Am I a candidate? Find out and get your personalized plan.

Liposuction Resources

Table Of Contents

How is AbEX Different from a Tummy Tuck?

Christopher Chung, M.D.
American Board of Plastic Surgery
Chief Medical Officer
Sono Bello

For patients seeking to reshape and improve the contour of the abdominal regions, there are several surgical alternatives to the traditional tummy tuck, also known as “abdominoplasty.” One of the most popular of these alternatives is Sono Bello’s AbEX procedure.

While both techniques aim to remove excess skin and fat from the abdominal area, there are some key differences that may make the AbEX procedure from Sono Bello more appealing to patients.

To help patients better understand which procedure is right for them, this article will clearly lay out the differences between the two and allow people to see for themselves which procedure is most optimal for their body contouring goals and personal treatment preferences.

What is Sono Bello’s AbEX procedure?

The AbEX procedure was designed by the liposuction experts at Sono Bello to address excess skin and fat in the entire abdominal region, helping patients achieve their dream look in a single procedure.

Unlike a full tummy tuck, AbEX is a more focused operation. The AbEX procedure targets skin and fat without impacting the underlying muscle tissue or any other body parts.

Because the surgery causes less physical trauma to the patient’s body, it can be performed under local (rather than general) anesthesia, allowing the person to remain awake during the process. Not only does this make the procedure significantly safer, but it can also help recovery time and reduce the overall cost to the patient.

During AbEX, liposuction is utilized to remove unwanted fat deposits from the abdomen. The primary purpose of AbEX – employed as an additional step in the liposuction process or as a standalone procedure – is to remove loose skin and achieve flatter, tighter, more toned abs.

By removing the excess skin and employing liposuction for fat removal and skin tightening respectively, AbEX aims to improve the contour and shape of the abdomen. This procedure provides a localized solution for individuals seeking abdominal enhancement without the need for general anesthesia or extensive surgery.


The AbEX procedure comprises two essential components.

Liposuction: This technique focuses on reducing excess volume in specific areas of the abdomen. Our skilled Sono Bello board-certified/eligible surgeons employ minimally invasive micro-laser liposuction to carefully remove unwanted fat deposits. This precise fat-removal process is tailored to meet the unique needs of each patient.

Skin resection: Excessive abdominal skin is precisely removed to attain the desired aesthetic goals. The degree of skin removal can be customized based on the individual’s requirements. The range of skin removal in AbEX varies from a minimum amount, comparable to that of a “mini-tuck,” to a maximum amount, similar to a traditional tummy tuck.

What is a traditional tummy tuck?

Abdominoplasty, commonly known as a tummy tuck, is a surgery that aims to improve the appearance of the abdomen by addressing excess skin and tightening the abdominal muscles. It is commonly sought by individuals who have experienced significant weight loss or fluctuation in body shape due to pregnancy, aging, or other factors and want to achieve a more toned and flatter abdominal contour.

The procedure involves several steps to achieve the desired results. During a full abdominoplasty, an incision is made in the lower abdominal crease, extending from one hip to the other. The length and shape of the incision may vary depending on the extent of correction needed.

Another incision is made around the umbilicus (belly button). These incisions allow for the removal of skin from the lower abdomen and create access for repositioning the remaining skin towards the umbilicus. The excess skin is then excised, and the entire abdomen is tightened vertically.

A tummy tuck also involves abdominal muscle repair. During the procedure, the surgeon lifts the skin and separates it from the underlying abdominal muscles. If the muscles have become weakened or separated, they are tightened and stitched together to create a firmer abdominal wall. After the muscle repair, the surgeon removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen. This is achieved by trimming away the unwanted tissue and repositioning the remaining skin to create a smoother, flatter appearance.

It’s important to note that a full abdominoplasty, as described above, typically requires general anesthesia. In other words, the patient remains unconscious throughout the procedure.

Sono Bello’s AbEX vs. tummy tuck: how are they different?

While both surgeries share the primary objective of addressing the presence of excess skin and fat in the abdominal region, the surgical process for a tummy tuck entails the removal of skin from the area below the belly button, extending towards the typical location of a c-section incision, and continuing over the hips.

AbEX, on the other hand, addresses the upper and lower abdomen. Therefore, it is a more comprehensive approach to fat removal – especially when coupled with micro-laser liposuction – than a traditional tummy tuck. AbEX removes sagging skin and excess fat in just one visit, helping patients achieve their body contouring goals quickly and safely.

AbEX encompasses both fat and skin, but not muscle tissue. This is another key difference between the two treatments. During a tummy tuck, the surgeon essentially performs a dissection of the abdomen, reaching up to the bony structure located below the sternum. This involves lifting the entire abdominal region above the belly button, allowing for better access and manipulation. Once the abdominal tissues are elevated, the focus shifts to the rectus muscles, also referred to as the six-pack muscles. The goal is to tighten these muscles and bring them closer together, ultimately resulting in a more toned and defined appearance.

Following the muscle tightening, the excess skin and underlying tissues are carefully pulled down, effectively restoring a smoother contour to the abdomen. Additionally, a new belly button is created to enhance the overall aesthetic appeal. These structural manipulations are defining characteristics of a tummy tuck and are not a part of the AbEX procedure, which is strictly focused on fat and skin, not bone and muscle.

With AbEX, the surgical approach involves skin removal and liposuction, which can be performed on the full abdomen. Liposuction in the middle and upper abdomen is not commonly performed in a traditional tummy tuck.

As mentioned before, one noteworthy benefit of the AbEX technique is that it is conducted under local anesthesia, allowing the patient to remain awake throughout the surgery. This localized anesthesia approach typically results in a relatively pain-free experience for the patient. Furthermore, undergoing AbEX avoids the potential side effects associated with general anesthesia, providing an added advantage in terms of safety and recovery.

To put it simply, a traditional tummy tuck involves a comprehensive removal of excess skin and fat, coupled with the tightening of abdominal muscles, all of which require general anesthesia.

Why choose AbEX over a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)?

Sono Bello’s AbEX technique offers a modified approach characterized by a smaller incision, the inclusion of liposuction, and the use of local anesthesia. This alternative method provides an attractive option for patients seeking abdominal enhancement, taking into account factors such as anesthesia preference, incision size, and overall surgical approach.

This is a highly effective abdominal body contouring procedure designed to achieve the desired aesthetic outcome for people seeking a flat and tight tummy. Unlike traditional approaches, AbEX eliminates the need for full sedation and incorporates the latest technology to provide optimal results.

And the technology is truly a remarkable advantage of the AbEX procedure. Its combination of micro-laser liposuction and precision skin resection is a new approach that ensures the utmost safety for patients. The minimally invasive nature of the procedure also minimizes downtime and expedites the recovery process.

In short, AbEX stands out as an exciting, advanced abdominal body contouring procedure that combines the power of liposuction and precise skin resection. It allows patients to achieve their desired aesthetic results in a safer manner, while benefiting from reduced risks, shorter recovery times, and enhanced comfort during the procedure.

For any patients interested in learning more about Sono Bello’s AbEX procedure to remove excess belly fat and skin, the best place to start is a free consultation with a Sono Bello Patient Care Consultant. They can help each patient understand their individual needs and roadmap for an AbEX procedure, and why it might be the right alternative for them to a traditional tummy tuck.