As decisions go, it could be a big one. You’re headed into Spring and Summer – but want a little more definition around the middle. Which cosmetic procedure do you choose?

The answer isn’t an easy one. And it’s not the same for every patient, but a little extra information can help.

“Liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in America,” said Stephen H. Maguire, M.D., a plastic surgeon located in Alexandria, La. “This procedure offers consistent, immediate results for the patient. You know going into the procedure that you’ll get rid of the problem areas and have a smoother contour.”

The procedure was introduced in France in the 1920s, but did not become popular until the 1980s. Incisions are 1/8” and involve a cannula and suction. Patients would need to plan to 4-7 days off following surgery, and expect complete results in 4 to 6 weeks when swelling subsides.

“It’s a great procedure if you have a large problem area and you want to do one procedure and be done – and, if you don’t have excess skin or any separation in the abdominal muscles,” Dr. Maguire said.

Patients who DO have sagging, excess skin following weight loss – and/or a separation in the abdominal muscles would be better candidates for a tummy tuck.

The tummy ruck or abdominoplasty procedure is more costly than liposuction and time off from work would be 3 to 4 weeks.

“There is a misconception sometimes that loose abdominal skin will be taken up by exercise or diet,” Dr. Maguire said “With abdominoplasty, you always see results. The recovery, that’s the big thing with this surgery. With other cosmetic procedures, you can be back at work after a long weekend. With this one, recovery does take weeks, but the results are worth it.”

In some cases, patients schedule an abdominoplasty along with other cosmetic procedures such as a breast augmentation or liposuction. And if your plastic surgeon and OB/GYN work in the same facility, abdominoplasty could also be done in conjunction with a hysterectomy – so the patient only has to plan for one “recovery” instead of two.

Many women also consider Cool Sculpting, which was approved by the FDA in 2010. The procedures includes the “selective freezing of fat cells,” and it said to reduce fatty bulges by 20 to 25 percent. The areas treated with this procedures are usually smaller than what would be treated with liposuction.

“Typically, patients who receive cool sculpting procedures receive several treatments in the same area over several weeks or months for noticeable results,” Dr. Maguire said. “There are no incisions and recovery is not an issue with the procedure.

“But the results are not as predictable as what you would see from surgery.”

Again, not every patient is a candidate for every procedure. The procedure patients choose may depend on their budget, time available for recovery and their medical history.

“There’s no single treatment for every body,” Dr. Maguire said. “But we are certainly ready and willing to talk through the options we offer.”

For more information about abdominoplasty or liposuction with Dr. Maguire, call (318) 442-5800 or visit