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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 88

Laser Liposuction and Skin Tightening May Be An Option


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

Thank you for your question.  While some of the non-surgical techniques, such as Ultherapy or Sciton, will offer a mild degree of skin tightening, the most dramatic effect will always be achieved with a surgical procedure. Tummy tuck - or possibly mini tummy tuck, if your problem is relatively minor - will serve to remove the excess skin (including many of the stretch marks), and tighten the stomach and waistline beautifully.  I'd recommend in-person consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon to determine the best option for you.

Joshua D. Zuckerman, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

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 9 reviews

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
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 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 or other forms of Liposuction are not a substitute but rather addresses a different problem than a TT. Liposuction is less invasive and quicker to recover from than a Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty). This is because liposuction only involves removing fat from beneath your skin. Your body will cause the overlying skin to contract only to the degree it is capable, often leaving redundant skin which can be unsightly. In other words, you need good elasticity to get a good result. So if you have some extra fat in your hips you would be a candidate for lipo.
A Tummy Tuck involves removing redundant skin and tightening the underlying muscles. Sometimes liposuction is combined as needed with a Tummy Tuck for the best possible result. Your photos suggest that you probably are a candidate for a Tummy Tuck. The question is whether the shape of your abdomen is affected by an excess of fat, skin, muscle separation or laxity, or some combination thereof. This can only be determined by examination, so go ahead and consult with a board certified plastic surgeon. Some of my patients elect to have liposuction first, and then opt for a Tummy Tuck if the results are not satisfying.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Tummy type versus noninvasive options

This is a very difficult question without seeing you.  Depending on the amount of skin that needs to be resected some minimally invasive options can help consisting of ultrasound versus radiofrequency.  This can give some certain skin tightening approximately 20-30%.  However more than this is required a surgical abdominoplasty with skin resection will likely be required

Skin Tightening After Pregnancy

A tummy tuck procedure will give you the most profound results to correct loose or sagging skin. The procedure removes excess skin and fat as well as tightens the abdominal muscles to create a flatter, more aesthetically pleasing midsection. There are countless laser treatments on the market promising to tightening loose skin but the results are minimal at best. To truly correct the problem of loose skin in the abdominal region a tummy tuck would be the most appropriate approach.

Scott Chapin, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

We need at least some pics to give you an answer

It is hard to answer this question without seeing at least photographs of your abdomen and even better seeing you in person for a consultation However genrally tummy tuck will give you more skin tigthening than laser lipo, thermage etc. The other option might be Coolsculpting - fat freezing
You should see experienced board certified plastic surgeon to discuss your options 

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

Thank you for your question!

An evaluation is necessary to be able to recommended the procedure the is going to give you the result you want, . 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.

Orlando Llorente, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 31 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.