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Published on Thursday, August 2, 2018

LipoTuck also known as Lipo-Abdominoplasty

Lipotuck TM is a trademark introduced by A.Ahmadi MD to describe the procedure commonly referred to as lipo-abdominoplasty (LA) in the plastic surgery community.  As the name implies, LA is a combination of the two procedures abdominoplasty and liposuction.  Briefly, abdominoplasty is performed to remove excess ptotic skin and fatty tissue of the mid and lower abdomen while liposuction removes only the subcutaneous fatty tissue.  The safety and efficacy of abdominoplasty and liposuction has been well established.  Today, abdominoplasty and liposuction are the most commonly procedures performed for body contouring.

Due to the less invasive nature and quicker recovery from liposuction, this procedure has often been used in lieu of abdominoplasty resulting in unfavorable outcomes. It is now well understood that abdominoplasty and liposuction have quite different and distinct indications and one procedure cannot replace the other.  Liposuction can effectively be used to debulk and contour fatty deposits if and only if the overlying skin has the elasticity to tighten afterwards.  While there are certain skin conditions that prevent tightening of skin after liposuction, such pathologies are rare.  Most commonly, the presence and density of stretch marks is a reliable indication that liposuction should not be performed. 

In contrast to liposuction, abdominoplasty should be performed to remove ptotic (sagging) skin commonly found in the anterior (front) lower abdomen.   The most common causes of such findings are weight gain followed by weight loss and pregnancy.  Too often, less experienced surgeons or patients insisting on having less invasive procedures undergo liposuction whereas abdominoplasty should have been performed resulting in uneven contour of the skin.  For a long time, it was considered taboo and unsafe to perform these two procedures together.  The plastic surgery community reported high incidence of skin necrosis and infection when the procedures were combined.  It was not until recently when reports began emerging showing effectiveness and safety of liposuction and abdominoplasty combined.  Plastic surgeons devised various techniques to reduce the incidence of flap necrosis including minimizing flap undermining and limiting the amount of liposuction done on the distal aspect of the flap.   Regardless of the technique there still existed some risk for skin necrosis and it was not until studies done to determine the blood supply of the abdominoplasty flap that plastic surgeons were able to modify the techniques to significantly reduce the risk of skin necrosis and thus establish safety the of combining abdominoplasty and liposuction.

Lipotuck TM or lipo-abdominoplasty produces far more aesthetic look in patients who require tummy tuck and liposuction.  While there are those who require abdominoplasty or liposuction alone, the overwhelming majority of patients who seek body contouring benefit from the combination procedure to restore aesthetic contour.

 

A.Ahmadi M.D.

Diplomat, American Board of Plastic Surgery

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Dr Ahmadi is member of American Board of Plastic Surgery

Houston Board Certified Plastic Surgeon