Liposuction and/or abdominoplasty improves both self-esteem and quality of life, according to a study in the April issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. The combination of liposuction plus tummy tuck resulted in even greater improvements–although it was associated with more pain and longer recovery times.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, liposucton was the most popular cosmetic surgery in 2011, and abdominoplasty was No 3.

The new study included 360 patients undergoing liposuction and/or abdominoplasty. About 60% underwent liposuction alone, while 35% underwent a combination of liposuction and abdominoplasty. The rest had abdominoplasty alone.

Patients were aged 42 on average, and 85% were women. Those individual who had liposuction alone had shorter recovery times, compared to people who underwent abdominoplasty (with or without liposuction). The liposuction-only patients also reported less discomfort.

With an average score of 9 out of 10, patients undergoing abdominoplasty rated their cosmetic outcomes higher than others. Liposuction plus abdominoplasty produced the highest patient satisfaction rate–over 99% with no increase in pain compared to abdominoplasty alone, the study showed.

Fully 98% of patients undergoing liposuction plus abdominoplasty said they would undergo the procedure again, and 99% said they would recommend it to others. Overall, 86% of patients reported an improved sense of self-esteem after surgery. About 70% reported improved quality of life. The latter was more common after liposuction plus abdominoplasty, the study showed.

The bottom line? "Liposuction and abdominoplasty, individually and in combination, produce high rates of patient satisfaction and reliably improve self-esteem," says study author Eric Swanson, MD, a plastic surgeon in private practice in Leawood, Kansas, in a press release.

Source: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery