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What Are the Non-surgical Alternatives to a Tummy Tuck?

I would like information on 3 non-surgical options to reduce fat and loose skin on the stomach for someone has been 30-40 pounds overweight for 15 years. How effective are these options?, Which is the least invasive?

Doctor Answers 19

Non-Surgical Alternatives Have Limitations

It’s not unusual for patients to have significant changes in their bodies when they’ve been 30-40 pounds overweight for a prolonged period of time. These changes are especially noticeable in the abdomen where they can cause fat accumulation, redundant sagging skin, weakened stretched abdominal muscles and stretch marks.Unfortunately it’s impossible to treat changes of this magnitude without performing an abdominoplasty.
Although Zerona, Lasers, Coolsculpting and Thermage can all be used to treat minor contour irregularities, they all have significant limitations.For these reasons, patients who have significant contour irregularities should consult a board certified plastic surgeon. This surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plan that addresses their anatomic findings and aesthetic goals. In the majority of cases, this will require an abdominoplasty.

Non-surgical Alternatives to a Tummy Tuck

Thank you for your question. There is NO non surgical alternative to a tummy tuck. A tummy tuck is designed to remove excess skin and tighten muscles. Now if you have stubborn fat and pretty good skin quality then I encourage you to research Coolscultping. Cold suctions are placed on several areas of the tummy to freeze fat cells. It is recommended to target specific areas in two office visits to achieve the best rests. Good luck in your search.

Rady Rahban, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Non-surgical improvement of the abdomen

When evaluating an abdomen several factors must be examined
  1. Skin
  2. Subcutaneous fat
  3. Anterior abdominal wall laxity
  4. Intra-abdominal fat or visceral fat
If your skin has multiple stretch marks then liposuction may not be the best option. There are modifications of an abdominoplasty but in your particular case a standard abdominoplasty would be the best choice. This will flatten the abdominal bulge, contour the abdomen with liposuction of the trunk, flanks and posterior hips, and tighten the skin. The trade off is the scar. This is an individual decision for your to make after you weigh the risks and benefits. If you want to have a flat abdomen the trade off is the scar that can be hidden by your bathing suit or underwear. With proper planning the scar can be managed. Proactive scar care is vital to obtain an aesthetic result.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Nonsurgical skin tightening

Nice job on losing the weight!

You can consider nonsurgical treatments, such as laser skin tightening or microneedling, which can certainly help with loose skin. Although they may take longer to achieve results, it may be a better option if you don't want surgery. A tummy tuck will give you a more predictable, dramatic result, but if you don't mind waiting, then there are several nonsurgical solutions available.

Please note however that with the amount of loose skin you probably have it would be very difficult to get rid of it with nonsurgical means to the point that you'd be happy with the results.

No good nonsurgical option if Tummy Tuck is needed

Thank you for your question. I understand why you would want to have a nonsurgical option to tighten your tummy skin rather than having a Tummy Tuck.

However it is very important for you to understand that most heavily advertised nonsurgical Tummy Tuck alternatives simply cannot adequately tighten loose tummy skin that is significant.

The best any of the non surgical methods achieve is about 20-22% skin tightening compared to the 100% of a Tummy Tuck.

If you only have very slight amounts of loose skin around the belly button these nonsurgical technologies may improve it. However if you have a flap of loose skin on your tummy eyes urge you not to waist your money on nonsurgical procedures

Nonsurgical intervention provides minimal improvement

WIthout a photo, it is impossible to comment in specifics, but a history of 30-40 pounds overweight and loose skin is a prescription for an abdominoplasty. None of the non-surgical options are substitutes for surgery in such cases and you should not be deceived into thinking that they will offer you a low cost, low pain panacea.

Robert L. Kraft, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Non-surgical Alternatives to a Tummy Tuck

To remove excess skin/adipose tissue, abdominoplasty is the best options. Some of the current modalities such as thermage, Exilis, or Zerona can provide minimal skin tightening benefits and subtle reduction of fat, but can not tackle the objectives of a patient seeking a tummy tuck.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

??Tummy Tuck Alternatives

There are no true alternatives to tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) because part of the procedure includes tightening the weakened abdominal wall giving a flat belly.  This can only be accomplished with an abdominoplasty procedure.

Craig Mezrow, MS, MD
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Nonsurgical Alternatives To Tummy Tuck Very Limited

It is my opinion that there are no satisfactory alternatives to tummy tuck when there is excess skin which are nonsurgical.  A mini tummy tuck can sometimes be of use in certain cases, but this too obviously involves surgery.  When there are small areas of excess fat and little or no skin excess, liposuction may be beneficial.  Liposuction is not, however, a treatment for obesity and cannot substitute for diet, exercise, etc.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Loose skin will require a tummy tuck

There are no non-surgical options to address loose skin and stretch marks. If have great skin tone and excess fat you may be a candidate for liposuction alone. A board certified plastic surgeon can examine you and determine which procedure is best for your particular anatomy.

Best wishes,


William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 218 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.