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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?

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Laser Liposuction and Skin Tightening May Be An Option

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.

Tummy Tuck Vs. Laser Skin Tightening

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 48 reviews

Tummy Tuck gives more substantial results

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.

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

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

Stretch marks

Indicate skin that has essentially torn within the elastic fibers and has lost its ability to shrink smaller. Patients find the amount of tightening with laser to so limited as to make it a costly expense without much visible improvement. By removing the skin, with a tummy tuck, you'll get the only treatment we know consistently works for stretch marks...Removal !

Robert Frank, MD
Munster Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Tummy Tuck Vs Laser Skin Tightening

Thank you for your questions. Please note that in order to decide whether a patient is a good candidate for a tummy tuck versus other alternatives, it is important to physically examine the patient to determine the characteristics of the skin and tissue. A tummy tuck is the excision and suturing of extra skin and the internal suturing of the abdominal muscles. A good candidate for a tummy tuck is one who has lost a lot of weight and left with a lot of extra skin. As for a nonsurgical laser tightening procedure....well I am NOT a believer of this technology so buyers beware.  It sounds exciting but I do not believe that you will be satisfied with the results. If your issue is fat more than lose skin, then I would recommend that you 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 candidates are those that have minimal loose skin and stubborn fat. I hope this has helped.

Rady Rahban, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Tummy Tuck vs Laser

Good question, and the answer is that it depends.  Every body is unique in terms of skin excess/laxity, amount of fatty tissue, distribution of fatty tissue, stretch of the muscular abdominal wall, and remaining skin elasticity.  In the vast majority of cases, laser is not able to correct enough of the laxity to give an acceptable result.  That said, a body type like yours get amazing results from tummy tuck, and the scar can be made fairly short.  A tummy tuck will position your scar below your underwear/bikini line, and will remove all that excess skin and stretch marks.  I recommend a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon to evaluate and explain your options, and realistic expectations after surgery.  Best of luck!

Kyle Song, MD
Irvine Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Tummy Tuck versus Liposuction

Basically, liposuction is going to remove fatty tissue using very small incisions. You are then relying on the body to tighten the skin during the healing process, now that there is significantly less fatty tissue underneath it. That will happen to varying degrees depending on multiple factors including the quality of the skin, how much elasticity it has, the age of the patient, the amount the skin has been stretched, etc. SmartLipo, which is laser liposuction, can be used in conjunction with regular liposuction to try to get more skin tightening than what the body may be able to do on its own. This is pretty fascinating technology.

A tummy tuck includes surgically removing extra skin and fatty tissue, to more definitively shape the body. I often do this in combination with some form of liposuction, again, depending on the specific patient and situation. I almost always additionally tighten the stomach muscles themselves which makes a significant improvement in the shape of the abdomen.

When I meet with a patient in person I go over the various options so that we can mutually come up with a good body contouring plan.

Take care,
Dr. Howell

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.