Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction Surgery: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to body contouring procedures, tummy tuck and liposuction are two popular options. While both procedures can enhance the appearance of the abdomen, they target different concerns and provide distinct outcomes. In this article, we explore the key differences between a tummy tuck and liposuction to help you better understand which procedure may be suitable for your goals.

Tummy Tuck

  • Purpose: A tummy tuck is primarily performed to address excess skin, loose abdominal muscles, and localized fat in the abdomen.
  • Procedure: During a tummy tuck, the surgeon makes a horizontal incision typically from hip to hip, removes excess skin and fat, and tightens the underlying abdominal muscles. The remaining skin is then repositioned to create a smoother, more contoured abdomen.
  • Candidates: Ideal candidates for a tummy tuck are individuals with significant skin laxity, weakened abdominal muscles, and excess fat deposits that have not responded well to diet and exercise. It is commonly sought by individuals who have undergone significant weight loss or pregnancy.
  • Results: A tummy tuck can provide a flatter, tighter abdomen with improved muscle definition. It can address issues such as stretched skin, separated abdominal muscles (diastasis recti), and excess fat.


  • Purpose: Liposuction is primarily used to remove excess fat deposits from specific areas of the body, including the abdomen.
  • Procedure: During liposuction, small incisions are made, and a thin tube called a cannula is inserted to suction out the targeted fat deposits. The procedure can be performed using various techniques, such as traditional liposuction, tumescent liposuction, or laser-assisted liposuction.
  • Candidates: Liposuction is suitable for individuals who have localized fat deposits that are resistant to diet and exercise. It is not intended as a weight loss method but rather as a contouring procedure.
  • Results: Liposuction can result in improved body contours by removing excess fat from specific areas, including the abdomen. It does not address loose skin or correct muscle separation like a tummy tuck.

A tummy tuck and liposuction are distinct procedures with different purposes and outcomes. While a tummy tuck addresses excess skin, muscle laxity, and localized fat, liposuction specifically targets stubborn fat deposits. Understanding these differences is crucial in determining which procedure aligns best with your aesthetic goals and concerns.

In some cases, a tummy tuck and liposuction can be performed together, targeting both excess skin, fat, and muscle laxity. This combined procedure is often referred to as a lipoabdominoplasty or a tummy tuck with liposuction.

It’s essential to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to determine which procedure is most suitable for your specific concerns and goals. They will evaluate your individual circumstances and help you make an informed decision about the best approach to achieve the desired results.

Learn about the cost of liposuction and how it compares to price of tummy tuck.

Content written by Andrew Proulx, MD | Reviewed by Charlie Chen, MD | Last updated 6/19/2023