If you’re trying to lose a “spare tire” for good, some of the most common methods you may have heard about for treating this pesky belly fat are likely CoolSculpting® and tummy tuck surgery—also known as abdominoplasty. Our Milwaukee-area team at Parkins Plastic Surgery sees many patients who have had difficulty reducing inches from their waistline and who want to know which method they should try.
There are many possible reasons why patients may consider their belly to be a “problem area” on their body. It goes without saying that eating excessively and not getting enough exercise are common factors that cause people to store more fat on the body, including the stomach area. However, excess belly fat can also be a result of chronic stress, hormonal fluctuations that change the distribution of fat on the body as you get older, genetic factors, or a combination of all of the above.
Tummy tucks and CoolSculpting® both make the stomach area slimmer, but they take different approaches and target different problems. The best option depends on an individual patient’s needs.
CoolSculpting® is a completely non-surgical, non-invasive treatment that is low risk, has few side effects, and has no recovery time. This procedure is meant for a patient who is healthy and in good shape but has some extra fat that won’t “go away,” even after consistent exercise and dieting.
Pockets of pinchable, wobbly fat directly below the skin fit between applicator panels and are cooled, causing the fat to freeze and then be broken down by natural processes. The body gradually metabolizes the crystallized fat cells, resulting in the stomach area gradually becoming flatter. This treatment is ideal for someone who is searching for a non-invasive way to remove unwanted fat and who is fine with results that take months to develop. Multiple sessions may be needed to maximize the reduction.
A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of excess fat and loose skin. It also includes repair of separated stomach muscles (unless that step is not indicated, which is about 2 percent of patients). This surgery will be better for a patient who wants to address loose skin and/or weakened stomach muscles in addition to reducing fat. A larger amount of fat can be removed compared to CoolSculpting®, especially since liposuction is combined with the tummy tuck. Only one surgery is required, and results are visible right away—becoming even more apparent as swelling subsides.