How Do I Get Rid of Old Stretch Marks and Loose Skin on Stomach?

Is there any hope for old stretch marks yet? I am 40 years old and would love to find a machine that will get rid of them without going under the knife. They are located on my stomach from having two huge kids. There is also some excess skin from the kids stretching out my stomach. I work out every day and have a hard stomach but I cant get rid of the excess skin and the stretch marks. Yuck!

Doctor Answers 4

Stretch marks

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Stretch marks are the result of "stretching" of the deeper layers of skin, this stretching causes the undesirable marks that people don't appreciate. Because this marks are deep in the skin, they are hard to treat and remove. Any procedure will result on "some" improvement, but not complete elimination.

A tummy tuck will remove the entire area of skin, thus being the only solution for complete elimination of stretch  marks.

Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 113 reviews

Stretch Marks on tummy

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Unfortunately stretch marks cannot be removed by any non-surgical method. The only way they can be removed is through surgery. Stretch marks are caused because the skin is stretched beyond its capacity to recoil. Its like a rubber band that is over stretched and can never regain its original shortened length. Any laser that claims to tighten skin has not addressed the basic physiologic problem which is a dermis that is overstretched. The laser will however help the coloration but the stretch marks themselves will persist. You have to ask yourself if the goal is stretch mark removal or if its the discoloration that bothers you. Your best option is to have  tummy tuck. Any stretch marks above the umbilicus will likely not be removed. Visit with a plastic surgeon.

Tummy Tuck and Lasers

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For loose skin: While there are treatments out there for skin tightening (Thermage is one) that do not involve surgery, we do not offer them because the patient satisfaction rates are low (see 38% Thermage satisfaction rate on this site). In addition, patients we have spoken with that have had good Thermage results note that it does not last very long. With that said, we believe surgery is your best option for sagging abdominal skin.

For stretch marks: This is a more difficult questions as there are three different types of stretch marks

1) Hypogmented - the white ones

2) Hyperpigmented - the red or brown ones depending on your skin type

3) Textured

While we have had luck revising textured and colored stretch marks, the white variety are very difficult to treat. For colored stretch marks, we use a pulsed dye laser for red stretch marks and a q-switched 1064 yag laser for brown stretch marks. The texture can be treated with Erbium Glass (we use the Aramis), Erbium, Fractionated or even long pulsed yag lasers.

The results will depend on how old you are, how old the marks are and the lasers used. We've seen some grat results, but they are highly variable and our patients have very realistic expectations based on our consultations. We recommend treating them fairly soon after they occur as they are more difficult to revise the older they are.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Reducing stretch marks on the abdomen

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Old stretch marks can be reduced with three new lasers used in our practice.  These lasers can tighten stretch marks and reduce redness. 

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 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.