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At SBA Dermatology & Plastic Surgery in Houston, TX, we understand you can feel insecure about how you look and offer several procedures and treatments to help you feel more self-confident about your body. Liposuction and tummy tuck surgery both help to improve the appearance of the abdomen. During a tummy tuck, we remove the lower belly fat and loose skin, which will leave both men and women with a smoother, firmer abdominal area. Double Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Ryan Couvillion offers multiple different tummy tuck techniques to reshape and contour a person's midsection effectively. Read on to learn the key differences between liposuction and a tummy tuck to help you determine the best way to achieve your aesthetic goals.


The key difference between liposuction and tummy tuck surgery

When considering which procedure is right for you, it is essential to know how both work. The most important difference between liposuction and a tummy tuck is the results. Liposuction is a fat reduction surgery that utilizes a small tube, called a cannula, to break up and extract unwanted fatty tissue. Tummy tuck surgery, or abdominoplasty, like liposuction, removes lower belly fat from the waistline area but also removes excess, saggy skin, so patients are left with a tighter, flatter, and more contoured abdominal area. Are you curious if you are a good fit for tummy tuck surgery? If so, consider the following questions:


  • Have you recently lost weight but now have loose belly fat and skin in your lower abdomen?
  • Are you done having children and want a flatter, tighter, more fit-looking stomach?
  • Have you managed a healthy body weight but still struggling with your midsection area?
  • Do you "suck in" your stomach all day because your muscles weakened after pregnancy?


Who is a good candidate for tummy tuck surgery?

Both men and women can struggle with an expanding waistline as they age. In addition to lower belly fat, collagen production begins to decrease, leaving behind saggy, deflated skin. Unfortunately, no amount of exercising or sit-ups can tighten loose skin in the abdominal area. Adults in their 40s, 50s and 60s can turn to tummy tuck surgery to help remove excess skin, tighten underlying abdominal muscles, and remove excess fatty tissue to erase the signs of an aging midsection. Houston, TX patients can consider a mini tummy tuck if a small amount of excess skin or unwanted fat needs to be removed in the lower abdomen area.  A mini-tummy tuck often includes tightening of the abdominal muscles as well. A traditional tummy tuck, which is more common, involves toning and reshaping the midsection, tightening underlying abdominal muscles all the way up to the ribs. These options and more can be discussed with Dr. Couvillion during a consultation to determine the proper technique needed to yield the results you desire.


Who is the ideal candidate for liposuction?

Liposuction is a fat reduction surgery with the main goal of improving contour and shape, NOT a weight loss procedure. It is commonly performed in the lower abdomen, thighs, upper arms, chest, and back. A small tube, known as a cannula, is inserted into tiny incisions discreetly placed in the target area during liposuction. Dr. Couvillion will gently move it beneath the skin to loosen excess adipose tissue to then suction or remove the dislodged fat cells. To be a good candidate for liposuction, you should be within 30 pounds or less of your ideal body weight and have excess pockets of stubborn fat that have become resistant to diet and exercise.  Liposuction results also rely on your skin's ability to bounce back and shrink down to your new size.  Skin that has stretch marks or is already loose is not ideal for liposuction - often this skin needs to be removed surgically for the most aesthetic result.


Tummy tuck in Houston, TX, and finding the right plastic surgeon

Isolated pockets of lower belly fat and loose skin can be the result of various life occurrences. Pregnancy, significant weight fluctuations, and the natural aging process are all factors that can change the appearance of your stomach. By combining a tummy tuck surgery with liposuction, patients can maximize their body contouring results in a way that isn't possible with either procedure on its own.  Most of the time, patients request liposuction at the same time as their tummy tuck and it gives an even better result!  If you are struggling with how your midsection looks but unsure what you may need, call SBA Dermatology & Plastic Surgery in Houston, TX. 


If you are interested in any of the body surgeries mentioned above please reach out to  Dr. Ryan Couvillion's Aesthetic Consultant, Rosa Gonzalez at 713.850.0240 x. 1146 or you can email her at 


Ryan Couvillion, MD

Ryan Couvillion, MD

double board certified plastic surgeon

Dr. Ryan Couvillion is an experienced Houston, TX plastic surgeon specializing in cosmetic procedures for the breasts, body, face, and skin. A native Houstonian, Dr. Couvillion has been recognized for his passion and dedication to achieving the best possible results for his patients. His drive to pursue training in the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery began at a young age, and he is honored to have been mentored by some of the nation’s most recognized surgeons.

For every aesthetic need, Dr. Couvillion incorporates a patient-centered approach with everyone he encounters and makes each client a part of the decision-making process. According to Dr. Couvillion, "The most gratifying part of my day is when I get to talk to a happy patient. It is such a privilege to care for my patients and give them the results they want."

Learn more here.