Ask a doctor

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 (59)

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.

Boston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 30 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
4.5 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

You might also like...

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 23 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.

Steven H. Williams, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

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

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 125 reviews

Tummy tuck versus laser

A tummy tuck is extremely effective at eliminating loose skin and stretch marks following pregnancy.  Laser for the abdominal skin is not nearly as effective and may not help very much at all.  Discuss the options with a board certified plastic surgeon to understand if you are a good candidate for a tummy tuck.

David Stoker, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Laser lipo versus mini tummy tuck

We often see patients in our clinic who have a small amount of loose skin below their umbilicus or around their umbilicus.  Laser lipo claims to tighten skin,but the effect is really fairly minor not addressing the problem well.

Loose skin under the umbilicus has to be removed via a mini-tummy tuck which we always combine with liposuction around the belly button and sometimes the stubborn roll of fat just below the breasts.

Loose skin above the umbilicus above or encircling the belly button is more problematic. Often the only solution is a full tummy tuck which we hesitate to do sometimes if the scar would be elevated too high, the scar was of poor quality, or the incision would need a t-type closure.  If you have minimal loose skin, I would be careful with your selection of an abdominoplasty just to address loose skin around the umbilicus.

Pramit Malhotra, MD
Ann Arbor Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Tummy tuck or laser skin tightening for minimal loose skin afer pregnancy

This is a question that is best answered after a consultation with your plastic surgeon to assess the quality of your skin, presence of stretch marks, and amount of skin laxity. In addition to your loose skin, you may have a widening of your abdominal muscles (rectus diastasis) creating a lower abdominal "bulge". The repair of the muscles can only be done during a tummy tuck procedure. Laser tightening may be an option for "mild" skin laxity with minimal rectus diastasis. 

Robert Najera, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Decision on Skin Tightening or Tummy Tuck

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

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.