On Tummy Tucks and Liposuction: Does Body Contouring Work?

Despite impressive improvements to nonsurgical technologies for reducing fat and improving skin tone, a tummy tuck remains among our Vancouver patients’ favourite procedures. This is because your abdomen’s skin and muscle layer can experience irreversible stretching as a result of pregnancy or major weight fluctuations. Although most patients would prefer to restore their torso tone without surgery, a tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, remains the best approach for significant skin laxity and weakened abdominal wall tissues.

How can I tighten my stomach without a tummy tuck?

Many patients ask if any body contouring treatments other than a tummy tuck work. The answer is yes, in certain circumstances. For example, excess fat on the lower tummy and hips can be managed with liposuction or improved without surgery by utilizing a breakthrough technology called SculpSure®.


Refined liposuction techniques can help patients achieve lasting body contour improvements with a surprisingly fast recovery. Laser-assisted liposuction reduces bruising and improves skin contraction compared to traditional methods. Since 2009, I have treated more than 400 patients using this technology, also known as SmartLipo™, and you can see some of their before and after pictures in our SmartLipo photo gallery.


Laser energy is an effective way of targeting the fat cells and is also a key component of the non-surgical SculpSure® treatments performed at YES Medspa. A single SculpSure treatment can shrink the treated fat layer by an average of 24%. In just 25 minutes, the abdomen or flanks can be targeted without anesthesia and without taking time away from the things you enjoy. You can see some of our patients’ SculpSure before and after pictures in our photo gallery.

How do you know which body contouring treatment is right for you?

At YES, body contouring is our specialty. We have evaluated the different technologies available and recommend what we feel offers patients the safest and best results available with or without surgery. (Read more about body contouring options in our related blog post.)

I understand it can be overwhelming to know which option is right for you, which is why I work with my patients in a personalized consultation to develop a customized solution based on their body contouring goals.

What does a tummy tuck do for your midsection?

Tummy tuck surgery achieves dramatic improvement to the midsection, removing excess skin and fat, repositioning the bellybutton, and repairing weakened or separated abdominal muscles. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia and monitored by anesthesiologists who are selected for their experience, empathy, and attention to detail.

Our Surgery Centre

Located onsite, YES Surgery Centre is a modern and welcoming outpatient surgery centre designed for the delivery of elective cosmetic surgery procedures. Depending on your body contouring needs, different surgical techniques are considered by our experienced plastic surgeons.

Standard Tummy Tuck

This patient had standard abdominoplasty.

The most common procedure is referred to as a standard abdominoplasty. This procedure improves the appearance of the entire abdomen (upper & lower). The final scar extends from hip to hip but resides below normal undergarment lines. We proactively manage your surgical scar with the latest proven approaches to make the final incision line more discreet.

Mini Tummy Tuck

A mini abdominoplasty is perfect for patients with loose skin primarily affecting the lower abdomen without laxity of the muscle layer. This is also the procedure of choice when an uneven or tethered scar is present across the pubic area, such as what occurs with a C-section or bladder lift procedure.

Extended Tummy Tuck

In an extended abdominoplasty, incision lines are extended along the beltline to address laxity affecting these areas. Occasionally, our experienced plastic surgeons will recommend a customized procedure to address laxity affecting just the upper abdomen or when the excess skin extends all around the torso. At YES, we also see and improve upon the results of past cosmetic surgery of the abdomen performed elsewhere.

Tummy Tuck Recovery

Tummy tucks traditionally are considered a very difficult procedure with regard to recovery. At YES, we have developed and refined techniques to make the recovery easier. We rarely use drainage tubes, which reduces pain and decreases your movement restrictions after surgery. A Comfort Management pump is also used to deliver pain-relieving medication directly to the muscle repair zone for 3 days after surgery. Less pain results in fewer postoperative medications being needed and more independence for our patients while they recover at home. We’ve had substantial success with these techniques over the years, and share our methods with plastic surgery residents at UBC and national conferences in the plastic surgery community.

More tummy tuck before and after pictures are available in our photo gallery.

Can liposuction get rid of belly fat?

Liposuction remains the most effective method of removing unwanted fat from areas that seem “out of proportion” with the rest of your body. Where a tummy tuck removes excess skin and tissue from the abdomen, liposuction allows the plastic surgeon to precisely remove fat to contour many areas of the body.

Liposuction Results

As with most aesthetic surgical and non-surgical treatments, the most important determinant of your results is the judgment and skill of your plastic surgeon. As a plastic surgeon specializing in cosmetic surgery for over 22 years, I have gained extensive knowledge and experience with multiple liposuction techniques, including power-assisted liposuction (PAL, PowerX), ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL, VASER), SAFE™ liposuction and laser-assisted liposuction (Smartlipo). Since there are many liposuction techniques available, choosing the best approach for each patient requires a personalized consultation and discussion about my patient’s goals.

Liposuction Procedure

This patient had liposuction to trim and flatten his abdomen.

Liposuction of small areas can be done under local anesthesia with IV sedation. Larger areas are performed under general anesthesia at YES Surgery Centre. With liposuction, the fat is removed, or in some cases redistributed, to achieve the best shape of each area.

Common areas for liposuction include the:

  • Neck
  • Bra area
  • Abdomen
  • Hips
  • Thighs

You can see some of our patients’ liposuction results in our photo gallery.

Fat Grafting

Fat removed during liposuction can also be transferred and grafted to other areas of the body that patients want to augment and enhance. The most common destinations for removed fat to be grafted is the buttocks and the breasts. Liposuction of the hips, flanks and lower back combined with fat grafting of the buttocks is known as a “Brazilian butt lift.” When it is considered safe, liposuction can also be combined with other body contouring procedures, such as a tummy tuck.

Body contouring surgery and treatments can change your shape, but they do not change your physiology. If you want lasting results, you will need to maintain a healthy lifestyle after your procedure and limit the accumulation of fat mass.

To determine which popular body contouring procedures is right for you, call YES at (604) 888-9378 or use our online form to request a consultation.

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