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Tummy Tuck

What is The Difference Between Liposuction and Tummy Tuck?

By February 4, 2023 No Comments

Understanding the tummy tuck vs. lipo and lipo vs. tummy tuck is not always easy for a patient seeking the procedure. They are often both synonomous with creating a flat tummy. However, when it comes to a tummy tuck vs. liposuction, they take different approaches. A tummy tuck focuses on removing and tightening loose, extra skin. Liposuction uses a thin cannula to remove fat, but does not tighten or remove any skin. It is common for Dr. Jonov to perform tummy tuck and lipo during the same surgery. Let’s delve more into the frequently asked question, “Is tummy tuck same as liposuction?”

Tummy Tuck Vs LipoWhat is Tummy Tuck Meaning?

To first understand the question, “is tummy tuck the same as liposuction?” we need to understand exactly what a tummy tuck is. A tummy tuck surgery—also known as an abdominoplasty—is a surgery that involves a hip-to-hip incision. Via this incision, Dr. Jonov will remove unnecessary skin, tighten the remaining skin, and repair separated abdominal muscles using a process called muscle plication.

When comparing a tummy tuck to liposuction, patients may qualify for a tummy tuck if they have significant amounts of extra skin that has little chance of retracting after liposuction. This is common in people who have been pregnant or are experiencing thinner skin due to age. It is also important to note that different types of tummy tuck exist and patients also frequently compare a mini tummy tuck vs. liposuction.

A tummy tuck can also sometimes address certain medical conditions such as hernias, rashes that form from extra skin, issues exercising, incontinence, and back pain. Therefore, Seattle tummy tuck surgery can carry medical benefits in addition to cosmetic ones such as achieving a flatter, more toned abdomen.

What is Liposuction Meaning?

Liposuction is a minimally invasive surgery that uses a thin cannula to remove fat. Unlike with traditional weight loss method, lipo removes fat in localized areas. Thus, in the areas you may carry stubborn, extra fat such as the abdomen, thighs, flanks, back, etc. you can remove the fat only from those areas.

One of the major benefits of lipo is that is only requires small incisions of only a few centimeters. Additionally, the incisions are generally hidden in natural folds or creases of the body to keep them discreet. For example, the incision for thigh liposuction is often within the crease between the thigh and pubic region.

Along with removing fat, the harvested fat can be injected back into the body at a more desirable location such as the buttocks or breasts. These fat transfer procedures offer patients the opportunity to sculpt their body in ways not possible via diet and exercise. Now, that we understand what tummy tuck and liposuction are, let’s continue on with the question, “Is tummy tuck the same as liposuction?”

Do I Need Tummy Tuck or Lipo?

Patients often ask, “Is tummy tuck same as liposuction?” which is completely understandable considering they often set out to achieve similar goals. In a consultation, Dr. Jonov can provide more insight into tummy tuck vs. lipo, mini tummy tuck vs. liposuction, and lipo vs. tummy tuck and which is right for you. Here are 5 ways to determine if you need a tummy tuck or lipo.


As previously discussed, tummy tuck and liposuction are very different in their surgical approaches, but often treat the same areas. This causes people to ask, “Is tummy tuck same as liposuction?” Therefore, one of the ways to tell whether tummy tuck vs. lipo is right for you is to determine whether you need to primarily address fat or skin. If lipo vs. tummy tuck comes down to extra skin, then a tummy tuck with possible liposuction may be warranted. However, if fat is the main concern, it may come down to a mini tummy tuck vs. liposuction. If this is the case, a consultation with Seattle plastic surgeon, Dr. Craig Jonov can help determine which is best for you.


How does tummy tuck vs. lipo add up when considering anesthesia? Most of the time, both procedures are performed under general anesthesia. However, some facial liposuction or small liposuction procedures can be adequately performed under local anesthesia.

The biggest difference between lipo vs. tummy tuck is that liposuction carries a less painful recovery. Since the incisions are minimal and you are wearing a compression garment, patients usually only use prescription pain medications for a day or two. A tummy tuck, even when comparing a mini tummy tuck vs. liposuction, involves more post-operative pain and a longer recovery time.


