LipoTuck™ also known as Lipo-Abdominoplasty

LipoTuck™ 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 combines two procedures: drainless abdominoplasty and liposuction. Briefly, abdominoplasty removes 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 have been well established. Today, abdominoplasty and liposuction are the most common procedures 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 different and distinct indications, and one procedure cannot replace the other. Liposuction can effectively debulk and contour fatty deposits if and only if the overlying skin has the elasticity to tighten afterward. While there are certain skin conditions that prevent the tightening of skin after liposuction, such pathologies are rare. Most commonly, the presence and density of stretch marks are 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 insist on having less invasive procedures undergo liposuction, whereas abdominoplasty should have been performed, resulting in uneven skin contour. 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 that reports began emerging showing the 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 were 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™ or lipo-abdominoplasty produces a 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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