5 Questions To Determine Which Body Contouring Method Is Best For You

Written by Christa Tomc, DO, Board Certified Dermatologist on September 8, 2017 9 Comments

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Choosing between the many body contouring treatments currently available can be confusing for prospective patients. There are several great surgical and non-surgical fat reduction treatments, many of which are effective and provide great results.

The “big 3” body contouring treatments today are liposuction (including several variations such as SmartLipo), Cool Sculpting, and Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck surgery).

The best treatment option for each patient will depend greatly on the individual characteristics of their body and the desired end results they seek to achieve. These 5 simple questions will help you figure out which body contouring procedure is right for you.

Is your BMI 30 or less?

A patients Body Mass Index (BMI) needs to be 30 or less in order to be a good candidate for most body contouring treatments. You can determine your BMI by using this free calculator. If your current BMI is over 30, we would encourage you to stay focused on fitness and nutrition until you reach this threshold.

Are you within 10 pounds of your ideal weight?

Individuals who are within 10 pounds of their ideal weight are great candidates for either Cool Sculpting or Liposuction. At this point many people are generally fit and have specific areas of stubborn body fat that they hope to eliminate.

Prospective patients who are over this 10-pound limit will mostly likely require a tummy tuck procedure.

Do you have any loose skin or sagging muscles?

If your issues stem from loose, excess skin or a separation in the abdominal muscles an Abdominoplasty will be your best option. Removing fat from an area with loose skin will actually look worse, not better. Any excess skin or lax muscles will need to be surgically removed or tightened.

However, if the targeted areas you hope to address are fat pockets without loose skin Coolsculpting or Liposuction can be effective.

Do you have time to recover?

Tummy tuck surgery and liposuction (both surgical options) will require dedicated recovery periods (downtime) where your physical activities are limited. Here are some great blog posts on recovering from tummy tuck and recovering form liposuction.

If you have no time for recovery, Cool Sculpting is definitely for you. This non-surgical procedure requires no needles, surgical incisions, pain medications, or anesthesia. Patients can resume their routine activities, including returning to work and exercise regimens, immediately following the treatment.

Are you looking for quick results?

Surgical body contouring options like liposuction provide immediate results in a single session. Non-surgical body contouring like CoolSculpting requires multiple treatment sessions spread out over time before the most dramatic results are achieved.


Christa Tomc, DO

Christa Tomc, DO, earned her medical degree at Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine and subsequently completed her internship at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, serving as resident liaison of her intern class. Dr. Tomc’s interests include detection and prevention of skin cancer and premature photo-aging. Dr. Tomc is a member of the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, American Osteopathic Association, American Society of Dermatologic Surgery, Women’s Dermatologic Society, Texas Dermatologic Society, Texas Medical Association, and Dallas-Fort Worth Dermatologic Society.

9 Responses to “5 Questions To Determine Which Body Contouring Method Is Best For You”

  1. Avatar Tiffany says:

    Thanks for explaining the different body contouring methods and how it’s important to make sure you choose something that will fit into your schedule so that you’re able to resume your activities once it’s done. Figuring out the best option would probably be important to make sure you get the results you’re looking for and to ensure you recover properly. In order to do this, you’d probably want to determine what results you want and figure out when you have the time and what method to use and then talk to a body contouring specialist to make sure you have everything prepared and can get the procedure done.

  2. Avatar Tammie says:

    I like the idea that you gave emphasis to the idea that I should know my BMI before I pay attention to body contouring. You mentioned the I should be a 30 or less. Currently, I’m in 31-32, do you think I should still consider fitness first? I like your article. Thanks for the information. I really will keep this in mind when I start the contouring preparation and method.

    I’m in Pennsylvania otherwise I would come in for a consultation. I just had one here with Long Plastic Surgery ( They recommended me to move forward with lipo but I wanted to ask for some other opinions.

  3. Avatar Forrest says:

    Nice article! There are multiple factors to consider when determining the best body contouring procedure for addressing loose skin, reducing fat or restoring a more natural body shape for any given patient; even two individuals with almost similar aesthetic goals will usually need a different approach depending on each patient’s anatomy.

  4. Avatar Millie says:

    Given that people today are busy with work and family, it is interesting to know that there is another option for people who want to undergo body sculpting but have no time to recover. I’ll definitely keep in mind the process called “Cool Sculpting” when I have the budget. I wanted to thank you for your explanation about it since I am also afraid of needles and surgeries.

  5. Avatar Yasmin says:

    If tummy tuck is best procedure to remove the extra fat and what is the difference between tummy tuck and tummy tuck with liposuction?

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Yasmin,

      Thanks for reading our post and submitting your great question! Basically tummy tuck surgery can be performed with our without liposuction. Depending on each individuals patients characteristics and desired end results, liposuction can be used to further contour areas like the flanks, hips, and thighs. Some patients can benefit from added lipo while others will not, so this is something you should discuss with your surgeon during an in-office consultation.

      We hope that helps!

      WD Staff

  6. Avatar Rosie says:

    I had my daughter a few years ago and ever since the pregnancy I have had some stubborn belly fat that I just can’t get rid of. I am thinking about trying a body sculpting procedure so I appreciate the valuable information you provide in this article. You make a great point that body sculpting is noninvasive and I won’t have to worry about a long recovery time.

  7. Avatar Katie says:

    Thanks for these tips on which body contouring method is best. It would make sense to give yourself enough time to recover, as you suggest. My husband and I are looking for a body sculptor, so we’ll have to consider recovery time.

  8. Avatar Angela says:

    I’ve finally lost a lot of weight from my body since I recently combined keto diet and intermittent fasting while doing jump rope exercises to lose weight, but I still have some problem areas in my body that persist. Thanks for telling me that I should have a BMI of 30 to qualify for most body sculpting methods. I suppose I can ask a specialist about which method will work out for me once I hit my goal weight.

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