I am 5'4 and 140 lbs in the picture. I've lost 31 lbs and going to lose 35 lbs more. Do you think the shelf will go away with weight loss? Do you think I should get a tummy tuck to get rid of the stretch marks and the shelf look? What would be my best options? I hate these marks and I've been using Retin-A and fade cream with little results
Tummy Tuck or Other Options for Shelf Abdomen and Stretch Marks?
Doctor Answers 5
Timing of tummy tuck
Without question, I would suggest that you wait until you are at your target weight and are stable for 4-6 months. This is assuming that your target weight is reasonably achievable. The main thing is to be as fit as possible. Re-assess your situation at that time.
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The ONLY real cure for Stretch marks is a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
You would do GREAT with a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty).
The procedure will not only remove the stretch mark damaged skin, but it will also flatten your tummy, narrow your waist, lift a potentially droopy Mons veneris and may smooth any cellulite dimpling on your anterior thighs.
Stretch marks are NOT really "marks". They really are full thickness cracks in the skin that fill with scar tissue. As such they CANNOT be erased by exercise, drinking water, covered with lotions (including RETIN A and fading creams), pills, rollers, lasers, rabbits' feet, voodoo dolls or anything else you hear. The only way to "fix" them, is to remove the cracked - stretch marks covered skin.
Pick a good Plastic surgeon (check www.PlasticSurgery.org) and you will do great.
Dr. P. Aldea
Full Tummy Tuck
At 5'4", your ideal body weight is estimated to be 124, therefore losing 35 pounds is unnecessary.
Nothing but a full tummy tuck would eleiminate your stretch marks, However, the tradeoff is a long scar.
Your striae should fade with time.
Losing weight is an excellent method of losing your body fat and it may produce significant improvements in the appearacne of your abdomen but it is not likely to improve your striae.
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Tummy tuck for stretch marks and timing the procedure
If only a cream, laser, or exercise would get rid of stretch marks. But they don't. The only way we have to get rid of bad skin: wrinkled, loose, floppy, stretch marked skin is to cut it out.
Timing for tummy tuck:
1. Be at your ideal weight. If you are actively losing weight, as you lose weight it will continue to loosen your skin. You don't want to stop your momentum or have the surgery, then lose more weight and loosen up your newly tightened skin. If you get stuck, what I call a plateau, then sometimes surgery will help jump start you again.
2. Do a tummy tuck when you are done with babies. When we do a tummy tuck we tighten your muscles in addition to cutting out the skin.
3. Have time where you can wear a supportive garment and not lift heavy things for a while. So just after your third baby, who you need to hold constantly, is not good timing. We like you to avoid heavy lifting for 1-3 months.
4. Don't do liposuction first. Liposuction just gets rid of fat, it will not tighten the skin. It does leave scar though under the skin, making it harder to stretch and reposition during a tummy tuck. If you need to have both to your abdomen, I strongly prefer the tummy tuck first, liposuction second. It is safe to do liposuction at the same time as tummy tuck to other areas of your body like back, flank, and thighs.
Good luck with your further weight loss! You look like a good candidate.
Tummy tuck is your best option
Unfortunately, no cream or laser will get rid of your stretch marks. Stretch marks are a sign of irreversible skin injury; the only effective treatment is excising them. At your current height and weight, you already are a reasonable candidate for a tummy tuck. If you plan on losing additional weight, wait until your weight has stabilized before you seek surgery.
Not only is skin and fat removed with a tummy tuck, but the midline abdominal wall muscles are tightened. This will dramatically re-contour the abdominal wall, eliminating the "shelf", narrowing your waistline, and removing the majority of your stretch marks. When you're done losing weight, you should seek consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon.
Hope this helps. Best of luck.
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