The abdomen is the most common area for liposuction, and it is common to have an overhang of fat on the lower abdomen or fat that bulges out over a c-section scar. A lot of people want to know if removing this fat will leave them with a loose, hanging flap of skin.
The answer is almost always that they will not be left with a loose flap of hanging skin. Skin retracts to some degree after liposuction as a result of the natural elasticity of skin and because the healing process after liposuction induces retraction.
However, some people may be left with a certain degree of crepe-like looseness that doesn’t hang depending on the quality of their skin before liposuction. Sun damage, a history of repeated stretch, or visible stretch marks are signs that your skin has lost some of its elasticity. The less elastic the skin to begin with, the looser it will remain after liposuction.
The question then becomes whether or not a tummy-tuck (abdominoplasty) would be a better option. The main question to answer to determine which treatment is right for you is, “Am I willing to go through the extra cost, risk, and recovery of a tummy-tuck, or would I be happy with a flat stomach that has a certain degree of laxity to the skin?” A tummy-tuck is without-a-doubt more expensive, dangerous, and painful than liposuction alone, especially if the liposuction was done without sedation using only local anesthesia.
Most people who I meet in my Los Angeles liposuction practice who are at risk for developing loose skin after liposuction are looking to get liposuction in the first place primarily to give them a flat stomach so they look good in their clothes and fit into the clothes they want to wear. They are usually not planning on wearing a bikini and are willing to accept a certain degree of loose skin after liposuction versus the increased risk, cost, and large scar from a tummy-tuck.
The amount of skin tightening that occurs after liposuction is difficult to predict. It is easy to assume that people with a lot of stretch marks and very poor skin quality will have the most loose skin after healing, but even they get a surprising and dramatic amount of tightening sometimes. It is best to consult with an experienced liposuction surgeon to discuss your possible outcome.
As a final though, it should also be noted that it is possible to have a tummy-tuck after you have had liposuction. Having liposuction does not prevent you from having a tummy-tuck in the future.