Mini Tummy Tuck Vs Thermage for Loose Abdominal Skin?

I am 26 years old and I have a 14-month-old daughter. I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but still have a little extra skin around my belly button. I consulted with a plastic surgeon and he suggested either a mini Tummy Tuck to repair my stomach muscles or Thermage treatment. I really don't want to have a mini tummy tuck as it is so invasive, but I am also worried that the Thermage wont work. Any advise?

Doctor Answers 9

Surgical Treatment Is Most Effective

In patients with significant abdominal changes following pregnancy, non-surgical methods of treatments are rarely effective.  Thermage might create minimal changes, but not enough to make a major difference.  Surgical treatment still represents the most effective method of treating this problem in the majority of patients. 

Mini Tummy Tuck Vs. Thermage

A mini tummy tuck is intended to tighten the skin of the lower abdomen.This would be the skin between the bellybutton and the pubic bone.Very often, liposuction of the abdominal wall is performed at the same time.If there is significant loose skin of the lower abdomen, then the mini tummy tuck is a better choice than Thermage.Thermage should not be expected to provide a significant and long lasting tightening in this area.

John J. Edney, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

How to treat loose abdominal skin after pregnancy

Thank you for your question. It's unlikely that a non-surgical procedure will be able to adequately treat your loose abdominal skin.  Usually, surgical removal of loose skin and tightening of the abdominal muscles is required. 

Of course, a physical exam would be required in order to fully evaluate your situation and give you the most accurate recommendation. I recommend you visit with at least one board certified plastic surgeon.

I hope that helps and wish you all the best!

Mini or full tummy tuck?

Thank you for the question.

I am concerned based on your question that you will end up doing a nonsurgical or ill advised surgical procedure and be dissatisfied with the results.  Sometimes it is better no surgery then to the  disappointed with the results.

In my opinion, the mini tummy tuck is an  operation that  produces very limited results and is very rarely indicated. It involves a shorter incision but does not address the majority of the abdominal wall issues present for most patients who present consultation. For example, the area of skin excised is quite small. The abdominal wall musculature is addressed below the umbilicus leaving the upper number wall potentially lax. The appearance of the umbilicus is not necessarily addressed sufficiently.
For most patients who have had pregnancies and/or weight loss a full abdominoplasty is necessary to achieve the desired results. Of course, there are downsides (including a longer scar and probably a longer recovery time) but for most patients the benefits outweigh the downsides. It is not unusual to see patients who've had mini tummy tuck  surgery present for  revisionary surgery.

I hope this helps.


The best results typically come from surgical removal of the skin. If you are not finished with pregnancies, I would suggest you wait prior to have any abdominal procedures.  Consult with a BOARD CERTIFIED PLASTIC SURGEON (check credentials!) for an evaluation and recommendation.  Best wishes!

Christine Sullivan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Thermage versus tummy tuck for loose skin

I have not been impressed with the Thermage but of course I see the patients who fail treatment and are dissatisfied with teh results. Even a mini tummy tuck may not correct your problem.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Mini tummy tuck vs thermage

First, if you are planning to have any more children, I would put off any surgical intervention until after that time. Thermage may tighten the skin a bit( say 20-30%) if that is enough for you than do the Thermage. If you are notplanning to have more children, then a mini-tummy tuck may be a good solution.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Thermage doesn't work

Don't waste your money on Thermage. It doesn't work.

A mini-abdominoplasty will deal with skin and muscle issues below the navel only. I see very few patients that are ideal candidates for that procedure.

A full abdominoplasty will give you a flat abdomen but at the expense of a lengthy scar across the lower abdomen... Usually with time, the scar ends up very acceptable, but it is there nevertheless.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

What are you willing to accept?

Those are 2 very different procedures. A mini-abdominoplasty with remove some of the skin below the belly button and can tighten the muscles to a limited degree, but you have to accept the scar that will be present as a result. It is generally designed to be very low and concealed by a bikini, but it's still a scar. Thermage might (MIGHT) tighten the skin a little, but there's no scar. It also does nothing for the muscle. There is also the full tummy-tuck, but that would also put a scar around your belly button. Once the scar is there, it cannot be removed (although it will fade over time). Thermage has no downside except failure, which may deplete your savings if you're not careful! If you don't want a scar, you only have one choice. If you're willing to accept the scar, you can make a big difference. Good luck!

Robert S. Houser, DO
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.