Liposuction vs. Tummy Tucks

“Liposuction or tummy tucks” is a popular question for patients new to body contouring. Does one have a distinct advantage over the other? The truth is, which procedure is better depends on your unique anatomy, your aesthetic goals, and what body contouring circumstances you want to address.

Reshape Your Body

Dr. Kimberly Short, of the Gillian Institute, can help you determine which body contouring procedure will best suit your goals and situation. The cornerstone of our procedures at the Gillian Institute is patient safety and satisfaction. Dr. Short is dedicated to helping you find the best body contouring solutions that preserve your natural essence and help enhance your physique.

If you’re ready to discover the benefits of body contouring from a board-certified expert in aesthetic surgery, contact the Gillian Institute and book a consultation. You can also call one of our conveniently located offices.

Northern Indianapolis: (317) 913-3260

Downtown Indianapolis: (317) 787-3260

Before and After Photos

Tummy Tuck or Liposuction

Tummy tucks or liposuction is a question that depends on your aesthetic goals and your unique anatomy and physiology. The procedures address different issues so some patients will benefit from each one. Sometimes, patients opt for both procedures.

  • Liposuction removes fat deposits that can be difficult to work off through diet and exercise
  • Tummy tucks remove excess skin, redrapes skin and possible repositions muscles that are  impossible to address without assistance

This basic difference will determine if either procedure is suitable for patients.


Liposuction is a time-tested body contouring procedure that eliminates troublesome bulges that ignore your efforts of diet and exercise. The goal of liposuction is to address targeted areas of excess fat that just do not disappear with diet and exercise. Everyone’s body has areas that attract fat deposits, such as the love handles or flanks. Liposuction assists your efforts to hone your physique how you want. Patients should be at or near ideal body weight as the procedure shouldn’t be used for weight-loss.

At the Gillian Institute, we use a four-stage technique intended to maximize skin contraction and provide the utmost flexibility of body contouring.

Four-step Liposuction Technique

  1. Tumescent Liquid – We introduce a tumescent liquid into the treatment area. A tumescent solution is a form of anesthetic that numbs the treatment area and prepares it for a procedure.
  2. External Ultrasound – We apply an external ultrasound applied over the skin in a soft, rotating manner. The ultrasound emits waves that harmlessly penetrate into the skin. The waves initiate skin contraction in the outer layer. This process helps resolve irregularities in the skin and assists the overall process
  3. Vibrational energy – We use vibrational energy to dislodge and emulsify fat cells in the targeted area. This energy prepares fat deposits for removal by separating them from the surrounding tissue. This protects the tissue and leads to reduced discomfort with an easier recovery. This helps make those more difficult areas much easier to treat such as love handles in men and the hips in women.
  4. Cannula – We use a thin tube called a cannula to gently vacuum out the fat cells from the area resisting your efforts. The combination of tumescent liquid and ultrasound energy makes this process safer, more comfortable, and more effective.

Our four-step process makes liposuction a great team player. Ultrasound-assisted liposuction very effectively combines liposuction with fat grafting techniques for synergistic body contouring.[1] One popular combination is using the vacuumed fat to augment the buttocks.

Tummy Tucks

Tummy tucks, or abdominoplasty, aim to remove excess skin, tighten the skin and muscles, and recontour the body. Tummy tucks today have a number of variations that allow aesthetic surgeons maximum flexibility.

Different Types of Tummy Tuck

Mini Tuck

The mini tuck works best for patients who maintain a good physique but simply can’t reach their ab goals by exercising and dieting. The mini technique leaves the smallest scar that is the easiest to hide with bath suitings or clothing.

Standard Tummy Tuck

The standard tummy tuck flattens the tummy and tightens abdominal muscles. It removes excess skin and re-drapes the remaining skin to create a smooth result. For patients with excess skin underneath the belly button, the standard tummy tuck proves an excellent body sculpting option.

