David B. Reath, MD
Knoxville, TN (865) 450-9253
HKB Knoxville Staff

Why I Started Combining Tummy Tucks And Liposuction Six Years Ago

Body Contouring KnoxvilleIt’s always encouraging to see a scientific article that supports changes that I made in my clinical practice. Specifically, I’m speaking to changes I made about six years ago regarding how I am doing my abdominoplasties (tummy tucks) in most patients.

Here’s How It Happened:
I went to a meeting and heard a talk by a Brazilian plastic surgeon* about how to safely combine a traditional abdominoplasty with liposuction. This requires that the abdominoplasty is done somewhat differently from a technical standpoint because if you do the tummy tuck in a traditional fashion and simply add in liposuction, the incidence of complications goes way up and that’s clearly not good.

But by following my Brazilian colleague’s technique, the two can be done safely. I distinctly remember him telling the plastic surgeons at the meeting that “you are all doing liposuction, and you are all doing abdominoplasties, so you should be able to us this technique right now.” And that is what I did. This combination procedure is called lipoabdominoplasty.

I have found that the lipoabdominoplasty results in most people are superior to what I could achieve with a traditional abdominoplasty. And now it’s official.

The most recent edition of the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal has an important study that compares the results from three separate procedures: liposuction alone, traditional abdominoplasties, and lipoabdominoplaties. There was a much greater satisfaction level with both types of tummy tuck versus liposuction by itself. And this is not surprising. The skin tone was better after the abdominoplasties than liposuction alone, thus the shape of the abdomen had greater degrees of improvement. In other words, more was done so the results are better. Sort of a no brainer.

Lipoabdominoplasty Patients Have the Highest Rate of Patient Satisfaction
The best results in the study, from the patients’ perspective, came from the lipoabdominoplasties. Again, this is what we are seeing with our own patients. The combination of the two modalities is better than either alone and they can be done together safely too. I have always liked my tummy tuck results about as much as the results from any operation that I do, but the results from the lipoabdominoplasties are frequently more impressive and better than the regular abdominoplasty.

So what is the point in all of this? Well, in a broad view, it’s great to be involved in a profession where we are constantly evaluating established procedures to see if there is a better to way to perform them.  Even more, it’s great to be in a collegial profession where the successes and innovations of one person* are freely shared with all. Because when we do this, it is our patients who end up winning.

All the best,

David B.

*Thank you Dr. Osvaldo Saldanha for developing and sharing this technique.

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