I have lost over 100 pounds but the stretch marks from my rapid weight gain are still very noticeable. Is an entirely different procedure needed to get rid of large stretch marks, or will a tummy tuck resolve them?
Will I Need a Different Procedure to Reduce the Appearance of Stretch Marks After my Tummy Tuck?
Doctor Answers (9)
Some stretch marks can be removed
Reduce the Appearance of Stretch Marks
An abdominoplasty will remove many of the stretchmarks below the belly button and make many of the remaining ones less obvious. Other methodologies such as laser have limited success with stretchmarks.
Stretcmarks result from stretching of the skin from weight gain, muscle size gain, breast implants etc that damage components of the skin. They cannot be erased where they stand. Stretchmarks below the belly button can be removed by a tummy tuck if there is sufficient overall abdominal skin excess to allow the procedure. Those that are above the level of the belly button can only be shifted downward where they will hopefully be low enough to be covered by an undergarment. The stretchmarks themselves can be more visible or less visible in their new position depending on how they respond to the pull of the surgical procedure. If they are red some lasers can then make them less visible by taking out the red. Otherwise there currently is no good reliable way to make them less noticeable. They cannot be erased.
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.
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Questions about stretch mark treatment in addition to a tummy tuck
A tummy tuck or lower body lift will remove the stretch marks that are contained in the skin removed. Those that remain usually are significantly improved in appearance due to being stretched and flattened out making them less apparent. There is no other effective "special" treatment that will remove them.
Only Stretch Mark Cure Is To Excise Them
In general, a full abdominoplasty ( or tummy tuck) does a good job of removing unwanted stretch marks that are below the belly-button. However, if there are stretch marks above the belly-button, these will still remain. They will be tighter after the surgery and generally less noticeable, but will still be present. Stretch marks are simply tears of the lower layers of the skin, like a scar, and are not susceptible to any sort of topical treatment like creams, etc. The only way to be rid of them is to excise the skin if possible. I hope this helps.
Stretch marks and tummy tucks...
Typically, many stretch marks are removed during a tummy-tuck. The remaining stretch marks are generally pulled tighter making them less obvious in their appearance.
Stretch marks still present post tummy tuck
stretch marks present below the umbilicus will typically be removed at the time of abdominoplasty. the remaining ones usually are less noticible as they are stretched. Laser treatments can help those somewhat.
Excision Only Sure Way To Remove Stretch Marks
The only sure way to remove stretch marks is to surgically excise them. A full tummy tuck usually removes the stretch marks in the lower (ubilicus down) abdomen only. Stretch marks located around the belly button or umbilicus are usually moved to the new lower abdomen. Stretch marks in the epigastrium or just below the sternum are not likely to change that much. If you have had this massive weight loss, you might want to consider a body lift which will also address the excess skin of your lateral thighs, buttocks and lower back.
Getting rid of stretch marks
Stretch marks are a result of damage to the dermis (portion of your skin) that is not reversible. The best way to truly get rid of them is to remove the affected skin, such as with a tummy tuck. A tummy tuck will get rid of the lower abdominal stretch marks, but if you also have them above the belly button, you may not rid of them completely. There are some lasers and radiofrequency treatments that may help lessen the appearance of stretch marks, but they do not get rid of them. Creams or lotions may help prevent stretch marks, but they are not effective in treating or getting rid of stretch marks. Once stretch marks appear, the damage has already been done. A tummy tuck is great because not only can you get rid of stretch marks, but you also remove excess skin and tighten the abdominal muscles (the fascia layer), giving a nice contour to the abdomen overall.