leaves the umbilicus intact because skin is pulled up and removed below the breasts.

Does lipoabdominoplasty work for men?
Men who have lost a significant amount of weight benefit from the procedure. Liposuction removes stubborn fat deposits. Abdominal muscles may need tightening if they stretched apart with a large belly. Excess skin is removed from the abdomen. Men who were extremely obese then lost weight sometimes need a belt lift – removing skin around the entire circumference of the body.

Does the cost differ for a lipoabdominoplasty and a traditional tummy tuck?
Yes, depending on the extent of liposuction and patient risk. Traditional tummy tucks cost almost twice as much because patients incur the added costs of general anesthesia, hospital overhead and longer recovery.

Find out how lipoabdominoplasty can reveal your slimmer, shapelier body. Contact Dr Greenberg for a consultation and discover how modern tummy tucks have transformed.