Many patients seeking information about abdominal surgery would like to understand – what is right for them – abdominoplasty or liposuction ?

These two procedures are very different and the best option will depend on their specific circumstances and what they are trying to achieve. Skin and muscle laxity play an important role in determining the best approach, as do individual goals, what are they trying to achieve with their abdomen.

We asked A/Prof Shayan, a Melbourne Plastic Surgeon to explain some of the key differences and considerations:


Liposuction is often recommended for people who generally have good skin and muscle tone, and who want to remove localised fatty tissue and stubborn excess fat (there are a number of medical conditions that can be responsible for this).

Localised fat deposits may sometimes be an inherited trait and typically do not respond to dieting or exercise. Liposuction will not eliminate extra skin, stretch marks or issues stemming from loose abdominal muscles.

Liposuction can be used on other areas of the body such as the arms, legs or bottom. Whilst both procedures require a general anaesthetic, liposuction is less invasive than abdominoplasty which involves a surgical incision and a longer recovery time.

Liposuction has a series of much smaller incisions. However you will still require to rest and recover and have time off work and normal daily responsibilities.


Abdominoplasty has a longer recovery time due to operating on the abdominal muscle wall. It is generally recommended for patients who have stretched skin and/or loose stomach muscles.

This procedure uses an incision within the lower abdomen to remove the excess tissue and tighten associated muscles. It is because of the abdominal wall muscle reconstruction that a longer recovery time is required. Abdominoplasty is often considered by people who have had significant weight loss or have abdominal issues following pregnancy.

It’s also important to know that some patients have a combination of excess fat, stretched skin and/or muscle laxity. In these situations people often opt for a combination procedure, having an abdominoplasty with liposuction at the same time.


It is important to determine what specific issues you are faced with in order to then recommend which procedure is right for you. We recommend a consultation with a Specialist Plastic Surgeon who will be able to assess your issues and advise the best options and answer your questions.

Your surgeon will also discuss any risks, what the realistic outcome is likely to be for you and how long you need to rest and recover after the operation.

Generally, if you only have localised areas of fat, liposuction is often recommended. For loose stomach muscles and/or loose skin – abdominoplasty would likely be recommended.

For more information or to book an abdominal surgery consultation feel free to call us on (03) 9592 0522 or submit an enquiry via our website.