Newport Beach

Vincent C. Hung, MD, MOHS Surgery, Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, Cosmetic Surgery

Category: Tummy Tuck

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When to Choose Liposuction, Tummy Tuck, or Both

, | The Office of Dr. Vincent Hung

Beautiful women posing with both hands raised up in light brown background

Do you struggle with stubborn, diet-resistant pockets of fat? Maybe you have excess loose skin on your belly and waist due to weight loss, pregnancy, or aging. There is a solution, whether you’re experiencing one of these issues or both. A tummy tuck is typically the best option to smooth and tighten abdominal skin while slimming the midsection. However, liposuction is a less invasive option if your skin is in relatively good shape and your primary concern is stubborn, localized fat. This comprehensive guide will explore how these procedures work and when to combine them for the best results.

4 Min Read:

Your Options for a More Toned and Fit-Looking Body

We’re all trying to look our best and exploring different ways to reach that elusive objective. Liposuction and tummy tuck surgery can enhance the appearance of the abdomen and waist. However, the goals are achieved through different methods. Understanding the differences between these procedures is crucial for anyone considering either to achieve their desired body goals.

Liposuction: Sculpting Your Figure or Physique

Liposuction is a surgical procedure designed to remove stubborn pockets of fat from specific areas of the body, including the abdomen. This popular procedure is ideal for individuals close to their ideal body weight who struggle with fat deposits that are resistant to diet and exercise.

The process involves making small incisions in the target area through which a thin, hollow tube called a cannula is inserted. The plastic surgeon will use the cannula to break up the fat and then suction out excess fat cells to sculpt the body and achieve more desirable contours. Liposuction can be performed on various areas of the body, including the chin, abdomen, thighs, hips, buttocks, arms, and neck.

When to Choose Liposuction

Liposuction is the better option if you meet the following criteria:

  • You have localized fat deposits: Liposuction is most effective for addressing specific areas of stubborn fat, such as love handles, saddlebags, or a double chin.
  • You have good skin elasticity: Ideal candidates for liposuction have good skin elasticity, as the procedure does not address loose or sagging skin.
  • You are near your ideal weight: Liposuction is not a weight-loss procedure but rather a body contouring technique. Candidates should be close to their ideal weight and have realistic expectations about the results.

Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty): Tightening Loose Skin and Muscles

A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that tightens loose abdominal skin and muscles while removing excess fat in the tummy and waist to create a smoother, firmer abdominal appearance.

During a tummy tuck, an incision is made along the lower abdomen or bikini line, allowing the surgeon to remove the excess fat while tightening skin and underlying muscles. Depending on the extent of the procedure, the belly button may also be repositioned to achieve a more natural-looking result.

When to Choose a Tummy Tuck

After significant weight loss, pregnancy, and sometimes natural aging, this option can correct:

  • Muscle weakness: Pregnancy or significant weight fluctuations can lead to the separation of the abdominal muscles, resulting in a protruding belly that is difficult to address with exercise. A tummy tuck can tighten these muscles, restoring a firmer abdominal contour.
  • Excess skin and fat: Individuals with significant amounts of loose, hanging skin and residual fat, especially in the lower abdomen, may benefit from a tummy tuck. Excess skin also presents a problem after pregnancy and major weight loss, whether through diet and exercise or bariatric surgery. A tummy tuck can remove excess skin and stretch marks, allowing patients to fully enjoy the results of their weight loss efforts.

Liposuction, Tummy Tuck, or Both: Making the Right Choice

Choosing between liposuction and a tummy tuck depends on your specific body concerns and aesthetic goals. In some cases, individuals may benefit from both procedures to fully achieve their desired results.

Liposuction Alone

If your primary concern is localized fat deposits and you have good skin elasticity, liposuction alone may be sufficient to achieve the desired improvement in body contour. This is often the case for individuals who are relatively close to their ideal weight but struggle with stubborn areas of fat that do not respond to diet and exercise.