It also tightens the muscles which provides additional contouring capabilities. The abdominal tightening can treat diastasis recti, which is a condition where the stomach muscles have separated. Diastasis recti are common in women that have given birth.

Extended Tummy Tuck

For significant amounts of excess skin, an extended tummy tuck will often provide an optimal solution. In the extended version, your surgeon will remove and reposition the belly button in order to better address the excess skin. This allows for great flexibility in body contouring to achieve the desired outcome for the patient.

The incisions cover the entire width of the abdominal area. This makes extended tucks well suited for patients after weight loss or after pregnancy. This variation is sometimes coupled with liposuction to achieve the patient’s desired result.

Reverse Tummy Tuck

While traditional tummy tucks focus on tightening the skin on the lower abdomen to create a flat stomach, reverse tucks focus on the upper abdomen. In some patients, their troublesome area is the upper abdomen and the region below the breasts. Reverse tucks address this area and extend the range of sculpting options to shape the upper abdomen.

High Tension Tummy Tuck

Also called a high lateral tummy tuck, a high tension tummy tuck tightens the abdominal wall below the belly button but works in two directions. The standard tuck only tightens vertically. High tension tightens horizontally as well as vertically to help sculpt the waist into desired proportions.

A standard tuck contours the waistline. By tightening both horizontally and vertically, high tension tummy tucks create a natural “corset” effect. This variation provides the highest degree of waistline remodeling to help patients achieve the silhouette of their dreams. It also tightens the skin just below the breasts. It can repair abdominal muscles on two or three levels and also enhance the curves of the hip and thighs. The reported results from high-tension abdominoplasty show it’s extremely effective.[2]


What distinguishes a traditional panniculectomy is that the procedure doesn’t tighten abdominal muscles. It just focuses on removing excess skin and fat tissue. Modern panniculectomy usually aims to remove a significant amount of tissue after weight loss. They are ideal for patients that just lost a significant amount of weight and carry excess skin, sometimes called an “apron”.

Liposuction vs Tummy: Which is Better?

Each procedure and variation have a valued place in an aesthetic surgeon’s toolkit. Some patients will benefit the most from one while other patients might require a completely different method to achieve their body contouring goals. The way to determine the best body contouring strategy is through a personal consultation.

Your Personal Consultation in Indianapolis

The Gillian Institute views every patient consultation as an opportunity to build a relationship. We will listen to all aesthetic goals and desires and review your medical history. Bring all your questions with you and we will take the time to thoroughly answer all of them. We want to help you devise the best plan to achieve your aspirations.

Learn more about which body contouring option will benefit you the most by contacting us today.

The medical staff at the Gillian are not just professionals but patients themselves. Our team understands what it’s like to be a patient which allows us to perform personalized procedures with the attention to care that you deserve. The cost of the consultation will be applied to your selected procedure.

Northern Indianapolis: (317) 913-3260

Downtown Indianapolis: (317) 787-3260

Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck Results

The fat cells removed during liposuction cannot return. This isn’t a free pass to give up diet and exercise. The remaining fat cells can still expand.

A tummy tuck leads to a firmer more toned midriff and lends itself to additional body sculpting options.

Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck Cost

Liposuction is less intensive and usually costs less than a tummy tuck. The cost for both, however, have a wide range depending on how involved the procedure will be. After your consultation, we can provide clear and transparent prices for all the procedures that might suit you.


  1. Duscher, D., Maan, Z. N., Luan, A., Aitzetmüller, M. M., Brett, E. A., Atashroo, D., Whittam, A. J., Hu, M. S., Walmsley, G. G., Houschyar, K. S., Schilling, A. F., Machens, H. G., Gurtner, G. C., Longaker, M. T., & Wan, D. C. (2017). Ultrasound-assisted liposuction provides a source for functional adipose-derived stromal cells. Cytotherapy, 19(12), 1491–1500.
  2. Le Louarn, C., Pascal, J.F. The High-Superior-Tension Technique: Evolution of Lipoabdominoplasty. Aesth Plast Surg 34, 773–781 (2010).