If you’re over 40, odds are you have some issues with your lower abdomen. If a person has gained and then lost weight, if they’ve gained a few pounds as their metabolism has slowed down, or if aging skin and muscles have simply created a pooch on the lower abdomen, it’s an almost universal complaint. Just think of all the miracle products on late night TV designed specifically to give you “rock hard” abs.
These products are pretty much worthless because fat is very difficult to target in this area of the body. Anything short of a hunger strike isn’t likely to get rid of any fat in the stomach area. And if your skin is loose from pregnancy or weight loss, you’re not tightening that up with any infomercial waste of money.
Liposuction or a tummy tuck with Dr. Gaines, however, can do something about your stomach area. And while their goals are similar — a leaner, tighter contour — their means are quite different.
Each year, liposuction is usually the top or second-most popular cosmetic surgery in the U.S. Liposuction targets excess pockets of fat such as love handles, spare tires, and muffin tops. People like liposuction because, while it is invasive, it doesn’t demand the recovery periods of full surgery. Dr. Gaines wants our liposuction candidates to be within 10% of their ideal body weight and have tried both diet and exercise to get rid of stubborn areas of fat. Liposuction is best for patients who also still have good elasticity in their stomach skin.
Unlike liposuction, which removes only fat, a tummy tuck improves the appearance of the midsection by removing loose, hanging abdominal skin and tightening the abdominal muscles for a well-contoured abdomen. This is particularly the case for women who have had children and others who have gained and lost large amounts of weight. The skin has been overstretched for too long and can’t return to its former degree of tautness. With stomach muscles that have become separated, there isn’t any way to bring them back to the center except with this surgery.
Or maybe both procedures are right for you
If you have issues with both excess fat and skin laxity in the abdominal area, Dr. Gaines combines both liposuction and a tummy tuck as part of your body-contouring plan. Tummy tuck procedures often include some degree of liposuction because it is a more effective way to remove certain fat pockets.
Not for weight loss
Some people think, mistakenly, that these procedures can be used for weight loss. Not so. Neither liposuction nor tummy tucks are weight loss panaceas. Patients need to be at or near their ideal body weight to qualify for these procedures with Dr. Gaines.