Saw a patient the other day who wanted an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) to improve the contour of her waist after having five children. She was unsure if she needed liposuction in conjunction with the abdominoplasty procedure. So how do you know if liposuction will be needed and is it safe to do both the abdominoplasty and liposuction procedures together?
First, it is safe to do liposuction with an abdominoplasty if the surgeon has the proper experience and training. “Lipoabdominoplasty” is the term commonly used nowadays to describe this procedure. The blood supply to the abdominal skin must be preserved utilizing specific surgical techniques. As long as the blood supply is not compromised then liposuction can be safely performed. Liposuction does add time and complexity to the procedure. Liposuction not only removes unwanted fat from beneath the skin to improve the final result, but it serves a secondary function in allowing the skin to be repositioned during the abdominoplasty procedure thereby enhancing the contour of the waist.
So how do you know if you would benefit from lipopsuction in conjunction with the abdominoplasty procedure? If you can pinch 2+ inches in the area above the belly button and/or along the sides of your waist or you have “love handles” you are a candidate for liposuction. The excessive skin and fat below the belly button will be removed surgically during the abdominoplasty procedure so this area is not considered when making the pre-operative decision as to whether or not to perform liposuction.