There’s stubborn fat or skin on your tummy that just won’t disappear, even with daily exercise and a nutritious diet. You’ve tried all the trendy regimens out there: paleo, keto and low-carb. You even switched to vegan for several months. You hired a personal trainer, bought various gym memberships, and purchased a top-of-the-line exercise bike. Nothing is working. Naturally, you’ve turned to plastic surgery, and are likely deciding between two of the most popular stomach surgeries: liposuction or abdominoplasty, aka tummy tuck. 

Which one is right for you and your needs?

There are multiple factors to consider when choosing between the two. Although both focus on achieving a flatter and smoother stomach area, the surgeries, results, and recovery times vary greatly. 

The Surgery

A tummy tuck and liposuction have similar goals: to slim down your tummy. However, both are performed utilizing different procedures and techniques. Using a cannula and a vacuum-like device, liposuction can suction out unwanted fat that won’t respond to diet and exercise from various areas of the body, including the stomach, arms, thighs, lower back, hips, and chin. An abdominoplasty removes excess fat, skin, and tissue from the stomach, in addition to tightening the abdominal muscles. 

Depending on the areas of the stomach you want toned and trimmed, you can opt for a mini, full, upper, or reverse tummy tuck. This procedure is typically completed after a major weight loss or pregnancy. Simply put, liposuction removes excess, unwanted fat, while the tummy tuck tones and eliminates sagging skin and fat. 

Although both focus on achieving a flatter and smoother stomach area, the surgeries, results, and recovery times vary greatly. 

The Results

Both techniques produce long-lasting results, however, they can be compromised by excessive weight gain or loss. They don’t remove all existing fat cells and tissue, so the remaining can inflate and deflate based on your diet and exercise regimen. Liposuction leaves your stomach flatter, with less fat around the midsection, while an abdominoplasty creates a more toned and firm abdomen. If you’re looking to get rid of sagging skin and fat, while making your abdominal wall stronger, a tummy tuck is right for you. If you just want fat removal and a flatter tummy, liposuction is the answer. 

Recovery Time

Liposuction recovery time is about five to seven days, while a tummy tuck requires two to three weeks of healing. During this time, you should take off of work and avoid strenuous activity. You may need to ask a friend or family member to help you around the house during the first few days. If you’re looking for a speedy recovery, liposuction may be the right choice for you. 


A board-certified plastic surgeon who has years of experience and training will ensure there is minimal scarring. However, no matter how great a surgeon, there will always be a scar from either liposuction or a tummy tuck. After liposuction, patients will be left with small scars at the site of the cannula. These should fade over time. A tummy tuck will leave a slightly bigger scar. It will run across the lower abdomen, but should be strategically placed so it can be covered by underwear and bathing suits. This should also fade over time. If you don’t want a large scar, you may want to choose liposuction, however, if the tradeoff of sagging skin is worth it, choose a tummy tuck. 


Liposuction is less expensive than a tummy tuck. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of liposuction is $3,548, while the average cost of a tummy tuck is $6,092. However, additional costs may include anesthesia and facility charges, medical tests, compression garments, medications, and surgeon fees. 

Dr. Anthony Buglino of Buglino Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery in Woodbury, NY can help you decide between a liposuction and abdominoplasty. Schedule a free consultation, so Dr. Buglino can discuss your goals and determine the best option to achieve them. Options include a liposuction, tummy tuck, or combination of the two.

Topics: Body Contouring, Tummy Tuck, Liposuction