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Tummy Tuck Alternatives?

My wife has had 3 C-sections. Her muscle tone is excellent but she does have loose skin and stretch marks over her rock hard abs. Is there anything besides a $5000+ Tummy Tuck she can do to tighten that skin up?

Doctor Answers 12

A tummy tuck is the only way to go

A tummy tuck coustomized to her needs is what she requires.  No non-surgical treatments like Thermage or Titan will make any significant difference unfortunately.  Good luck!

Tummy Tuck Alternatives

You may try nonsurgical treatments such as micro needling and laser skin tightening, but results can be unpredictable and take longer to achieve. Unfortunately, only a tummy tuck can achieve the dramatic, predictable results your wife probably wants.

She may only need a mini-tummy tuck but surgery is the only option if there is loose skin.

Pregnancy has caused thinning of the dermis and loss of elasticity and unfortunately it is not possible to turn back time.  The only solution is to remove the loose skin.   

Tummy tuck alternative

Unfortunately there are no alternatives to a tummy tuck that offer anything close to the results of a tummy tuck in terms of tightening skin.

However there are many types of tummy tuck now available, not just the mini tuck or the full tummy tuck. This makes the option of surgery much more tailored to the patient, especially for fit patients who do not need a hip to hip incision. This includes low incision full tummy tucks, the Hybrid tummy tuck(TM) for fit patients with minimal skin looseness.

But if the problem is one of lots of loose skin and stretch marks, we do not recommend radiofrequency or laser treatments, although we do offer them in our practice, since those patients will invariably be disappointed with the return of their investment.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Maybe Doubtful

There are a lot of products that are touted to tighten skin and remove stretch marks without the need of surgery. To this I give you and old saying "when there are a lot of different answers to a problem, none of them are probably great solutions." You can find dozens of different lasers, Thermage and other solutions but in the end I think you'll spend a lot more money and get less results.

With rock-hard abs. a tummy tuck without muscle plication is a fast recovery surgery that will give predictable results. It's the best bang for the buck and should be less then 5K.

Laser and non-surgical skin tightening can help stretch marks

Non-surgical skin tightening is an alternative for fit people who have minimal loose skin. Generally about a 20-30 per cent skin tightening is possible. I use the LuxIR an infrared skin tighteniung machine and have been happy with the results.

Recently, in Europe the LuxIR has been combined with a Lux 1540 non-ablative fractiopnal laser to remove stretch marks-the first non-surgical technique I have ever seen that really helps stretch marks.

By combining these two procedures you may achieve both skin tightening and inmprovement in stretch marks.

Severity and location of the skin laxity will determine the best options for the abodmen

There are many individuals that claim that non-invasive techniques will provide adequate results for skin tightening but this is only true for minor forms of skin laxity and does not produce equivalent results in each patient. Generally these methds are able to deliver a 1-3 effect (on a scale of 1 to 10) when compare to surgery which can produce a 7-9 effect (on a scale of 1 to 10).

It also depends on where the skin laxity is occuring. If it effects the abdomen above the umbilicus, it is most likely that you wife will achieve the best results with a full tummy tuck.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

This is a frequent question in my practice

This is a frequent question in my practice. Although the answer is often that only an abdominoplasty will tighten the skin and remove stretch marks reliably, I have been surprised at the amount of improvement some women have gotten from Thermage, a non-invasive treatment to tighten skin. You should take your wife to a plastic surgeon who is well-versed in all of the options for the mostr sound advice. One in your area is Dr. Kim Short in Indianapolis. Hope this helps.

If she has loose skin, don't fall for the lesser priced non-surgical alternatives.

It sounds like your wife is at an excellent weight and in great shape. Loose skin will not go away with any of the non-surgical alternatives that are out there. Likewise, stretch marks will not disappear with non-surgical alternatives (even with a tummy tuck not all stretch marks will go away).

Visit a board-certified plastic surgeon and explore the options. Finally, don't be surprised if your wife needs a full abdominoplasty. "Mini-tummy tucks" are rare in my Santa Rosa abdominoplasty practice. Even women in excellent shape have enough loose skin that a full tummy tuck is indicated. If she has very little loose skin, then tightening of the muscles and a lesser abdominoplasty may provide her with the results she is seeking. The only way to find out is to go in for a consultation. Best of luck.

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Surgery will give her the best, consistent result

There are many nonsurgical treatments that claim to tighten the skin, but in a situation like this I think it would be a waste of your money. A tummy tuck performed properly by a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon is safe, effective and durable (it will last for years).

Look at the surgeon's website to see his before and after photos and find one who can produce the results you're looking for.

Good luck!

Dr. Salemy

Shahram Salemy, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 116 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.