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Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck

An active lifestyle coupled with a balanced diet has not dislodged your belly pouch or your love handles. Put simply, your efforts have not led to the physique you deserve. 

Liposuction and Tummy Tucks have helped thousands of Canadians target these problem areas. Whether you opt to permanently remove fat cells from those “hard-to-work” areas or to eliminate excess skin from your abdomen, these cosmetic procedures may be what you need to look your best. 

See how these procedures differ and learn which one is better suited to achieve your body goals.

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At a Glance: Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck  

Both Liposuction and Tummy Tuck are cosmetic surgical procedures designed to give you a firmer and more rejuvenated body shape. Liposuction does this by directly removing excess fat in those “hard-to-lose” areas like the belly, hips, thighs, and chin. A Tummy Tuck specifically tones your midsection by removing sagging skin and repairing abdominal muscles. While both procedures can help you improve your silhouette, neither should be your primary weight-loss method.  

Call Dr. Peterson at the Okanagan Health Surgical Centre at (250) 868-9099 or fill out this online contact form to discuss which surgical procedure is best suited to meet your body and health goals.  

What is the Difference Between Liposuction and Tummy Tuck?


Liposuction removes stubborn fat that does not respond to exercise and dieting in the following areas:

  • Belly and hips
  • Thighs and upper arms
  • Chin and face 

Liposuction does not address the skin that covers the treated areas. After the operation, the skin is left to wrap itself around the body’s new contours.   

Note that Liposuction does not remove stretch marks or cellulite. 

Tummy Tuck

Whereas Liposuction focuses on removing fat deposits from various areas of the body, a Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty specifically aims to remove excess skin and repair muscles in the abdominal region. 

A Tummy Tuck is excellent when used with Liposuction, to address loose or sagging skin. For patients who do not have very elastic skin, a Tummy Tuck is a great follow-up to Liposuction. 

Unlike Liposuction, a Tummy Tuck can remove stretch marks if they are part of the skin to be removed. 

An oft-overlooked benefit of a Tummy Tuck is its ability to repair abdominal muscles weakened by pregnancy or aging. A Tummy Tuck can give the patient a flatter and tighter stomach. 

How do they Work?


The surgeon makes a small incision in the treated area and inserts a thin tube through the cut. The tube, attached to a vacuum, suctions out a safe amount of excess fat from the treated area. Over time, the skin of the treated area will tighten itself and fit the body’s new contours. 

The patient is under anesthesia during the whole procedure. Multiple Liposuction sessions may be needed to achieve the desired result. 

Tummy Tuck

The surgeon makes an incision above the pubic line, exposing the abdominal muscles. The surgeon will then trim the excess skin and pull the remaining skin taut. If necessary, the surgeon will also stitch the abdominal muscles together. The skin removal process combines with the abdominal tightening to provide the patient with a firmer, flatter stomach. 

As with Liposuction, the patient is anesthetized. A Tummy Tuck can be performed in two to three hours. 

Recovery and Risks 


After the surgery, the patient should expect some temporary bruising and swelling in the treated areas. A compression garment and antibiotics may be necessary to control swelling and prevent infections, respectively. 

Most patients return to work within a few days and resume physical activities within a few weeks. Scars from the surgery should recede within a year. 

Liposuction is generally safe for healthy patients. Those within 30% of their body mass index and who do not smoke usually go through the surgery without any complications. 

Dangerous side effects, while rare, include:

  • Fat embolism
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Kidney and heart problems
  • Reactions to anesthetics 
  • Blood clots 

Tummy Tuck

Fully recovering from a Tummy Tuck can take up to two months.. While the patient can move around within a day, they will be on painkillers and antibiotics for the next two to three weeks. 

Strenuous physical activity during the recovery period is heavily discouraged. The patient should regularly check up with their surgeon to make sure the incision is healing properly. 

In terms of risks, a Tummy Tuck tends to carry more complications than Liposuction. This is especially true when it comes to infections.

Other potential side effects include:

  • Numbness in the abdominal area
  • Fluid accumulation 
  • Tissue necrosis 

Liposuction or Tummy Tuck: Which One is for You? 

Both Liposuction and Tummy Tuck can be effective cosmetic procedures to enhance your figure—especially when exercise and dieting are not doing the trick. Liposuction dislodges fat cells that simply refuse to respond to traditional weight loss methods. A Tummy Tuck removes excess skin and tightens abdominal muscles, revealing a firm and flat stomach. 

Learn which cosmetic procedure by calling Dr. Peterson at the Okanagan Health Surgical Centre at (250) 868-9099 or fill out the online contact form.


Q: Are Liposuction and Tummy Tuck good for losing weight?

A: No. Liposuction and Tummy Tucks are not designed to help you lose weight and should not replace exercise and dieting. In fact, you should be at a healthy weight in order to safely undergo these surgeries. 

Q: Which procedure costs more?

A: The costs of both procedures depend on the individual and the surgeon. However, a Tummy Tuck is generally more expensive as it is a more intensive treatment. 

Q: Are the results of Liposuction and Tummy Tuck permanent?

A: Yes. Liposuction permanently removes fat cells, and a Tummy Tuck permanently removes excess skin. However, your figure can still change due to future pregnancies or weight gains.

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I recently had liposuction done by Dr. Peterson to fix Coolsculpt I had had done that left me uneven. He was very professional, caring and compassionate and assured me everything could be fixed. I can't express my gratitude to Dr. Peterson for what an amazing job he did and how well he took care of me. I would highly recommend him to anyone looking for a plastic surgeon, in fact I have recommended him to many friends and they have all been very happy. My experience at the clinic was amazing, right from the beginning talking with Cynthia and the amazing care I got from all the nurses, I felt very special.

T. G.

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