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Tummy Tuck Vs Laser Skin Tightening for Minimal Loose Skin After Pregnancy

I've had three children via C-section, and a hysterectomy. I am 5'2 and 112 pounds and exercise a few times a week. Although my stomach looks flat when I am standing up, I have skin that hangs down when I bend over, with a few stretch marks that make it look gross. Would laser skin tightening be effective, or would I need a Tummy Tuck to correct this?

Doctor Answers (63)

Laser Liposuction and Skin Tightening May Be An Option

+9

kygirl,

I agree with most of what the above doctors have said.

However, my experience with the new SlimLipo laser liposuction on the tummy has been very positive-see before and after pictures of mini tummy tuck and laser liposuction.

The laser liposcution enabled me to remove fat and tughten skin of the abdomen above the area of skin removal by the mini tummy tuck.

The laser liposuction alone has also created some dramatic results for me in the 70 year old patient pictured here.

If you have a separated tummy muscle, called a diastasis recti, or a hernia you will have to have the surgery.

If you are fit and have minor tummy fat and loose skin, as you suggest by the fact that you only see laxity when bending over, then the laser liposuction method may be all that you need.

The problem for you is finding a board certified plastic surgeon who uses this new technique which is not widely available yet.

DO NOT risk going to a medspa or doctor who is not certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.


Boston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Tummy Tuck Vs. Laser Skin Tightening

+4
In my plastic surgery practice, we have a fully integrated medical spa including lasers for skin tightening. The results of laser skin tightening can be quite dramatic on the right patient. The areas that respond best are face, neck and upper arms. We have had patients experience great success with skin tightening of the knees and a few have even had great results with skin tightening of the tummy.
Having said that, laser skin tightening can be VERY unpredictable, particularly with regard to skin of the body. There are very few situations where we would even consider performing laser skin tightening of the abdomen.
If a patient has stretch marks, that generally means the skin has been compromised and will very like NOT respond to laser skin tightening. If there is significant redundant skin we would not attempt laser skin tightening of the face or body.
So, even in a practice with several patients who have experienced great results with laser skin tightening of the abdomen, I feel that this will be effective in a very small percentage of patients we see, and even the patient who might be a good candidate we are careful not to over promise what laser skin tightening can deliver in the abdomen.
For anyone considering laser skin tightening ot laser skin rejuvenation, seek this treatment from a board certified plastic surgeon who has more than option to offer you for whatever your concern. As they say, 'If your only tool os a hammer, then the whole world is a nail'. In almost all cases of excess skin in the abdomen, a tummy tuck is the best procedure.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

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Laser skin tightening vs Tummy tuck- a matter of degree!

+2

Latest techniques in skin tightening, such as the Sciton Joule with it's revolutionary new cellulite busting mode, are capable of shrinking the skin, but to a degree. The real answer if  a laser vs a scalpel is needed can only be made after a careful in person examination of the patient. It all comes down to how much elasticity is remaining in the skin. The more elastic the skin is, the more likely it is for me to be able to use a skin tightening laser and obtain a great result! Of course, there is nothing that can replace a surgeon's training and experience as far as the predictability of a good surgical result is concerned.

Z. Paul Lorenc, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Tummy Tuck gives more substantial results

+2

Skin tightening technology based on laser or liposuction techniques (laser lipo, ultrasound or regular lipo) may make small differences in skin tightening. They have the advantage of being quick with minimal downtime in comparison to surgery. There is significant marketing pressure from the manufactures of many of these laser technologies so you have to sort through some of that.

Abdominoplasty on the other hand can make a significant difference in your abdominal contour by addressing significant amounts of excess skin as well as tightening your core abdominal muscles. The trade-off is requiring a general anesthetic and having a significant scar.

Typically patients with significant excess skin require an abdominoplasty.

I hope this helps.

Steven H. Williams, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

A tummy tuck is your best bet

+1
While a laser might give you minimal skin tightening, it most likely will not be satisfactory to your eye. A tummy tuck surgery is the gold standard to remove excess skin, and this would also likely remove your stretch marks (which a laser would not address). Best of luck. 

David Rapaport, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Depends on the amount of skin excess

+1
It depends entirely on the amount of loose skin.  If there is insufficient skin to perform a tummy tuck, as evidenced by the fact that your abdomen is flat with you standing, then tummy tuck is not even an option.  It would be important to have a board certified plastic surgeon examine you to determine which procedure would be best to achieve your goals.

Gary Lawton, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Tummy Tuck Vs Laser Skin Tightening

+1
Laser liposuction is more appropriate for smaller areas such as the  face, neck and arms. For significant tightening of the stomach, a surgical option is more appropriate. There are some options for surgical technique. It would be appropriate to have an in person examination and consultation. Consult with 3 board certified plastic surgeons to understand your options, and choose the one that best meets your needs/objectives.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Tummy Tuck or Laser Skin Tightening

+1
Thank you for your question.  This is a question I see commonly during a consultation.  A picture would be very helpful as well as a physical examination.  A tummy tuck generally offers the best effective skin tightening procedure versus laser skin tightening. For patients who have only a little skin laxity visible when bending forward, who don't want the scaring, a noninvasive skin tightening procedure like the InMode Forma and Fractora treatments may be effective enough to satisfy them.  A consult with a board certified plastic surgeon will help guide you to your best option. 

Brian Joseph, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Tummy Tuck vs Laser Skin tightening for minimal loose skin after pregnancy

+1
In my experience laser skin tightening has serious limitations when used on abdominal skin after pregnancy. Furthermore, laser treatments will not improve the appearance of stretch marks. A tummy tuck, however, will remove them, improve skin tone and contour all in one sweep.

Best wishes and happy healing.

Gary Horndeski M.D.

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 129 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.