Get your body procedures straight

October 20, 2012

Tummy tuck, liposuction, body contouring – there are so many plastic surgery terms involving the shape of the upper body, it can be confusing. Often, you’ll hear all these terms lumped together, in part because they are sometimes performed in conjunction with one another. But each of these phrases means something different and knowing what makes them unique can save you time during your research into cosmetic surgery.

Body contouring

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), body contouring is not a specific treatment, but rather an umbrella term that can refer to a number of different cosmetic surgeries.

The goal of body contouring procedures is to enhance the shape of the body by eliminating fat or reducing sagging skin. Candidates for body contouring procedures typically are in good health, but unsatisfied with their body’s appearance, either due to stubborn fat deposits, recent weight loss or simply the aging process.

Women who have recently given birth are also often candidates, as pregnancy and delivery can alter the body’s appearance. ASAPS reports that body contouring procedures can help boost a patient’s self-confidence and appearance.


Liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries, and is designed to help people who have trouble losing weight through diet or exercise. This procedure often targets a specific part of the body that stubbornly holds onto fat – usually the thighs, buttocks or stomach.

Many people may think that liposuction removes skin, but this is not the case – the procedure only targets fat under the skin using a metal, hollow tube known as a cannula.

Recovery from liposuction can take some time, and varies greatly depending on the patient. However, those who undergo the procedure should be prepared to rest and refrain from physical activity for some time following the surgery.

Tummy tuck

A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, often goes along with liposuction, but it is not a procedure to remove fat. Instead, tummy tucks target loose and sagging skin. Often, this excess skin is a result of recent weight loss, which is why it often goes hand in hand with liposuction.

Abdominoplasty can also help improve the appearance of a protruding stomach that is out of proportion with the rest of the body, or abdominal muscles that have separated and weakened. Patients considering this procedure may want to ask for before and after pictures to get a better idea of what their results may look like.

Belt Lipectomy 

This is a very effective surgery to treat loose, hanging abdominal tissue in patients whose fat excess is mostly in the front and a little to the sides of their abdomen. However, many patients have significant amounts of loose tissue that extends completely around their waist and lower body. This excess tissue cannot be corrected by a having a tummy tuck even with liposuction of the hips and waist. In fact a traditional abdominoplasty may actually make the excess tissue left even more obvious. This is where having belt lipectomy becomes is a more appropriate choice.

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