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Matt Hlavacek, MD, DDS
Jason Baker, DDS



The benefits of combining a tummy tuck and liposuction

May 27, 2014, 4:13 am

combining tummy tuck and liposuction

Who doesn’t want to speed recovery and reduce risks when it comes to cosmetic surgery? Recently, a first-of-its-kind study was reported in the medical journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery — Global Open® which suggests that combining ultrasound assisted liposuction with a tummy tuck may do both of those things. The report suggests that patients experience better outcomes and have lower rates of complications when combining both procedures.

Ultrasound assisted liposuction

At Kansas City Surgical Arts, Dr. Hlavacek offers three types of liposuction — standard, SmartLipo™, and ultrasound assisted. While each of these procedures has its own benefits, ultrasound assisted liposuction (UAL) has specifically been suggested as most beneficial when combined with a tummy tuck, but what is it? UAL is a fairly new method of addressing stubborn fat that won’t respond to diet and exercise, and works by using ultrasonic waves to loosen and liquefy fat before removal — which significantly lowers risk of damage to surrounding tissues. Because the ultrasonic waves loosen and liquefy the fat prior to removal, the procedure is easier on the body than more traditional methods of fat removal, and there is typically less bleeding associated with UAL than with standard liposuction.

Tummy tuck

A tummy tuck, also called abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the midsection while also addressing weakened or separated abdominal muscles. A tummy tuck typically results in a flatter abdomen and trimmer waistline, and is an ideal procedure for repairing abdominal muscle damage after pregnancy — as well as for removing excess skin tissue and stubborn fat after significant weight loss. A tummy tuck may also be used to combat some of the negative effects of the normal aging process.

Combining a tummy tuck with ultrasound assisted liposuction

Combining liposuction with other procedures has long been a common practice and is associated with multiple benefits, especially with combining ultrasound assisted liposuction with a tummy tuck. When combined, the procedure is called lipoabdominoplasty (say that ten times fast!). A known risk for both procedures when done individually is the development of seromas, which are collections of excess fluid in the treated areas. However, when the two procedures are combined, the risk of seromas appears to go down significantly.

The study suggests that by combining these techniques, the amount of ultrasound required is limited with shorter bursts of ultrasound energy during the procedure when compared to patients who undergo liposuction alone. This allows for less reliance on a traditional method of separating the tissues during the tummy tuck portion and leads to greatly reduced trauma to the abdominal muscles and other tissues. The study also suggests that by combining the two procedures, there is far less risk of blood loss during surgery. All of this also means greatly reduced risk of developing blood clots in the legs during or after surgery, and faster recovery immediately following surgery with greatly reduced recovery room times and less post-operative nausea for most patients.

What does this mean for you?

While only one study has been done on the benefits of combining ultrasound assisted liposuction with abdominoplasty, the results are promising. However, more research needs to be done to determine just how far reaching these benefits may be. If you are considering liposuction, a tummy tuck, or a combined procedure, keep in mind that the ideal candidate is at or near their ideal weight, understands the risks and benefits of these procedures, and for a tummy tuck — has no plans for future pregnancies, as pregnancy can undo the benefits of abdominoplasty.

To learn more about how an ultrasound assisted liposuction and tummy tuck might benefit you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Hlavacek at Kansas City Surgical Arts by calling (816) 286-4126. We look forward to meeting you and partnering with you throughout your cosmetic surgery journey.