What Is the Difference Between Abdominal Liposuction & Abdominoplasty?

Abdominal Liposuction Tampa FLAbdominal liposuction and abdominoplasty are both cosmetic surgery procedures performed to enhance the shape of the midsection. These body contouring treatments are similar in some ways but different in others. Most notably, each is intended to address a specific concern.

Prior to considering any type of cosmetic plastic surgery, however, it is important to understand that the best way to lose excess body weight – in the abdominal region and elsewhere – is to practice healthy lifestyle habits, such as exercising regularly and consuming a nutritious, well-balanced diet. But, while this approach can be very effective for overall weight loss, it is less so for spot reduction, such as targeting love handles or a muffin top. Here’s why:

When food is consumed, any excess calories are transformed into subcutaneous fat. During exercise, the process is reversed as stored fat is metabolized into energy. While any form of exercise can promote weight loss, it is impossible to influence which part of the body the metabolized fat is drawn from. In other words, working the abdominal muscles can potentially reduce stomach fat – but to no greater or lesser extent than it reduces fat in other areas of the body.

Abdominal liposuction

Where diet and exercise fail to spot reduce, liposuction can help. In general, stomach liposuction may be suitable for an individual who maintains a stable body weight and would like to address small pockets of stubborn fatty tissue in the abdominal region.

Types of stomach lipo

Several types of tummy liposuction can be performed through small incisions in the abdomen, including:

  • Suction-assisted liposuction – A surgeon uses a narrow tube (cannula) to loosen fat cells and suction them out of the body.
  • Ultrasound-assisted liposuction – After injecting a diluted anesthetic (tumescent solution) into fatty tissue under the skin, which causes the targeted area to become swollen and firm, a surgeon utilizes a specialized cannula that produces high-frequency sound waves to liquefy fat cells and suction them out of the body.
  • Power-assisted liposuction – To achieve heightened precision and minimize disruption to surrounding tissues, a surgeon performs lipo using a mechanized cannula with a vibrating tip.
  • Laser-assisted liposuction – After injecting a tumescent solution, a surgeon utilizes a thin laser fiber to further loosen fat cells and stimulate the production of collagen, which can sometimes produce a skin-tightening effect.

For any type of liposuction to be effective, the skin in the treated area must have a certain amount of existing tightness and elasticity. Skin often loosens over time, particularly in the abdominal region due to body weight fluctuations, pregnancy, or the effects of the natural aging process. If abdominal fat is removed through lipo but loose belly skin is not addressed, the skin will not retract properly over the body’s newly refined contours; rather, it will simply hang. To address this issue, an abdominoplasty procedure may be recommended instead of – or along with – tummy liposuction.


As compared to abdominal liposuction, abdominoplasty is a more invasive procedure. Instead of focusing solely on localized pockets of excess fat, a surgeon tightens loose skin, muscles, and other tissues.

Steps involved in a tummy tuck

When performing a traditional abdominoplasty, or full tummy tuck, a surgeon will typically:

  • Make a horizontal incision across the lower abdomen between the hip bones (the resulting scar can usually be concealed under a swimsuit)
  • Pull the abdominal skin tight and trim away the excess, along with any attached fat
  • Tighten weak fascia (connective tissue in the abdomen)
  • Tighten weak, lax, or overstretched abdominal muscles

Which type of abdominal contouring surgery is right for you?

The best way to determine whether cosmetic plastic surgery is right for you – and if so, the optimal approach – is to work with an experienced and trusted surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Daniel P. Greenwald, M.D., a Board-certified plastic surgeon who practices at Bayshore Plastic Surgery in Tampa, FL, is pleased to meet with prospective patients and answer their questions.

Over the last two decades, Dr. Greenwald has acquired a broad range of experience in performing stomach liposuction, abdominoplasty, and other cosmetic plastic surgery procedures. Widely known for his caring manner and personalized approach, he works closely with each patient to develop a customized treatment plan based on a number of unique factors, including the patient’s aesthetic preferences and body type.

Before proceeding with stomach liposuction or abdominoplasty surgery, it is important to understand that neither procedure is intended to be a weight-loss method or solution for obesity. Actually, to help ensure the best possible surgical outcome, Dr. Greenwald advises his patients to achieve a stable body weight that falls within 10 percent of ideal prior to undergoing any body contouring procedure. What’s more, he encourages his patients to practice healthy lifestyle habits and maintain a healthy body weight after surgery, which is essential for maintaining the final surgical result.

If you’d like to discuss abdominal liposuction, abdominoplasty, or another cosmetic procedure with Dr. Greenwald, contact Bayshore Plastic Surgery at 1-877-873-7522 to request an appointment.