CoolSculpting vs. Tummy Tuck: Which Is Your Best Bet

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), well over 300,000 people in the USA elected to undergo body contouring surgery in 2017. In fact, liposuction and tummy tuck are two of the five most common cosmetic plastic surgical procedures performed year after year by board certified plastic surgeons. As you can see, if the appearance of your abdomen bothers you then consider yourself amongst good company! This is one of the most common problem areas which my patients mention during their consultation with me. While the options are numerous to address rejuvenating the abdomen, the options available can be hard to navigate. Specifically, patients often ask me whether a tummy tuck, liposuction, or Coolsculpting in my San Diego office is right for them. Let’s look into this in more detail below.

Simply put, the two main issues we address in any body contouring procedure are the treatment of excess fat and excess skin. The variety of treatment options for these issues include Coolsclupting, liposuction, and abdominoplasty or tummy tuck. If the issue is primarily excess fat then the two options include Coolsculpting and liposuction. Coolsculpting is an FDA method to permanently remove fat by applying cold applicators to selected areas. The fat which has been frozen is destroyed and gradually removed naturally by the body over 2-3 months. Approximately 20-25% of the fat is removed with each treatment session. There are no needles, injections, anesthesia, nor limitation to activities. Treatments can be repeated to the same area in 2-3 months. On occasion, minimal skin retraction has been seen overlying areas where excess fat has been frozen and eliminated.

Liposuction is a surgical procedure which involves applying anesthesia to the selected area(s) and removing the excess fat with a small suction cannula inserted through small stab incisions in remote locations near the site of fat extraction. A pressure garment is applied to the area of liposuction for about 6 weeks after the procedure. Most people restrict their activities for about one week after liposuction and limit exercise for the first month to six weeks after surgery. While some skin shrinkage may occur in certain patients, this is primarily a procedure which reduces excess fat accumulations up to 80% in one treatment.

Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is a more invasive procedure which involves the excision of excess skin and fat of the lower abdomen along with tightening of the underlying muscles of the anterior abdominal wall and creation of a new and more youthful belly button or umbilicus. It is often combined with liposuction of the flanks and lateral abdomen to create a more contoured and narrowed waistline and hips. Recovery from this procedure is more prolonged than liposuction and results in a long low surgical scar which typically heals as a fine scar with time. Most of my patients take off about two weeks following tummy tuck before returning to work. Exercise routines can usually be resumed within one month after surgery.

If you are considering any body contouring procedure, then feel free to browse our extensive before and after gallery where hundreds of cases are illustrated. Here is the link We would be pleased to evaluate you for a consultation at 858-304-7130.

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