Liposuction and Stretch Marks

I am 34 years old with two children. I am 5'4" and weigh 140 pounds. I had an umblical hernia repair with mesh 4 years ago after my second child was born. I have this pooch that will not go away with any amount of exercise, dieting, healthy eating, etc. As you can see, I do have stretch marks on my abdomen. I do not want to have a tummy tuck but I would certainly like to have a procedure that will get rid of the fat in that localized area and also tighten the skin. Is that feasible without a tummy tuck?

Doctor Answers 17

No lipo for you

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There is NOTHING but a full tummy tuck that will work for you.  Do not be fooled by those places and people who will try to tell you that your skin will shrink after laser lipo and that you don't need a TT.  You can take out fat but the skin will be looser from lipo.  Just in the past few days I have answered more than a few questions on RS about getting tummy tucks after laser lipo didn't tighten the skin the way they had hoped.  Don't make the same mistake.  Either do nothing or do a tummy tuck with an excellent plastic surgeon.

Liposuction will leave you with looser skin

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Liposuction can definitely get rid of the fat in your midsection, however it will make your loose skin more apparent, which would hide your results. You already have loose skin, and unfortunately not even methods of liposuction that can achieve some tightening of the overlying skin (such as ultrasonic assisted) will be sufficient. A tummy tuck would probably be the most effective solution for you. However, please see an experienced board certified plastic surgeon for a physical examination to determine the most suitable treatment.

Stretch marks, liposuction, and tummy tucks

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Liposuction, properly done, only removes excess fat cells down to the minimum normal amount for a given area. It does nothing good or bad to the skin including skin tone, stretch marks, scars, or tattoos. Therefore liposuction can no achieve a particular desired shape or contour and it does not tighten the skin. 

Tucks basically reposition the skin and remove excess skin and give the illusion of tightening but don't actually tighten the skin or solve stretch marks unless they are in the skin that was removed. 

Contours and bulges in the abdomen have to be carefully evaluated to see if they come from inside, from the abdominal wall, from the fat layer, or from the skin or from some combination. Correction depends on the ability to alter the cause of the contour or bulge. Liposuction only works on the fat layer and tucks generally are used on the abdominal wall and skin level. 

Scott L. Replogle, MD
Boulder Plastic Surgeon

Liposuction vs abdominoplasty

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Liposuction will remove the fat but there is no liposuction devise that will tighten the skin in a significant way (despite the marketing claims). Based on your pictures, a tummy tuck may be the better option.

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Tummy tuck is the way to go

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Looking at your pictures, you like like a great candidate for an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck).  That would remove the redundant skin, the "pooch" by tightening the abdomen and give you a much improved sculpted look.  Liposuction would leave all of that redundant skin, the abdominal wall laxity would not be treated and you might feel dissatisfied.

Jennifer Keagle, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

Tummy Tuck only

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After looking at your pictures, the answer to your question is in a word, "No!" Bite the bullet and have the tummy tuck if you want a good result. Anything less is a waste of your time and money.

George Sanders, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Tummy tuck is best treatment for loose skin and stretch marks

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Based on your photos, I would recommend a tummy tuck to give you the best outcome.  Liposuction will not address the excess skin and the weakness of your abdominal wall.  In fact, liposuction could end up worsening your situation by leaving you with an irregular contour to your abdomen.

Please consult with a board certified plastic surgeon prior to having any type of cosmetic abdominal surgery.

Best wishes,

Dr. Bruno

William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 412 reviews

Tummy tuck for contour change instead of liposuction of the abdomen

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your photos demonstrate a deeper contour change than what liposuction can improve. You should see a board-certified plastic surgeon for a consultation to see what risks and benefits are involved with a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty). Do not waste your money with only liposuction.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Liposuction results

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Thank you for sharing your pictures.  I believe your home run result will be with a tummy tuck.  Yes, you will have a scar within the bikini line, but you will have defined contours of the abdominal skin, fat, and musculature.   LIposuction can only reliably treat fat, not skin or muscle laxity.  

If you consider liposuction, I would recommend a detailed physical exam by a board certified plastic surgeon to ensure that you do not have any hernia formation, as this would be a relative contraindication to liposuction.   I would then recommend ultrasonic liposuction of the abdomen, because I see a fair amount of skin tightening compared to traditional lipo.  

I wish you a safe and happy recovery.

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Liposuction can increase visible stretch marks

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Once the elasticity is lost in the abdominal skin and stretch marks are evident, liposuction can offer contouring, however it is likely that as fat is removed the stretchmarks may become even more visible. Liposuction of any kind (or claim) has little skin tightening effect if elasticity is lost. Also if your abdominal muscle is separated from pregnancy liposuction is unlikely to flatten your stomach. From your photos stretch marks abound and the belly button is bit of a mess. If abdominoplasty is not for you so be it, though liposuction will not reach your goals.

Best of luck,


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