Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty Surgery

A Liposuction or a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) after Pregnancy or Weight Loss?

Is your skin quality suitable for a Liposuction procedure alone? Liposuction is an option for body altering, but there are often misconceptions about what it entails. Our Victorian cosmetic plastic surgeon, Dr Patrick Briggs, aims to clarify the key facts you should be aware of when considering Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty Surgery.

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One of the most common treatment options for altering body shape is liposuction.

Factors such as ageing, weight fluctuations, and childbirth can change the body. While diet and exercise contribute to overall health and shape, they may not address everything.

While exercise plays a crucial role in maintaining health, it may not always get the specific shape our patients wants. For example, stubborn fat deposits can diminish with exercise but may require surgical intervention for complete removal. As each patient is unique, Melbourne Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Patrick Briggs, will tailor a treatment plan to your individual needs and goals.

What Is Liposuction – or ‘Lipo’?

Liposuction is the removal of fat deposits beneath the skin through the use of a cannula. During the liposuction procedure, small incisions are made in the treatment areas. A cannula is then inserted through the small incisions, and fat is suctioned out.

There are many liposuction techniques performed today with each liposuction technique having its own advantages and disadvantages.

3 Key Things to Know About Liposuction

1. Liposuction is NOT a substitute for weight loss

It’s crucial to emphasize that liposuction is not a weight loss procedure. Its purpose is to target and eliminate stubborn pockets of fat that are resistant to a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Liposuction can only remove a limited amount of fat for safety reasons. If weight loss is your goal, consult with your healthcare provider for guidance on changing your diet and exercise routine.

2. Versatile Treatment for Different Body Areas

Liposuction is often associated with abdominal fat removal, but its versatility extends to various body areas for fat reduction.

Liposuction can be utilised for your arms, thighs, chest, buttocks, or even specific facial regions.

3. Liposuction recovery time is roughly two weeks

Recovery after liposuction is roughly two weeks but adhering to our post-operative instructions is crucial to prevent potential complications.

During the initial days post-surgery, you may experience discomfort, swelling, bruising, drainage, and occasional nausea, which are all part of the process. We’ll provide detailed guidance on the complete recovery journey during your consultation.

To explore liposuction and the various body shaping options available, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Dr Patrick Briggs, plastic surgeon in Melbourne, Victoria.

Am I a potential Candidate for Liposuction?

A potential candidate for liposuction typically:

  • Has Stubborn Fat Deposits: Liposuction is for individuals who have localised areas of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise. It’s not a solution for weight loss.
  • Is in Good Overall Health: Candidates should generally be in good physical and mental health. Pre-existing medical conditions may need to be addressed.
  • Has Realistic Expectations: A candidate should understand that liposuction can change body shape but may not achieve perfection.
  • Is at a Stable Weight: Candidates should be at or near their ideal weight.
  • Has Elastic Skin: Good skin elasticity is important for optimal results. Skin should be able to shrink to the new shape after fat removal.
  • Is Non-Smoking or Willing to Quit: Smoking can impede healing, so candidates will need to quit smoking for a period before and after the procedure.
  • Has Specific Concern Areas: Liposuction is versatile and can be used on various body areas, including the abdomen, thighs, hips, arms, and more. Candidates should have specific areas they want to target.
  • Is Committed to a Healthy Lifestyle: After liposuction, maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine is crucial to sustain the results.
  • Has No Blood Clotting Disorders: Candidates should not have conditions that affect blood clotting, as this could increase the risk of complications.
  • Is Well-Informed: Candidates should be well-informed about the liposuction procedure, including its risks, reasons, and the recovery process.

It’s important to have a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon to determine if liposuction is suitable for your specific needs and circumstances. The surgeon will assess your individual situation and discuss whether liposuction is the choice or if alternative treatments may be more appropriate.

Will Liposuction really help?

Liposuction can be effective for individuals who have localised areas of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise. It’s a tool for body shaping and can help alter the overall appearance of specific areas. However, whether liposuction will truly work depends on several factors, including:

  • Candidate Suitability
  • Area of Treatment
  • Skin Elasticity
  • Postoperative Care
  • Lifestyle Factor

It’s essential to approach it as a complementary tool for body shaping and not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle. Consulting with a qualified plastic surgeon is crucial for understanding whether liposuction is an option for you and what outcomes you can realistically expect.

Choosing Between Liposuction and Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty): What’s an option for You?

While liposuction is a body shaping option, some individuals may be potential candidates for a Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty procedure. Ultimately, the choice depends on several factors, and consulting with a specialist surgeon is an option to determine which one suits your needs.

During a consultation, you can explore your goals, understand the possibilities and limitations of each procedure, and make an informed decision about your body shaping journey. Importantly, there’s no obligation to proceed with surgery after your consultation, ensuring that you have all the information you need to make a choice for your unique situation.

Recovery after Liposuction

It’s important to remember that all surgical procedures carry inherent risks and should be taken seriously. The relatively small incisions made during liposuction contribute to a shorter recovery period compared to more invasive surgeries. However, it’s crucial to understand that being minimally invasive doesn’t eliminate the need for some downtime.

