Mummy Tummy Lipo and Thermage Vs Tummy Tuck?

Hi, I am 26 years old with two children, youngest is 2. I am slender at almost 5' 8" and 130lbs. I lost all my baby weight by diet and exercise but I continue to have the typical "mummy tummy" I have moderate stretch marks below my belly button and my muscle are not seperated and feel flat. I have a loose bulge starting below my belly button and love handles. Heard lipo and a skin tightening treatment are the new "mummy tummy" makeover. Anything to the hype?

Doctor Answers 14

Classic muffin top best treated with tummy tuck and liposuction, not Thermage

Your photos are classic.  You would make an excellent patient for a combined tummy tuck and abdominoplasty.  You appear to have an "apple" shape and this would give you more of an hourglass shape.  We almost always use liposuction to treat the upper tummy and love handles at the same time.  It's not hype.  It works.  But don't take my word for it.  Check the photos.  I've attached a link to my website.


If someone offers Thermage for your tummy, you need to keep looking.

Kansas City Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

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Mommy Makeover with Thermage Will Not Remove Tummy Bulge

Thank you for your important question.

Thermage and other nonsurgical skin tightening techniques only affect the skin and at best tighten about 20%.

Thermage will have no effect of the fat under the skin causing the bulge on your lower tummy.

Have a Mini Tummy Tuck with Liposuction if you wnat a good result.

Non surgical skin tightening with Thermage or others will disappoint you after spending a lot of money

Mommy Makeover

Some can benefit from this, but the results seem to be too inconsistent.  I recommend you see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and consider a mini TT or full TT, and be rid of the skin you do not want.

Vivek Bansal, MD
Danville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Mini Tummy Tuck

Thank you for including your photos, it is helpful.  When a patient has damaged skin and abdominal muscles that have separated due to pregnancy, usually a tummy tuck surgery is what will achieve the look that most are wanting to achieve.  I do not perform Thermage and have heard from patients who tried it first and then came back for the tummy tuck surgery that it didn't give them the results they thought it would.  Do your research and take a look at the credentials of the surgeon you are choosing. Make sure you look at before and after photos, talk to some previous patients who have had the procedure performed. Doing research is the way to make an educated decision.

Tummy tuck vs. thermage + liposuction

The amount of skin tightening you get from Thermage isn't even in the same league as what you get from a properly performed tummy tuck.  They really aren't comparable.  Also, not everybody responds to Thermage predictably.

Although I would have to examine you to tell you which one is best, I would suggest that your options are:

1)  abdominal liposuction + mini-abdominoplasty (for skin resection)

2)  standard abdominoplasty

I don't think that liposuction + Thermage will give you a satisfactory result.


All the best,

Not every woman needs a mommy makeover.


1)  You look like a good candidate for tumescent liposuction of the abdomen.  From your pictures, I don't think you need a tummy tuck.

2)  You need both superficial and deep liposuction (Gasparotti technique).  Superficial tunneling really tightens the skin.

3)  Thermage may give you some additional minor benefit.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Talk to a Plastic Surgeon for mummy tummy problems


Based on your pictures, you would seem a good candidate for liposuction and a "mini" tuck.  I personally don't do thermage, but have seen several patients who have had it done and were disappointed with the results. I also know a few plastic surgeons who have tried it and simply given up on it, saying that the machine is just collecting dust.  In our area, there are many "non-core" doctors (non plastic surgeons) advertising various non-invasive modalities and gimmicks. My advice is to see a board certified plastic surgeon for advice.  Good luck. You should have a good result with the right operation.

Paul W. Loewenstein, MD
Milwaukee Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Fixing the "Mummy Tummy"

Fortunately, it looks like you have recovered very well from your pregnancy and have smaller issues than many women.  Thermage has been around for years but many of the results are underwhelming at best. However, you look to be an ideal candidate for a mini tummy-tuck.  This treats problems from the belly button down and it seems as this is your area of concern.  I would recommend consulting with a board certified surgeon in your area to discuss a surgery. The scar in this procedure is smaller and the recovery somewhat more limited. Don't waste your time on the latest gimmick or hype as you will likely regret it in the end.

Best of luck

Vincent Marin, MD

San Diego Plastic Surgeon

Vincent P. Marin, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

You said it best! Hype is ALWAYS hype!

You have loose skin that any form of liposuction will further empty, causing more laxity and making your stretch marks even more visible. Thermage is of VERY limited value in improving stretch marks or tightening skin--that is why tummy tucks are still necessary for a majority of women who have had  babies.

There will always be a few women who qualify for liposuction because their skin tone is still great and their babies were small, but truthfully, these women are in the minority. You will waste your money on ineffective treatment and cause yourself heartache if you expect lipo plus Thermage will give you the results you hope for.

Make sure your consultant is an ABPS-certified plastic surgeon, not some bogus-boarded "cosmetic surgeon." I believe an honest and ethical plastic surgeon will steer you away from ineffective treatments that do nothing but lighten your wallet! Get several opinions--you can see what my colleagues here are saying! Good luck!

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 170 reviews

Mommy makeover - abdominoplasty

When we assess a patient for surgery such as an abdominoplasty they fall into 3 categories

  1. those who would clearly benefit from the procedure (those with abdominal skin hanging over the genitalia),
  2. those who would not and
  3. those who lie in the grey zone in between and are hard to evaluate.

Your 3 limited photos, some out of focus, make assessment impossible given that you are in the grey zone. Your posted photos justify your concern but again do not allow full assessment.

You really need a face to face assessment in order to quantify the amount of excess upper abdominal skin (does the belly button efface with pinching of the flank skin). I suspect it would not. The outward pouching below the belly button needs to be examined in order to know if this is excess fat (skin pinch thickness more than 2cm), loose muscle or some combination of the 2. Thermage and liposuction will have no effect on loose muscle. If the pouching is mostly due to excess fat and there is no upper abdominal skin excess you might be very happy with limited liposuction with or without thermage though those modalities will not get rid of the stretchmarks. In my experience given your height weight ratio I suspect that the bulge starting below your belly button is loose muscle despite your feeling that your muscles are not separated and feel flat.

I hope you realize that this format of posting questions and receiving answers lacks the face to face direct communication required for you to make an informed decision regarding your surgery.

My response to your question/post does not represent formal medical advice or constitute a doctor patient relationship. You need to consult with i.e. personally see a board certified plastic surgeon in order to receive a formal evaluation and develop a doctor patient relationship.

Aaron Stone, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

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.