WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
Tummy tuck and liposuction are surgical procedures aim to improve the appearance of the midsection of the body. Although both have similar goal, there are distinct differences as to their approach, recovery and risk.
A GOOD CANDIDATE
There are three key elements to consider when deciding which specific surgery is best for certain individuals. These elements are skin quality, the degree of excess fat and the abdominal muscular weakness.
Liposuction is recommended for individuals who have good skin quality, have excess abdominal fat, and relatively good muscle tone. Good results for these type of individuals are achieved with just liposuction. Whilst a tummy tuck is for those with mild excess skin, mild to moderate fatty deposits and a weakness on the abdominal muscles.
Liposuction is generally regarded as a safe and effective treatment for fat reduction and body contouring. VASER liposuction uses an ultrasonic frequency vibrations technique to selectively emulsify fatty tissues. The emulsified fats are then gently removed through suctioning using a cannulae (a thin hollow tube that is inserted into small incisions on the body). Unlike the traditional liposuction, the VASER’s unique selectivity of fatty tissues places itself as a more preferable method of liposuction due to the less traumatic effect it gives to the other surrounding tissues such as blood vessels, nerves and lymphatic tissues. The surgery time for liposuction will depend on the number of targeted areas.
On the other hand, a tummy tuck removes fatty deposits and excess skin and tightens the abdominal muscles. With weight gain and pregnancy, significant stretching of the abdomen can occur which leaves a persistent excess of the skin. This may also accompany the appearance of stretchmarks. Often, a weakness of the abdominal muscles is present especially for women who have had multiple pregnancies. In this case, a tummy tuck is the most likely treatment of choice.
Tummy tuck has two types: mini and full tummy tuck. The mini tummy tuck is for those who have mild excess skin and mild to moderate fat on the lower abdomen while a full tummy tuck addresses issues on both upper and lower abdomen. A mini tummy tuck procedure usually lasts around one and a half hour to two hours; a full tummy tuck around three and a half to four hours.
Tummy tuck surgery is a more invasive treatment and therefore requires longer recovery time compared to liposuction only.
You may experience mild swelling, bruises and leaking of fluid from the tiny surgical wounds (incisions) after the liposuction. A compression garment is recommended for a month to reduce the swelling and help keep the body in shape. Resuming regular activity can be done after a couple of weeks.
Because the excess skin is surgically removed, the tummy tuck requires a longer incision. Moreover, a couple of drains will be attached to help drain fluids and decrease swelling. A compression garment will also be worn for a month. For the first two weeks, you will be asked to walk a little bit bent to support the incisions and not stretch them. Regular activities can usually be done after a month. It is also important that early walking and moving around after the surgery can greatly increase the body’s circulation and reduce the risk of complications.
THE COMPLICATIONS AND THE RISKS
With liposuction, there is risk of infection and fluid accumulation. Although infection is very rare, it usually appears at the site of the surgical incisions.
Seroma is an accumulation of fluids under the skin and can in some cases build up after a few days post-surgery and is evident as a swollen lump that is tender when touched. For minor seromas, no medical treatment is necessary as the body will just reabsorb the fluids. However, for larger seromas, drainage of the fluid is required.
Drainage is performed as an out-patient procedure under local anaesthesia. Once the local anaesthesia is injected, your surgeon will make a very small puncture and insert a needle attached to a syringe to suction the fluids. No stitch is required however constant follow-ups are necessary to check the overall progress.
Although a tummy tuck can also have the risk of infection and seromas, there is an additional risk of tissue death and clot formation.
To prevent seroma formation after a tummy tuck, drains are placed on both lower sides of the abdomen and are usually kept for a day or two.
Tissue death and clot formation are very rare complications, both having 0.2% incidences. These can be prevented by taking a detailed medical history prior to the surgery to identify risk factors such as smoking, intake of certain medications that can impede the healing process and history of clot formation.
A complication is any unexpected occurrence that greatly affects the recovery process and brings the need for further treatment to correct the problem. Even with stringent care and planning, some complications are practically impossible to prevent.
Both the tummy tuck and procedures are performed at the London Centre for Aesthetic Surgery located in Dubai Healthcare City. Both Drs Maurizio and Roberto Viel work between their London and Dubai clinics.
To book an appointment, or consultation in Dubai at our LCAS Dubai Healthcare City Clinic, please contact 04-375 2393 or email [email protected]
To book an appointment at our LCAS 15 Harley Street, London practice, please call +44 207 636 4272 or email [email protected]