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Liposuction with a Tummy Tuck. A good mix?

In plastic surgery there is a little controversy about combining liposuction of the abdominal wall at the time of a tummy tuck.

Some plastic surgeons will not do any liposuction, some will do as much as they want, while others will do some. Why the differences. It all revolves around blood supply.

There are 3 sources of blood supply to the abdominal wall. There are vessels that loop back onto your tummy from below. We cut these when we make the incision. There are vessels that come straight up out of the muscles on the front of your abdomen. We cut these when we elevate the skin/fat layer to tighten your muscles. So what we are left with is a whole series of vessels that come off your flanks and course through the upper layer of fat, just below your skin, in the upper abdomen. Well, the upper abdomen is usually full and could use a little liposuction.

This gives us the potential for a problem. If we aggressively suction your upper abdomen we can injure these vessels and end up with a wound healing mess. If  we do no suctioning, most patients will feel like the improvments on their lower tummy just make the upper part look even worse. Some suctioning will give an improvement, but will it be enough for you to be happy?

Most plastic surgeons have developed a policy on this based on his or her experience. So, if you are considering having your tummy done, just ask. With the information above you should have a better understanding of your surgeon’s bias.

Lee Corbett, MD


All posts on this blog are authored by Dr. Lee Corbett, a board certified cosmetic plastic surgeon in Louisville, Kentucky.

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