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What’s the Difference Between Liposuction and a Tummy Tuck?

Diet and exercise are essential to restoring and maintaining a healthy figure; however, many people struggle to remove pockets of stubborn fat or excess skin after losing weight. At West Michigan Plastic Surgery, Dr. Holley provides liposuction and tummy tuck procedures to help patients restore their figures. 

Real Results

*Individual Results May Vary

What is a Liposuction?

Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure to remove pockets of fat in various body areas. Common treatment areas include the abdomen, flanks, inner and outer thighs, upper arms, and knees. 

Dr. Holley injects a local anesthetic during your procedure to constrict the blood vessels and prevent discomfort during surgery. He creates a small incision in the target area and inserts a cannula to loosen and remove the fat. After the fat is removed, Dr. Holley removes the cannula and closes the incisions. Some patients require multiple sessions for desired results.

What is a Tummy Tuck?

Tummy tucks contour the abdomen by removing excess skin and repairing underlying muscles. The tummy tuck is commonly part of a mommy makeover to restore the body after pregnancy. 

Tummy tucks are an outpatient procedure lasting 2-3 hours. During your consultation, Dr. Holley discusses your tummy tuck options, tailoring your plan to your body type and goals. Liposuction is commonly performed with the tummy tuck further to sculpt the hip, waist, and bra line.

Consultations Available Now

Take the first step. Get your questions answered by meeting with one of our knowledgeable medical staff for an in-person consultation. Simply fill out the form on this page, and one of our experienced team members will reach out to you promptly to schedule your consultation.

Should I Get a Liposuction or a Tummy Tuck?

While both procedures improve the overall silhouette, liposuction and tummy tucks address different concerns, have different recovery timelines, and have different results.  


Candidates for either liposuction or tummy tucks must be healthy, at or near a healthy weight, and not smoke. Ideal candidates for liposuction want to remove small fat deposits that cause bulging in nearly any area of the body. The best candidates for a tummy tuck want to remove excess skin, fat, and tissue from the abdominal region. 


We recommend avoiding extensive exercise for both procedures to prevent any complications during recovery. We may recommend compression garments to reduce swelling and aid healing.

For liposuction, the recovery typically takes a week for light activities and 2-3 weeks for strenuous exercise. For a tummy tuck, full recovery may take up to eight weeks, but most return to light work after two weeks. We recommend light exercise after ten days to aid in healing from a tummy tuck. 


Both liposuction and tummy tuck contour the body for a more desired figure. The scars are inconspicuous and allow patients at West Michigan Plastic Surgery to be confident in their results. 

For only liposuction, the final results may take a few months as the swelling subsides. Liposuction is not a weight loss solution but does lead to significant visual improvement in body contour and silhouette. Most patients enjoy permanent results, but weight fluctuations could increase fat pockets in other areas of the body. Some patients may require multiple appointments for desired results. 

For tummy tucks, final results may take up to 3-6 months. The scars are hidden beneath the bikini line and fade over time. Patients may enjoy permanent results of a flatter, smoother abdomen. Tummy tucks do not remove substantial amounts of fat, focusing more on the excess skin and muscles. 

Patients may receive liposuction and a tummy tuck for more extensive restoration in one appointment. 


*Individual Results May Vary

Take the Next Step

Would you like to learn more about liposuction and tummy tucks? Simply fill out the form on this page or call West Michigan Plastic Surgery at (269) 222-1611 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Scott Holley, a Board-Certified plastic surgeon.  Proudly serving Kalamazoo and the greater Southwest Michigan area.

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