You should anticipate a recovery period of approximately one to four weeks before you can resume your regular daily activities, and even longer if you engage in heavy lifting. Dr Briggs will provide you with personalised guidance for your recovery and downtime, as these factors can vary based on individual patient needs and the specifics of the surgery.

Overview of Post-Op Liposuction Surgery Recovery Period

  • The majority of patients undergoing liposuction are able to gently move around a bit as soon as the Anesthesia has worn off.
  • After the liposuction procedure is complete, compression garments or bandages are applied to the treated areas of the body.
  • These compression garments are vital to the success of your liposuction procedure.
  • Bruising and swelling are the most common side-effects of liposuction.
  • While bruising will disappear within one to two weeks, swelling may persist for a month or more.

Pain, discomfort, and tenderness as a result of liposuction can be treated with medication and is usually manageable. We recommend patients refrain from strenuous activities for the first month after their liposuction procedure. The majority of our patients are able to return to work within a few days of the procedure. Patients are advised to follow after-care instructions diligently to ensure proper healing and optimal results.

Compression Garments After Abdominoplasty vs Liposuction

Wearing a compression garment after abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and after liposuction serves distinct purposes due to the nature of the procedures. Here are the key differences:

Surgical Procedure

Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck): Abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure that involves removing excess skin and fat from the abdominal area. It can also include tightening the abdominal muscles for a flatter and firmer appearance.

Liposuction: Liposuction targets specific areas of localised fat deposits. It uses a suction technique to remove excess fat cells.

Purpose of Compression Garment

Abdominoplasty: The primary purpose of a compression garment after abdominoplasty is to provide support and reduce swelling. It helps in maintaining the new shape and holds the muscles and tissues in their new position. Additionally, it minimises the risk of fluid accumulation (seroma) in the treated area.

Liposuction: After liposuction, compression garments serve multiple functions. They help control swelling, improve blood circulation, and provide support to the treated areas. Compression also assists in postoperative pain management and reduces the risk of shape irregularities.

Coverage Area

Abdominoplasty: Compression garments after abdominoplasty typically cover the entire abdominal region and extend to the lower back and hips.

Liposuction: Compression garments after liposuction are designed to cover the specific areas where liposuction was performed, such as the abdomen, thighs, flanks, or arms. They are more targeted in their coverage.

Tightness and Compression Level

Abdominoplasty: The compression garment after abdominoplasty is often tighter and provides higher compression to support the reshaped abdominal area and maintain the muscle repair.

Liposuction: Compression garments after liposuction offer a moderate level of compression. The focus is on reducing swelling and ensuring comfort while allowing the treated areas to heal.

In summary, compression garments after abdominoplasty focus on supporting the extensive reshaping of the abdominal area, while those after liposuction target specific areas of fat removal and provide more moderate compression. The choice of garment and its duration of use will depend on the individual’s surgical procedure and the surgeon’s recommendations.

Tumescent Liposuction after Weight Loss or Bariatric Surgery

Liposuction alone also involves incisions (it is STILL a surgery), but they are much smaller as they only need to allow for a cannula to enter to the area where fat is to be removed with suction-assisted Liposuction (Tumescent Liposuction).

The incisions for a Tummy Tuck/abdominoplasty are more extensive.  Wounds take longer to heal and you’ll need to care for them as your Surgeon recommends to get the best scar minimisation results.  

Minimising scars after Liposuction

Dr Briggs also offers additional treatments such as Healite II and Fraxel when necessary to aid in scar reduction. However, as a meticulous surgeon, if you diligently follow the post-operative instructions to minimise scarring, you’ll notice significant fading of scars over a span of 12 to 18 months, with most scars reaching maturity between 12 and 24 months.

Dr Patrick Briggs Melbourne

Dr Patrick Briggs FRACS (Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) is a Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon.

Both he and his team are dedicated to patient care and are committed to treating each and every patient with respect and privacy.

Furthermore, he is experienced in BreastBody and Face Surgery having performed over 4500 Surgeries in private practice.

How can we help?

Dr Briggs’ Patient Coordinators take pleasure in assisting you with any questions when considering a plastic surgery procedure. Please call the Hawthorn East clinic in Melbourne between 9 AM – 5 PM on Weekdays.

Phone (03) 8849 1400 Or Email us.

What Next?

Want more information about your Procedure?

  • For more information about pricing and payment methods, please visit our page on Surgery Payment options.
  • Talk to our Patient Care Team from 8 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday on (03) 8849 1400.

What to Bring to Your Consultation

  • If you like, please bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices.
  • Take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents your surgeon provides.
  • You may need to undress so it’s a good idea to wear simple clothes.

How to Book a Consultation

  • Dr Briggs’ Consultation fee is $300.
  • A referral from your GP or your specialist is essential (as of the 1st July 2023).
  • Please contact the Patient Care Team at Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery to book your consultation.


The information provided in this article is for educational and informational proposes. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article. The author and publisher of this article make no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, or completeness of the content of this article. The information contained in this article is strictly at your own risk.