Liposuction or Tummy Tuck: What's Right For You?


Medically Reviewed April 2023, by Pundrique Sharma - Consultant Aesthetic Plastic Surgeon

Is liposuction or tummy tuck right for me?

How many times have you looked in the mirror and sucked in your stomach to make it look flatter? Celebrity influence and social media culture would have us believe that the perfect body is having a flat stomach. Of course, it’s more important to be healthy than to have rock hard abs and a washboard stomach but for some, a little sculpt, firm and tone is all that’s necessary to attain the coveted flat stomach – and this is where liposuction and tummy tuck procedures come in.

Everyone’s heard of liposuction or tummy tuck surgery and it’s hard not to when faced with pictures of celebrities who’ve undergone one or the other on a near daily basis.

The question is, should you choose liposuction or tummy tuck? Many people wrongly believe that both procedures can aid with weight loss in actual fact, they’re designed to get rid of stubborn pockets of fat (in liposuction’s case) and to firm and tighten your abdomen (tummy tuck). With that in mind, how do you know which of these two procedures is right for you? Let’s take a look at the main differences between liposuction and tummy tuck surgery.


Overview: liposuction is a cosmetic procedure carried out by a plastic surgeon under general anaesthetic

What it does: removes stubborn pockets of fat after weight loss.

Treatment areas: stomach, buttocks, chin, knees, hips, inner and outer thighs, arms, breasts

Stipulations: your BMI will be assessed to determine whether or not the procedure is suitable for you, click here to read more on the importance of BMI when it comes to surgery.

Benefits: wider choice of clothes, motivation to pursue a healthy lifestyle, increased self-confidence, feel more in proportion

Liposuction recovery: the recovery time for liposuction is four to six weeks

Why should I have liposuction?

Here are some of the reasons people choose to undergo liposuction:

  • Liposuction can successfully remove those stubborn pockets of fat on which exercise has no effect.
  • Liposuction can make you look more in proportion (particularly helpful for pear-shaped women).
  • Liposuction can encourage and motivate you to continue exercising regularly and eating healthily.

Is liposuction right for me?

Ideal liposuction candidates are already at their target weight (or even slightly below) but have small deposits of fat which are resistant to exercise and controlled diets. The procedure will not help you lose weight but can leave you with a figure that is more in proportion and will help your clothes to fit better – often giving the appearance of weight loss.

Click here to read more about vaser liposuction trends from Dr Leonardo Fasano, Body Sculpting Specialist at The Harley Medical Group.

Tummy tuck (Abdominoplasty)

Overview: tummy tuck is a type of plastic surgery carried out by a surgeon under general anaesthetic

What it does: firms and tightens the sagging skin on the abdominal area where diet and exercise alone are not effective and is especially sought after by those who went through a massive weight loss process

Treatment areas: stomach

Stipulations: you'll need to be at your ideal weight prior to surgery

Benefits: feel more confident in swimwear and figure hugging outfits, regain pre-pregnancy figure, achieve a firm and flat stomach, wider choice of clothes

Tummy tuck recovery: recovering from a tummy tuck takes between six and eight weeks

Why should I have a tummy tuck?

Here are some of the reasons people choose to undergo tummy tuck surgery:

  • Following tummy tuck surgery, patients find they are able to wear more fitted clothes (as the procedure removes loose excess skin).
  • Tummy tuck patients benefit from regaining a more toned, tauter body.
  • Having a tummy tuck generally increases a patient’s self-esteem and self-confidence.

Is a tummy tuck right for me?

Ideal candidates for Tummy Tuck surgery are already at their target weight, usually having already lost a significant amount of weight. The procedure removes the excess skin you’re left with following this period of weight loss and tightens your abdominal muscles, leaving your stomach tighter, firmer and flatter.

So, liposuction or tummy tuck - which is better?

This depends on what you are looking to achieve. In some cases, patients go for both a tummy tuck and a liposuction, especially if they have lost a lot of weight and struggle with both stubborn fat and sagging skin on the abdominal area. Here's an amazing transformation on our lovely patient Zoe who opted for a tummy tuck and liposuction with Dr. George Samouris.

tummy tuck and liposuction before and after

Recovery time after tummy tuck and liposuction is approximately six weeks, meaning that for at least six weeks after surgery you should avoid physical activity and follow the aftercare guidance provided by your surgeon. In both cases, you will be advised to wear the compression garments recommended by your provider and you may be prescribed with pain medication.

You should be able to return to work within a week (if you have a desk-type job), but soreness and tenderness may limit the speed with which you can move about.

Not a weightloss tool

Contrary to popular belief, neither Liposuction nor Tummy Tucks should be used as quick fix weight loss tools. In fact, they are sculpting and firming aids for those who are already at their target weight – although each procedure attracts slightly different candidates.

Before you agree to go ahead with any cosmetic surgical procedure, we recommend that you book a free consultation with one of our medical experts. They will be able to advise you on the correct procedure to suit your needs as well as assess your suitability to your chosen cosmetic surgery.

Are you considering undergoing liposuction or tummy tuck surgery? Pose your pre-surgery questions over on our Instagram @harleymedical. 

Liposuction or tummy tuck? You can also combine them!

See a selection of procedures from our patients who have combined these procedures for the best results;

tummy tuck or liposuction, before and after surgeryliposuction or tummy tuck

Find more patient results on our Instagram. 

Posted March 29, 2022
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