Why Can’t Liposuction be Done In The Upper Stomach Area At The Same Time As A Tummy Tuck?

Q: Dr. Eppley,  I had a tummy tuck six months. Although there is much improvement in the lower half of my stomach, the area above my belly button up to my ribs still seems too thick. I was wondering why liposuction wasn’t done to thin that area out at the same time as my tummy tuck. It was the perfect time to do it. Did my doctor overlook it or just forget to do it?

A: Liposuction is not done in the central upper abdomen at the time of a tummy tuck by many plastic surgeons in an effort to a avoid wound healing complications. While it may be viewed as an ideal treatment approach that offers more complete abdominal contouring, it does introduce risk of wound healing problems. By traumatizing the blood flow to the upper abdominal skin flap which may be also partially undermined, a partial necrotic skin flap can potentially develop below the belly button. Even it that develops and is small, you will then wish that liposuction component had been omitted from the procedure. It is much better to have a tummy tuck that heals well even if there is some residual fullness in the upper abdominal area. You can always undergo a secondary upper abdominal liposuction procedure later which is a much more tolerable ‘problem’ than to go through the time and tremendous inconvenience of a long healing process of an open wound…not to mention the ugly scar which will result. It was not an overlooked or forgotten procedure but one omitted for your safety.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana