I have 4 kids, which includes a set of twins. I now have a lot of excess skin, but I'm very afraid to do a Tummy Tuck. Do I have any other options?
Options to Avoid Tummy Tuck?
Doctor Answers 4
Alternates to Tummy Tuck
What I always say is that if you need one particular procedure and decide to do an alternate that is less invasive and is a smaller operation then you will get less results and ultimately by unhappy.
It sounds that you need a tummy tuck, not smart lipo, not laser lipo or any other of these gimmicks that other doctors advertise (usually non plastic surgeons). To effectively remove skin, it would need to be cut out, as done in a tummy tuck.
Make sure you see a board certified plastic surgeon for a consultation and he or she can discuss your concerns and fears.
Tummy Tuck Options
Tummy tuck alternatives
Unfortunately, for women who have had multiple children, tummy tuck is far and away the best solution. Multiple pregnancies can cause irreversible injury to the skin, causing it to lose its natural elastic recoil. Lesser invasive procedures, such as liposuction and it's many variants, which are geared toward removing fat, will often times result in more loose skin, as the skin is unable to compensate.
In addition, the abdominal wall muscles invariably loosen with multiple pregnancies. Many women complain that they're unable to suck in their tummy or that they have a bulge of the upper tummy. The only effective treatment for this is muscle plication, or sutures which tighten the abdominal wall. This is a standard part of tummy tuck, but is not possible with lesser invasive procedures.
Your best bet is to seek consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon who can examine you and speak to you about surgical options in greater detail. Best of luck!
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Other methods of getting rid of excess stomach skin.
I'm sorry to say that I do not know of any other methods for getting rid of "a lot" of excess skin besides a tummy tuck. You are in the same boat as most patients - everyone has a fear of surgery (or the scar) but the options are limited. There are a few less invasive modalities out there that can cause some tightening of the skin (such as fractionated lasers and radio frequency devices). The amount of tightening achievable with these devices is modest at best, and really is best applied to the face rather than the abdomen. The face has an incredibly robust blood supply, and can tolerate the injury produced by these devices well. It is the healing process that causes the tightening. When you use these devices on the abdomen, one has to be much more conservative in order to avoid burns or contour irregularities, so the results are more modest.
Since consumers all have an aversion to the scar, it is easy "sell" less invasive devices or procedures to them as a group - even if the device doesn't deliver what is promised. While you are trying to make up your mind, be sure to look for before and after results of the procedures you are interested in, and try to see if it is being applied to people who have the same stomach as you.
The gold standard for removing excess stomach skin is still the tummy tuck.