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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 (55)

Tummy Tuck Vs. Laser Skin Tightening

+5
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.


Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Laser Liposuction and Skin Tightening May Be An Option

+4

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.

Brooke R. Seckel, MD, FACS
Boston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 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 22 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 21 reviews

Decision on Skin Tightening or Tummy Tuck

+1
It is always best to see your plastic surgeon prior to determining which procedure is best for you.  The amount of stretch and elasticity of the skin will help decide which procedure will best suite your needs.  A tummy tuck also offers the opportunity for weakened abdominal muscles to be repaired and sutured.  There is new technology being offered with radio-frequency for skin tightening verses laser.  Again, a great conversation between you and your plastic surgeon.

David L. Robbins, MD, FACS
West Des Moines Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Abdominoplaty questions

+1
When evaluating an abdomen several factors must be examined
  1. Skin
  2. Subcutaneous fat
  3. Anterior abdominal wall laxity
  4. Intra-abdominal fat or visceral fat
If your skin has multiple stretch marks then liposuction may not be the best option. There are modifications of an abdominoplasty but in your particular case a standard abdominoplasty would be the best choice. This will flatten the abdominal bulge, contour the abdomen with liposuction of the trunk, flanks and posterior hips, and tighten the skin. The trade off is the scar. This is an individual decision for your to make after you weigh the risks and benefits. If you want to have a flat abdomen the trade off is the scar that can be hidden by your bathing suit or underwear. With proper planning the scar can be managed. Proactive scar care is vital to obtain an aesthetic result.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Surgery vs Laser for Abdominal Skin Tightening

+1
Laser techniques can result in some limited skin tightening.  More dramatic results require surgery, either a mini-tummy tuck if the looseness is only in the lower abdomen or a full tummy tuck if the problem is upper plus lower abdomen.  Every patient has their own unique anatomy and their needs will be considered during the consultation.

Susan D. Vasko, MD, FACS
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Laser Skin Tightening vs Tummy Tuck

+1
Laser or other energy modalities (radiofrequency, ultrasound) work by tightening the collagen bundles in the skin or thickening the deeper dermal layers of the skin by heat formation. Collagen tightening can have a limited affect on larger surface areas like the abdomen.  Few patients have a good result and the difficulty is trying to determine who responds best.  All women have skin tightening with a tummy tuck which can not be rivaled with lasers.  The trade off is a scar which can be concealed and fades with time.

Tummy Tuck vs. Laser skin tightening

+1
If you have excess skin and stretchmarks, currently there is not a laser device that will give adequate skin tightening for abdominal skin.  If your loose skin is below your belly button only, you may be a candidate for mini tummy tuck.  If the loose skin and stretchmarks are above the belly button, usually you will get a much better result with a full tummy tuck.  Tummy tuck surgery will also address realignment of your abdominal muscles that many times are stretched out from pregnancies and surgeries.  This can dramatically enhance your abdominal contour and reduce your waist.  

With out a consultation, it is impossible to tell you what would be best for you.  Consult with a board certified plastic surgeon for an expert opinion.

Trey Aquadro, M.D.
East Alabama Plastic Surgery
Auburn, AL

Ralph Trey Aquadro, MD
Auburn 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.