Summary: The appeal of slenderness is difficult to resist and even more difficult to ignore. Many plastic surgery patients want to be more slender. But they are often confused about what procedures work best, especially when it comes to deciding between a tummy tuck or liposuction. The two procedures tend to be focused around the belly area, but they operate on different principles. Liposuction is devoted to removing fat, while a tummy tuck is more concerned with excess tissue. Sometimes, patients even combine the procedures, in order to get optimal results around the belly. According to the Clear Lake TX liposuction experts at South Shore Plastic Surgery, the procedure is both effective and popular when it comes to removing fat.

tummy tuck or liposuction

The Size and Shape of the Body

We make a lot of assumptions about people based on the size and shapes of their bellies. A large belly can send certain unflattering signals, while a trim belly can send more positive messages. These messages are, of course, based only on gross assumptions and have little basis in reality. But someone with a loose tummy may feel a little self-conscious nonetheless, and this self-consciousness can transform into pure discomfort. The issue is that the belly is notoriously difficult to control via diet or exercise (or even a combination of both)—especially when you consider how busy the typical person is these days.

Sometimes, then, the solution is plastic surgery. Indeed, a large percentage of plastic surgery procedures performed (not to mention offered) seem to focus on the belly area. There are two procedures in particular that are widely conflated, perhaps because they both have traditionally focused on the belly area. These two procedures are known as liposuction and the tummy tuck. However, both of these procedures focus on different problems, and while they may often be performed simultaneously, it’s important to emphasize their differences so that plastic surgery candidates may pursue that procedure which is mostly likely to address their specific problems.

Tummy Tuck or Liposuction

So let’s take a look at what separates tummy tucks and liposuction, so you can have a better understanding of what might work for your desired results.


Liposuction is, itself, one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures since the inception of the practice. By using a small tube called a cannula, plastic surgeons are able to literally extract unwanted fat from a body. This procedure used to be performed on a fairly large scale, and without subtlety. However, modern liposuction techniques—often referred to as “liposculpting”—have the ability to contour in addition to remove unwanted areas of fat. This gives liposuction the ability to create natural-looking curves and contours, so it looks as though you’ve simply lost weight (not as though you’ve had plastic surgery).

Modern day liposuction is a minimally invasive procedure, but it can be somewhat taxing on your body. It may take a couple of weeks for noticeable swelling to diminish and even longer for the swelling to disappear completely. Still, liposuction is incredibly popular, and the reason is fairly obvious: it eliminates unwanted areas of fat, and in doing so will often finally give patients the bodies they’ve been trying to get. Liposuction can do what diet and exercise are powerless to accomplish. It’s for that reason—that patients love the way they look afterward—that liposuction remains such a popular choice.

Tummy Tuck

Almost as popular as liposuction is a procedure called a tummy tuck. Many people actually conflate the two procedures, but liposuction and tummy tuck are actually quite different. While liposuction removes fat—and is used only for fat—tummy tucks are more interested in excess tissue; that is, excess skin. After all, as we age, we tend to develop a good amount of extra skin (thank you gravity). But we can develop extra tissue in other ways, too.

The most common are changes in body weight—sometimes up, but most often down. If you lose a lot of weight, you may have some extra loose tissue hanging around. But the other common way is through pregnancy. As any woman who has given birth knows, pregnancy will expand your stomach tissue quite considerably, and it doesn’t always bounce back the way you’d like. Sometimes, to get the youthful look you used to have, tummy tuck surgery, which removes excess tissue, is the way to go.

Choosing the Right Procedure for You

It’s worth noting, however, that tummy tuck surgery can also be quite painful and bring with it a decent recovery period. However, it’s also one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures, and most patients find the recovery bearable—and the results spectacular.

It’s also worth noting that, often, these two procedures are performed in conjunction with one another. After all, the liposuction procedure removes fat—leaving you with excess tissue. By combining the procedures, many patients are able to kill two birds with one stone—meaning they lose weight and their skin becomes more youthful looking. Combined, tummy tuck and liposuction are a great way to get back the body of your youth, the body you want.

As always, however, you should discuss any plastic surgery plans or desires with a highly qualified plastic surgeon. Your surgeon’s trained eyes will be able to tell whether you’d be a better match with liposuction or a tummy tuck.