Skin Tightening Treatment for Loose Skin After Liposuction?

After liposuction on my upper and lower abs, I now have loose skin on my upper abs that fold over my belly button. It's not a thin fold, almost a meaty 1 inch pinch-size fold; but the doctor said it's just skin now. He suggests skin tightening surgery now (similar to a tummy tuck). What procedure other than tummy tuck can I consider to tighten my skin? Any laser treatments? Please advise.

Doctor Answers 11

Tummy tuck is the answer

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

If you have thousands of dollars to spend on painful laser treatments and won't be disappointed if you don't get an noticeable improvement after undergoing those treatments, then it is reasonable to try. These techniques have little or no evidence to document their effectiveness in a situation like yours, and the hype behidn them is being driven by bottom-line minded ad executives hired by the companies that make the machines.

If you have too much skin on your stomach, it needs to be removed. Period.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Only surgery will help

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It sounds like this should have been discussed first. In the abdominal evaluation the surgeon must appreciate the skin to fat ratio and the tone of the skin. He must understand what the skin will do once the fat has been removed. Often a mini tummy tuck is needed in conjunction with abdominal liposuction to remove the excess skin created by the liposuction.

The fold you are describing may resolve by continued use of the garment if you're still not far out from surgery. If you are farther out than you may need a surgical option.

Most likely need abdominoplasty

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

You most likely need abdominoplasty.  There are skin tightening procedures, such as Smartlipo MPX which uses a laser to help tighten the skin, however, it sounds like you are beyond what that can achieve.  Good luck.

Seek consult for exam and recommendation.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
It’s virtually impossible to make a specific recommendation without pictures or a physical examination.Based on your history, it’s hard to imagine any scenario where you wouldn’t need a significant skin resection.This usually always requires some type of abdominoplasty procedure.

Under these circumstances, it’s appropriate to consult a Board-Certified plastic surgeon with experience in this area.This surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plan that addresses your anatomic findings and achieves your aesthetic goals.

Was skin tone discussed before lipo?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I am hearing a lot of questions like yours lately, thanks to the promotion of liposuction with lasers and other techniques that promise to tighten skin. With the amount of laxity you describe, it sounds like you should have had the tummy tuck instead of lipo, and I haven't seen anything that will tone it up enough short of doing the tummy tuck.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Skin tightening

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

After liposuction there is a percentage of patients that their skin does not retract adequately that require skin excision.  Skin tightening lasers may give about a 15-20% improvement in the skin.  If you have alot of loose skin, then you need excision.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

I am afraid you probably need surgery.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}


For small amounts of loose skin, we get good results with Thermage.  But from your description, you probably have too much loose skin for Thermage. There probably is no good alternative.  I think you need an abdominoplasty.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

We are still waiting for the magical treatment to tighten the body without surgery.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Dear BodyArt09

It is very reasonable to first have liposuction of the abdomen even in individuals who might eventually need a tummy tuck. The reason for this is that some individuals often get remarkable skin contraction and firming.

Further, liposuction, especially tumescent liposuction under local anesthesia, involves very little down time and minimal risk compared to tummy tuck surgery.

This approach is not right for everyone. Out of the gate some women need a tummy tuck. However, it is remarkable how effective the liposuction can be but it is not perfect.

Often times it comes down to motivation. For people beyond the prime bathing suit years (you know who you are) this is a very good compromise.

In your case, having that fold over the belly button does not sound so great. If there is a preexisting c-section scar, then considerations get a little easier because the tummy tuck typically involves extending the c-section scar.

In your case, your belly button will also need to be moved which means that you won't be wearing a bikini after surgery.

Unfortunately, we don't have any nonsurgical methods that will give you enough tightening to be satisfied with the results. If you are only recently out from liposuction, it is reasonable to wait 6 to 12 months before considering the tummy tuck.

The tummy tuck should be performed by a board certified general plastic surgeon or alternatively, a board certified general surgeon who has elected to specialize in cosmetic surgery.

Dr. Steinsapir

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Skin Tightening after Lipo

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The best choice is a tummy tuck. Really from what you are describing anything else would be a waste of money and time.

There are many laser and devices that claim to tighten the skin in a "non surgical" fashion, but in short they all fall short compared to surgery. In certain cases, like around the neck and jowls some of these devices may be an "alternative" to surgery but no a replacement.

Good luck.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Infrared/Radiofrequency skin tightening at high power properly used will tighten skin 20-30%

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Infrared (LuxIR Deep and Titan) and Radiofrequency (Thermage and Refirme) if used PROPERLY by well trained personnel at high power settings, will tighten skin about 20-30%. The problem is that very few people who offer these treatments (spas, etc.) really know how to use them. High power settings by a well trained professional must be used in the treatments. If done properly, you will see the results. These devices are best for very small or minimal amounts of loose skin after liposuction.

However, if you have a lot of loose sagging skin on your tummy, forget these devices--you need a tumy tuck for significant loose skin tightening.

Newer laser assisted liposuction (SlimLipo, Smartlipo, and Coolipo) do tighten skin about 25-35 % during the liposuction process. However these devices are surgical as the laser fiber has to be placed beneath the skin.

The best of both worlds is laser liposuction and a mini tummy tuck. See Before and After photos.

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.