Tummy Tuck Alone

A tummy tuck is the most effective option for individuals with significant amounts of loose, hanging skin or weakened abdominal muscles. This procedure can dramatically improve abdominal contour and is particularly beneficial for those who have experienced significant weight loss or pregnancy.

Combination of Liposuction and Tummy Tuck

In some cases, individuals may benefit from a combination of liposuction and a tummy tuck to address both excess fat and loose skin. This approach allows for comprehensive body contouring and sculpting of the abdomen to achieve a firmer, more toned appearance. Fortunately, most plastic surgeons automatically use liposuction with abdominoplasty when needed.

Body Contouring With Liposuction and Abdominoplasty in Pasadena, CA

You want to look your best and be smart about achieving that. Deciding between liposuction and a tummy tuck requires careful consideration of your cosmetic body concerns and aesthetic goals. While liposuction is ideal for targeting localized fat deposits, a tummy tuck is better suited for addressing excess skin and muscle laxity in the abdominal area.

Our reputable and compassionate board-certified plastic surgeon provides tummy tucks and liposuction in Pasadena, California. Call our office today at (626) 623-7135 to schedule a thorough consultation. Our knowledgeable and friendly staff is eager to help you!

Am I a Good Tummy Tuck Candidate?

| The Office of Dr. Vincent Hung

Abdominoplasty, commonly known as a tummy tuck, is a popular surgical procedure that can help individuals achieve a firmer, more toned abdomen.

A woman dressed in a white bra and underwear twists her loose and flabby abdominal skin.

However, this surgery is not for everyone. Ask yourself the following questions to determine if you’re a suitable candidate for abdominoplasty:

What Are Your Desired Body Contouring Goals?

Having clear aesthetic goals is critical in deciding if abdominoplasty is suitable for you. If you’ve tried diet and exercise with limited success, a tummy tuck might be a good solution. This procedure can improve your midsection in the following ways:

  • Eliminate loose skin and stretch marks
  • Remove stubborn fat
  • Repair separated abdominal muscles
  • Recontour the abdominal area for a flatter tummy and waist

Do You Have the Time and Support Needed for a Positive Tummy Tuck Recovery?

Before undergoing a tummy tuck, you’ll need to make the following arrangements:

  • Time off work- Two weeks is typical.
  • Help around the house- You will need assistance with daily chores and childcare for the first two to three days.
  • Ability to comply with your post-surgical instructions- Getting plenty of rest and avoiding strenuous activities as directed by your surgeon is essential for the best results and to lower your risk of complications.

Are You in Good Overall Health?

Candidates for abdominoplasty should be in good general health. Chronic medical conditions should be well-managed, and your surgeon will likely require a medical evaluation to ensure no significant risks to your well-being.

Are You a Non-Smoker or Willing to Quit?

Smoking can impair the healing process and increase the risk of complications. Most surgeons will require candidates to quit smoking several weeks before and after the procedure. Alcohol consumption should also be limited.

Are You at or Close to Your Ideal Weight?

Being at a stable weight is essential to be a good candidate for a tummy tuck. Significant fluctuations in weight can negatively impact the results of the procedure, so it’s best to be at or near your target weight before considering surgery.

Do You Expect To Experience a Future Pregnancy?

Abdominoplasty is often sought by individuals who have undergone pregnancy or substantial weight loss, as it can address loose skin and muscle separation caused by these changes.

However, if you plan to become pregnant in the next few years, you’ll want to consider postponing this procedure. Tummy tuck surgery is typically recommended for women who have completed their families or don’t plan to have biological children in the future.

Do You Have Realistic Expectations for Your Tummy Tuck Results?

It’s essential to have realistic expectations about what abdominoplasty can achieve. While it can provide a flatter and more toned abdomen, it’s not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle or extreme weight loss.

Are You Emotionally Stable?

It’s essential to have a positive self-image and emotional support system. Cosmetic surgery can enhance your confidence but is not a good option when deep emotional or psychological issues exist.

Do You Have the Motivation Needed to Maintain Results?