When earlier comparing tummy tuck vs. lipo, we discussed the scars and incisions associated with each procedure. However, it’s barely a comparison between lipo vs. tummy tuck because liposuction—while it may involve more incisions—includes incisions a fraction of the size of a tummy tuck surgery. When trying to decide between tummy tuck or lipo, patients tend to gravitate towards liposuction because of this.

Even when comparing a mini tummy tuck vs. liposuction, the average liposuction incision is around two to three centimeters while a mini tummy tuck incision is between three and six inches.


Further investigating the question, “Is tummy tuck the same as liposuction? Results from lipo vs. tummy tuck surgery tend to look more dramatic following a tummy tuck. However, this is because bunched skin along with fat is removed and the muscles corrected. Even on a small scale such as with a mini tummy tuck vs. liposuction, the results are often more dramatic when a tummy tuck occurs.

However, this does mean that liposuction does not offer good results. When performed on the right patient, liposuction can be dramatic and life-changing. Therefore, tummy tuck vs. lipo results come down largely to the individual patient. Dr. Jonov can help you determine whether you will see better results with a tummy tuck or lipo.

Recovery Time

Tummy tuck vs. lipo recovery time are very different. A tummy tuck usually takes a minimum of two to three weeks to get back to work and most activities. However, with liposuction, most patients can return to work in about a week or two. With that said, lipo vs. tummy tuck surgery recovery times can vary based on the patient and their needs. Regardless of when they return to work following a tummy tuck or lipo, if any liposuction was performed, patients will still need to wear a compression garment under their clothes or when they are at home. This remains true even when comparing mini tummy tuck vs. liposuction. Thus, providing more insight into the question, “Is tummy tuck same as liposuction?”

Frequently Asked Questions

Is lipo cheaper than a tummy tuck?

One of the biggest factors that determine whether a patient chooses a tummy tuck or lipo is price. The price of a tummy tuck vs. lipo is stark. A tummy tuck surgery in Seattle starts at $7,485 while one area of liposuction starts at $2,995. Though, it is important to note, especially when comparing lipo vs. tummy tuck prices that most patients require more than one area of liposuction.

A mini tummy tuck vs. lipo is less of a difference and depending on the number of liposuction areas needed, can be more of a toss up. A mini tummy tuck starts at $6,995. This alone helps answer the question, “Is tummy tuck same as liposuction?”

Who is not a good candidate for liposuction?

Lipo vs. tummy tuck candidates have a lot of overlap. In fact, many will likely undergo both surgeries. However, a patient who is not a good candidate for liposuction will likely be a good candidate for tummy tuck. This is often determined when evaluating for tummy tuck vs. lipo and discovering the patient needs more skin removed than fat. Therefore, in these cases, the patient may undergo a tummy tuck without liposuction.

What is the ideal weight for liposuction?

There is no one ideal weight for liposuction. This is true whether comparing tummy tuck vs. lipo, or looking at each procedure individually. Usually, patients with a BMI of 30 or under can safely undergo a tummy tuck or lipo. However, in some cases, especially when BMI is not an accurate way to evaluate a patient for whatever reason, the weight may be higher.

Again, when it comes to a mini tummy tuck vs. lipo, patients will likely have more similarities in their weight. While fat is removed during liposuction, it often does not amount to more than ten pounds. Thus, since less skin and fat are removed during a mini tummy tuck, the patients tend to be similar in weight.

Which is better lipo or tummy tuck?

Similar to the question of “Is tummy tuck same as liposuction?”, patients ultimately want to know which is better between tummy tuck vs. lipo aaor mini tummy tuck vs. liposuction. The answer ultimately depends on your anatomy, goals for the procedure, and which procedure you are a candidate for.

Dr. Jonov specializes in performing combined tummy tuck and liposuction surgery. Instead of asking whether a tummy tuck or lipo is better, the correct answer for many patients is both.