Plastic Surgery & Cosmetic Center

How to Choose: Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction

How to Choose: Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction

Having excess fat on the abdomen is a significant concern for many people. Even with a good diet and plenty of exercise, getting rid of abdominal fat can be near impossible for some. Dr. Timothy Janiga offers tummy tuck and liposuction as options for fat removal on the abdomen and waist. Both options have various advantages and disadvantages, so which one is right for you?

What is the Procedure Like?

Liposuction and tummy tuck are popular procedures that remove fat and contour the abdomen. These surgeries appeal to patients with similar cosmetic goals, but one may be better for you than the other.

Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck removes loose, excess skin and fat on the stomach as well as tightens up lax muscles. Pregnancy or significant weight fluctuations can stretch out the skin on the stomach and make it inelastic. This can create an unflattering contour as loose skin hangs over the midsection. The tummy tuck can be used to restore a flat, toned midsection while fixing the abdominal muscles if they have been stretched or separated. An incision is made near the bikini line, and through this, Dr. Janiga will remove the skin and fat, and repair the muscles underneath. You will be under general anesthesia for this surgery and it typically takes two to three hours to complete.


Liposuction is a good fit if you wish to remove small fat deposits on the abdomen and waist and you have a smaller amount of excess skin. The procedure removes fat deposits from the targeted area and can be combined with radio-frequency skin tightening called BodyTite for smaller amounts of excess skin. However, you should have good skin elasticity so that the skin adheres to the new contours. Dr. Janiga will use small port sites in the treatment area where he will remove the fat by using a surgical tool called a cannula. Depending on how much fat is to be removed, the surgery time can range from one to four hours. Small areas can be done in the office under local anesthesia while larger areas usually have to be done under general anesthesia in an accredited surgical facility.

Who is a Good Candidate?

Neither procedure is meant to be a weight loss procedure. Rather, these are body contouring procedures to help you put the final touches on your desired look. You should be in good general health and at or near your ideal weight prior to getting a tummy tuck or liposuction.

Tummy Tuck

If you have a larger amount of excess fat and skin or significant muscle weakness in this area you are likely a better candidate for a tummy tuck to rebuild the underlying structures and remove the fat/skin.  Ideal patients for a tummy tuck have more significant excess, loose skin and fat in the abdominal region.


If you have good underlying muscle and a small amount of skin excess you may be able to do liposuction or liposuction with BodyTite alone.  Ideal candidates for liposuction have good skin elasticity and small pockets of fat. You should not get liposuction if you have large amounts of fat and should postpone liposuction if you are trying to lose weight until you are close to that weight.

What’s The Recovery Like?

Tummy tuck and liposuction have very different recoveries, the tummy tuck recovery is generally longer than the liposuction recovery.

Tummy Tuck

A compression garment will be worn on the abdomen after the tummy tuck. This will be worn for a few weeks to aid in healing and improving blood circulation. You should be up and walking within a day or two.  Depending on your job, you will need to take work off for at least two weeks. Dr. Janiga will advise you as to when you can return to work. You should not lift more than twenty pounds or participate in strenuous activities for six weeks following surgery. The full results from your tummy tuck procedure should appear within three months.


After the liposuction procedure, you may be fitted with a compression garment to help with swelling and healing. Depending on how large of an area is treated you may need 2-7 days to rest and recover. Smaller areas may not require time off, while larger areas (depending on your activity at your job) may need a week.  Dr. Janiga will give you specifics based on your case and your employment.  Strenuous activities should be avoided for up to three weeks. You will see the full results of your liposuction after 6 months.

Schedule a Consultation

Although both tummy tuck and liposuction aim to remove fat and improve the appearance of your midsection, these are markedly different treatments. There are also nonsurgical procedures for body contouring that achieve similar results, which you can read about in our blog. To find out which procedure is best for you and your goals, contact Janiga MDs in Reno, Nevada.

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