A healthy lifestyle will contribute immensely to the success of this procedure. Candidates should be committed to maintaining their results through a balanced diet and regular exercise, as these factors play a crucial role in the longevity of tummy tuck outcomes.

Can Liposuction Provide the Contouring Results You Desire?

If your abdominal skin is not loose, and you are primarily concerned with diet and exercise-resistant pockets of fat on your belly or elsewhere, liposuction may be a better choice.

This less-invasive procedure can recontour almost any area of your body and involves a much shorter recovery period.

Schedule Your Pasadena Tummy Tuck Consultation

Abdominoplasty can be a life-changing procedure for those who meet the qualifications. To determine if you’re a suitable candidate, consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Vincent Hung to evaluate your eligibility.

He will listen carefully to your concerns and goals to provide the guidance you need to determine if a tummy tuck is right for you.

If you are interested in combining your tummy tuck with other procedures for comprehensive body rejuvenation or Mommy Makeover, Dr. Hung offers several options:

Call our Pasadena, California, plastic surgery office at 626-432-5032 to schedule your consultation. We also have a Newport Beach location if this is more convenient for you.

Want Plastic Surgery? You May Want to Rethink Your Smoking Habit!

, , | The Office of Dr. Vincent Hung

3 Minute Read: 

When planning for plastic surgery, one of the requirements almost every board-certified plastic surgeon will mandate is that patients refrain from using all nicotine products for three to six weeks before and after surgery. 

woman breaking a cigarette rather than smoking it.

There are very good reasons for this near-universal stricture. Nicotine and other chemicals found within cigarettes damage the lungs, yellow the teeth, and age skin, but these factors are unlikely to directly impact plastic surgery operations. What will affect these procedures is nicotine’s vasoconstriction effects. 

What Are the Effects of Nicotine on Your Body?

Nicotine causes veins and arteries to contract, restricting the amount of blood that can pass through them. This dramatically increases the risk of complications during surgeries, especially plastic surgeries that affect a broad area of surface tissue like facelift surgery (rhytidectomy) or tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty). When a plastic surgeon removes a section of tissue on the surface, it is kept alive through blood vessels in nearby tissue. If a patient has nicotine in their system, these blood vessels are too constricted to provide adequate blood flow. 

This means that patients who do not stop smoking are at a much higher risk of tissue necrosis during plastic surgery.  

What Is Tissue Necrosis?

Tissue necrosis is when tissues die while still attached to the body. This condition can be dangerous and, in some cases, lead to gangrene—a potentially lethal condition. The effects of nicotine and the risks of tissue necrosis do not go away during the recovery period. Even if patients who smoke make it through the surgery without complications, there is still a higher risk of tissue necrosis and excessive scarring during recovery. 

What Are Other Smoking Risks?

  • In addition to the vasoconstriction effects, smoking also decreases blood’s ability to carry oxygen by adding carbon monoxide to the bloodstream. This increases the risks mentioned above. 
  • Nicotine inhibits collagen production, causing the skin to age faster and heal slower. This can make recovery times longer and increase the risk of complications.
  • Smoking can increase the risk of certain skin cancers, such as basal cell carcinoma and melanoma. 
  • Smoking also causes wrinkles and other skin concerns that are difficult to reverse while toxic chemicals continue to do more damage. 

How Should I Prepare for Surgery?

If you plan to undergo a plastic surgery procedure, it is vital that you honestly discuss your smoking habits with your surgeon. You should have a frank discussion about your ability to refrain from smoking before and after your operation. 

It is critical that you do not lie to your surgeon about your nicotine consumption, as this may endanger you.

If you truly feel unable to quit smoking for at least 12 weeks, you should not undergo surgery. If, for any reason, you consume nicotine during that window (before or after your surgery), you should contact your surgeon right away. 

Want to Learn More? 

If you are interested in more information on the risks of smoking regarding your plastic surgery procedure, please contact Dr. Hung at his Pasadena office at 626-432-5032 or his Newport Beach office at 949-574-8292.

Is Body Contouring Right for Me?

