When the profile of your stomach isn’t what you want it to be, you have more options than ever to restore the contour you’re after. In most cases, body contouring happens after weight loss or pregnancy, when you’re at or near a healthy body weight, but despite your efforts to slim and tone, some bulges, rolls, and hanging skin remain.
If you’re confused about your options, you’re not alone. Not only are there new techniques as well as traditional treatments, the results of certain procedures overlap, and sometimes procedures can be performed at the same time.
When it comes to the belly and flanks, liposuction, tummy tuck, and the laser-based SculpSure® are three procedures you may consider for reshaping your body. Let’s look at each to learn more.
The advantages of laser liposuction
The type of laser-assisted liposuction Dr. Baraki performs is minimally invasive and doesn’t require general anesthesia. The cannula is inserted through a tiny incision in a target area and the laser liquifies the fat tissue, and then it’s gently vacuumed from the body.
Results from laser liposuction can be dramatic, and since the target areas can be selected with precision, liposuction adapts closely to the needs of each patient. Full results take about a year to develop, but substantial improvement is usually apparent in six to eight weeks.
Recovery from laser-assisted liposuction is shorter than with traditional liposuction, and there’s also less bruising and swelling after the procedure than there is with traditional lipo. Liposuction can be done before or after pregnancies.
Unless you undergo sudden weight gain at some point in the future, fat cells removed through the liposuction process are typically gone for good. An added benefit of the laser-assisted lipo is that heat from the laser causes skin tightening for a more toned look.
SculpSure as an alternative to liposuction
SculpSure uses the unique properties of laser light to deliver warming energy through the skin into the adipose (fat) tissue. It heats fat cells to the coagulation point, a temperature slightly warmer than your normal body temperature. Then your lymphatic system removes the damaged fat tissue over time.
As with liposuction, the fat cells removed with SculpSure are gone for good, although you can still gain weight after the procedure. The results from SculpSure treatments aren’t as drastic as with liposuction, and you may need several SculpSure treatments to gain your desired results.
You can, however, return to your normal activities immediately after a SculpSure treatment. It’s completely noninvasive, and there’s no recovery time after a session. You’ll see maximum results about three months after your last treatment. Depending on the number of treatments you need, SculpSure may also be a more affordable alternative, though it won’t deliver the “wow” factor that liposuction can achieve.
The tummy tuck
Neither liposuction nor SculpSure can address loose or excess skin. If you need to tighten up skin after weight loss or pregnancies, or if your rectus muscles have separated -- a common result of childbirth -- a tummy tuck is the only way to recover more youthful abdominal contours.
You’ll need to finish having children before having a tummy tuck. While the procedure itself doesn’t interfere with carrying a child, a pregnancy could ruin the effects of the procedure.
Recovery from the procedure takes about two weeks before you can return to a gentle job, such as office work, but it will be six weeks before you can lift moderate weights or do strenuous work. If you want liposuction done as well, this can often be combined with a tummy tuck.