Will A Conservative Plastic Surgeon Get Rid Of My Stretch Marks w/ TT?

I am due to have a full tummy tuck in 3 three weeks. I had my pre op today and my ps advised he is conservative when pulling the skin down. I have stretch marks from my naval downwards and was expecting most of them to go but when he pointed out where the incisions were going to be i was a little disappointed. I am worried I will be left with a saggy belly full of nasty stretch marks. Can I ask him not to be conservative and pull as much skin as possible? Thanks

Doctor Answers 17

How to remove the maximum amount of stretch marks in tummy tuck

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The answer to this  question depends on the individual patient's anatomy.

If the stretch marks are 100 % below the level of the umbilicus you can count on them being gone, provided there is enough laxity to move the skin from just above umbilicus all the way down to the pubic area. This requires about 8-9 cm of laxity with skin pinch of the skin above the umbilicus. This can be determined pre-op in most cases and allow a fair degree of confidence that all the skin below the umbilicus can be removed.

Stretch marks that are more than a cm or so higher than the umbilicus, or above a line drawn from the umbilicus to the prominent boney point of your lateral abdomen in the waistline called the anterior superior iliac spine will not be removed.

Stretching out this skin makes all the remaining stretch marks look better.

We then treat the remaining stretch marks with 4-6 treatments with the Palomar Lux 1540 erbium laser for further improvement in the appearance of the stretch marks.

Mountain View Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Stretch marks and tummy tuck

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You should absolutely discuss all of your concerns about the technique, the procedure, and the expected outcome with your plastic surgeon.  You must understand the expected result, and your plastic surgeon must understand your needs and expectations so he or she can plan the procedure to best accomplish the outcome you desire.  Make another pre-operative appointment if necessary.

Steve Laverson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Stretch mark removal with tummy tuck surgery.

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Stretch marks below the belly button should be removed with tummy tuck surgery.  There are limitarions with any surgery and you should really have a conversation with your surgeon and feel comfortable with his/her ability and experience with this type of abdominal surgery.    Safety is always the first priority and I communicate that with patients  during our  first visit.  Best wishes.

Concerns about adequated removal of stretch marks in a tummy tuck

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A tummy tuck can only remove stretch marks contained within the skin that is to be removed and no more. However, those stretch marks that remain will appear less apparent as they will be somewhat flattened out by the transmitted tightening of the skin.

Being a "conservative" plastic surgeon has nothing really to do with removal of stretch marks. It does have a lot to do with safety and prudence which is very important particularly for your healing, results and level of risks.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Conservative or not, not all stretch marks can go

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Only stretch marks that are within the tummy tuck pattern, roughly from the belly button to the pubis, are going to be removed during the procedure. You should feel free to discuss your concerns of being tight enough, as surgeons will listen and adjust to your goals and expectations. Conservative to a surgeon means consistent, safe, very good results. Remember, when we 'swing for the fence' we often strike out.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Stretch mark removal with tummy tuck

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As other people have written, in most "average" patients, it is possible to remove the stretch marks below the belly button - but without photos it is hard to give you specific advice.  It sounds like you might want to have another discussion with your surgeon before the day of surgery.  If you are not comfortable or think that there is another option to achieve your goals, you can always consult with another qualified surgeon for a recommendation.   However, remember that as surgeons, our goals should be safety first - meaning that stretching tissue or closing incisions that are too tight can have devastating consequences.  At the end of the day, you are trusting the surgeon you choose to do what he or she thinks is the best in terms of balancing safety and results, and you should not have to make this decision.

Tummy tucks and stretch marks

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In a word, tummy tuck is really the only proven way to "get rid of" stretch marks.

The real question is how much abnormal skin will still be left.  Stretch marks, or "striae," are really the visible signs of rupture or fracture of the skin's elastic and collagen fibers under stretching and deforming forces like pregnancy and weight gain.  Thus, there is an irreversible physical and mechanical change to the skin.  I tell my patients it's like an elastic waistband that has been "sprung," and thus it is loose and floppy and has no tone.  Unfortunately there are no creams, potions, lasers, heat treatments, or other methods that have been successful in ridding us of ugly stretch marks and loose skin.  We are left with simply removal of the damaged skin as the most effective means of getting rid of stretch marks.

So, to address the question of whether a "conservative surgeon" will get rid of stretch marks, I would simply say, it is really up to the design of the incision, ie, the location, and the skill of the surgeon in tailoring the skin, and the amount of movement that your skin has.  The one thing you ABSOLUTELY do not want is a surgeon who will pull the skin so tightly that you damage its blood supply and lose parts of your skin or wind up with wide, thick scars that are very visible.  Most surgeons skilled and experienced with tummy tuck should be able to show you where the resultant scar will be and how much of the skin they think can realistically be removed, and thus you should have a good idea of how much abnormal skin or stretch marks will be left behind.  Typically, those stretch marks that are left behind are positioned lower than they were before, and they are usually "stretched smoother," so they may not be quite as noticeable.  Sometimes a surgeon is overly cautious, and while he or she may avoid complications, you also may not get the best result.  Thus, like most things, there is a "window" where you want to be - aggressive enough to get maximal benefit, but not so cavalier or overly aggressive such that you create problems.

I hope this helps, and I wish you luck on your procedure!

Dr. G

Joseph L. Grzeskiewicz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

MAY possilbly remove strech marks

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If the stretch marks are below the belly button they will most likly be removed; as you go out towards the flank it tapers.  Your plastic surgeon should be able to give you a good indication.

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Stretch marks and tummy tuck

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The abdominoplasty removes all the skin from the belly button to the pubic hairline. From your description it sounds as if all your stretch marks will be removed. I will tell you stretch marks which are above the belly button are relocated and the tighter skin improves the appearance of them as well.

Your plastic surgeon is educating you on what is possible and reasonable. Removing too much skin will create healng problems and wide scarring.

If you are having reservations or concerns about your upcoming surgery seek out a board certified plastic surgeon for a second opinion.

Robert W. Kessler, MD, FACS
Corona Del Mar Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 130 reviews

Stretch Marks with Tummy Tuck

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Most full abdominoplasty patients will have all of the central stretch marks removed from just above the umbilicus to just above the pubis.  But this can only be done if you have enouch skin laxity to be able to pull the wound closed.  I do not think you should be asking your plastic surgeon to do something that he or she is uncomfortable with.  Assuming you are see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon you should allow them to do the best surgery that they can.  It is always a good idea to get a 2nd opinion however just make sure it is with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

Gary Hall,MD

Gary Hall, MD (retired)
Kansas City Plastic Surgeon

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.