, , | The Office of Dr. Vincent Hung

4 Minute Read: 

Liposuction and tummy tuck surgery provides envy-worthy contours.With the new decade beginning, more than one of you is likely thinking about improving your physique. Looking fit and sculpting your body always tops the list of New Year’s resolutions. For some, this means plastic surgery.

Body contouring allows men and women who are close to their ideal weight trim, sculpt, and enhance their physical contours. 

Liposuction and tummy tuck surgery are popular body enhancement surgeries. And while many people know the names of these procedures—through media or word of mouth, they do not always know what they can actually accomplish. 

While there is so much that these procedures can do, there are also certain things that they cannot. It is beneficial to understand what these treatments are and how they work so that you have realistic expectations.

What Is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a surgical procedure that removes a targeted amount of excess fat from various regions of the body. 

Some of these regions include the:

  • Abdomen
  • Hips
  • Thighs
  • Back
  • Buttocks
  • Arms
  • Chest
  • Under the Neck

Body contouring like liposuction can smooth your physique after weight loss or pregnancy.

Various techniques can be implemented during a liposuction procedure. Two of the most common methods are the tumescent technique and the ultrasound-assisted technique (UAL).

Tumescent Liposuction

  1. Small incisions are made in the area of desired fat reduction.
  2. Sterile fluid is injected through those incisions that cause the fat cells to swell
  3. A hollow tube is inserted into the incisions, and a rapid back-and-forth-motion breaks up the fat.
  4. This tube is attached to a vacuuming device that permanently suctions out the fat

Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction

  1. Small incisions are made in the area of desired fat reduction.
  2. Ultrasound energy is applied to the treatment area to liquefy the fat cells.
  3. The liquified fat is suctioned out through a hollow tube.

What Is Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Tummy tuck surgery, also known as abdominoplasty, sculpts the midsection by removing excess fat and skin and tightening loose or separated abdominal muscles.

An incision is made across the lower abdomen from hip to hip. This incision is placed low enough that it can easily be covered by underwear or bathing suits. 

What Can Liposuction and Tummy Tuck Not Do?

Liposuction and tummy tuck surgery are incredibly beneficial when they are chosen for the right reasons. These procedures are designed to be about body sculpting, not weight loss, and the combination of these procedures can provide optimal results for patients who have excess pockets of fat and loose abdominal skin.

Neither of these procedures is an alternative to weight loss or a healthy lifestyle. Instead, they should only be performed on those who already work out and are close to their ideal weight.

Liposuction cannot address skin laxity, and tummy tuck surgery does not remove fat in the regions surrounding the lower abdomen.

When Are Body Contouring Procedures Appropriate?

Did You Lose Weight?

When you gain weight, your skin thins as it stretches over your expanding contours.

Unfortunately, even though it can expand, it cannot always contract after the weight is lost. Its inability to do so often results in loose, hanging skin that is only eliminated through a surgical procedure like abdominoplasty. 

Tummy tuck surgery eliminates the abdominal skin laxity that resulted from significant weight loss while liposuction removes the localized fat deposits that remain. These procedures are often the final step in a substantial weight loss transformation.

Did You Have a Baby?

Pregnancy and childbirth create lasting abdominal damage and the development of fat pockets across the body. This is due to the rapid fluctuations in weight and hormone levels. 

Body contouring like liposuction and tummy tuck surgery can help restore your body after pregnancy.

Do You Have Age-Related Laxity?

Some people who develop loose skin on their abdomen or excess pockets of fat on their abdomen do not fall into either of the above categories. This is because skin laxity and excess fat is another side effect of aging. 

Body contouring counteracts the physical changes that occurred due to the aging process.

How About More Information?

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of body contouring or if you would like to set up a consultation with Dr. Hung, contact his office by calling his Pasadena office at (626) 432-5032 or his Newport Beach office at (949) 574-8292. You can also fill out his online contact form

Dr. Hung offers plastic and reconstructive procedures for men and women in Pasadena and Newport Beach.