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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 81

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 60 reviews

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

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.

Treatment of excess skin- Laser vs Tummy tuck

This is a difficult question to answer without pictures.
Non invasive skin tightening can help with loose skin, there are both radio frequency machines and laser machines. They work, but they require multiple treatments and occasional touch up treatments.
In your particular case, you may be an excellent candidate for a mini- tummy tuck. It would get rid of the hanging skin above your C-section scar and may give you the result that you desire.

Ryan Hoffman, MD
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Tummy Tuck or LASER Tightening?

One way to think about the differences between surgery and LASER when it comes to skin tightening, is to complare to tailoring:
   -a LASER is like an iron that takes out wrinkles;
   -surgery cuts out the extra material.
If you have a skin fold when standing straight up, there is skin excess.
If there is a fold only when you bend over, then you have a loss of elasticity, tone or snap in your skin, and no procedures or technologies truly restore elasticity. 
Tummy tuck or skin tightening procedures like LASER, ultrasound or radio-frequency (RF) might be helpful.
There is a bit of overlap among the procedures in a situation like the one you describe, so best to get a couple of opinions

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

It depends

Non-surgical skin tightening has very limited results. Laser is typically used for the face where healing is fast but will not replace a facelift for sagging skin.

For the abdomen and other body areas, radiofrequency treatments may provide very subtle skin tightening but do not replace a tummy tuck.

It sounds like you may benefit by a tummy tuck to tighten your loose skin and remove some of the stretch marks.

David J. Levens, MD
Coral Springs Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Tummy tuck versus laser tightening

the reason in my opinion the classic tummy tuck stood the test of time successfully against all the new non-surgical or surgical minimally invasive treatment like laser tightening is that no other procedure is as predictable and givens the same drastic amazing results like a tummy tuck. 

while many would benefit from adjunct treatments with the tummy tuck, those adjunct treatments never give the same results alone and in many areas unpredictable.

That's why in my opinion for the best outcomes in patients who would benefit from a tummy tuck, it remains my number one go to choice for my patients and haven't been disappointed with an of the results we get

D.r Fouda Neel

Omar Fouda Neel, MD
Montreal Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

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

Unfortunately I have been unimpressed with skin tightening devices of your abdomen so I generally do not recommend these "non-invasive" procedures to my patients. If you have skin excess or laxity you may benefit from either a mini tummy tuck or full tummy tuck operation to tighten the skin envelope over your abdomen. Find a board certified plastic surgeon in your area and go over the best options for you. Good Luck!

Jordan P. Farkas, MD
Paramus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 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.