A tummy tuck or Thermage for stretched skin? (Photos)

I am 35 yrs old, with 2 children, and excersise regurlarly. I am unhappy with the stretched skin and marks on my tummy and couldn't wear a bikini. thermage was my first pick, but after reading so much bad reviews, I was thinking a mini tummy tuck is better for me, but I dont think my stretched skin is big enough to me to live with such a big scar. I am really confused now, witch treatment should I consider? Thank you verymuch!

Doctor Answers 10

Abdomen skin

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

Your muscles appear tight and flat and you do not have a tremendous amount of lose skin to warrant a full tummy tuck with its large scar and prolonged recovery.

Instead, I commonly perform Vaser ultrasound liposuction and/or smart Lipo for extra skill n tightening. In some cases, additional tightening may be needed months later - Thermi Tight RF can be performed if needed.

An exam and consultation with a plastic surgeon who performs these procedures is recommended to confirm you are a candidate as well as discuss your options and expectations.

Thermage Versus Abdominoplasty

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

Angeline - thanks for the great photos. They really help.

Your instincts are correct that Thermage, while a good tool in very specific circumstances, won't have the restorative power that you're looking for.

Some manner of skin excision will be needed to address the laxity and excess, it will also give access to the abdominal muscles to tighten them up in the midline. All of this will require a scar. That's not to be sniffed at but, a well planned scar, that heals nicely and his hidden low on the abdomen is often much preferred to the loose skin and stretch marks.

Exactly what type of scar (how long) will depend on a number of factors and exactly what type of procedure is felt to be best for you.

Bring all your concerns and goals with you to your consultation. An experienced, certified Plastic Surgeon will be able to distil everything down to what you need and your final decision should become more clear.

Take care and best of luck in your search.

Dr Nodwell

Trefor Nodwell, MD
Ottawa Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Tummy tuck or Thermage

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

I agree that you shouldn't waste your money on Thermage. A tummy tuck is the correct procedure.  You are in excellent shape and a procedure can be tailored to your specific needs, including the possibility of a smaller scar.  See a board certified plastic surgeon who can evaluate you in person.

Best wishes,

Dr Kraft

Tummytuck vs. Mini-Tummytuck

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

Angeline.   Physical exam is optimal, but your photos demonstrate redundant skin and diastasis of your abdominal muscles. I understand your reluctance regarding Thermage, definitely mixed results.  You are obviously fit, but in order to tighten the weakened muscle and remove redundant skin, Tummytuck is your best option, but it may be necessary to leave you with a small vertical scar inferiority to go along with the low horizontal scar because of your particular anatomy. Be sure to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon. Good Luck!

Robert M. Tornambe, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

A tummy tuck or Thermage for stretched skin?

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

I think that you will be disappointed with Thermage. Of course, a mini tummy tuck has the trade off of a low, well placed scar. Good luck!

You'd probably do best with surgery if you can handle the scar

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

The only risk you take with trying something like Thermage or Exilis is that you will lose the money you invested! Personally, I don't think either will make much of a difference. A mini tummy tuck won't help the lose skin above your belly button.  So, a full tummy tuck is best. You are trading skin for a scar. Most women can still rock a small bikini after a tummy tuck, but the scar is forever. Go see a few ASPS or ASAPS member plastic surgeons in your area and see what they say.  Good luck!

Robert S. Houser, DO
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Choice of Procedure

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

Skin tightening with Thermage or any other modality for external heat and skin tightening is unlikely to achieve the look you are going for.  You have three issues:  Modest to moderate loose skin, scars from stretch marks, and laxity of your abdominal muscle causing protrusion.

You best bet will be a tummy tuck to tighten the skin and tighten the muscles underneath.  The scars from the stretch marks can't be eradicated, but tightening the skin makes them look better. The scar of abdominoplasty needs to be a good trade for the deformity you have now.  If it isn't, you are not yet ready to have a tummy tuck.

It looks like you have achieved all you can (weight loss, muscle strenghthening) without surgery, so at this stage there are no other good alternatives for you besides surgery, unfortunately.  Some of the external modalities can give you modest improvement, however, if you are willing to settle for that.

All the best!

Deborah Ekstrom, MD
Worcester Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Tummy tuck

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

I do not think Thermage will achieve what you want. It looks like you have a lot of loose skin above and below your umbilicus.  You would probably do better with a tummy tuck but the trade off is the incision.  You would have to be evaluated in person. Best of luck.

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

What to do after two children!

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

Thank you for asking about your tummy tuck.

  • This will not be an easy answer -
  • Thermage will not do much for your stretch marks - it may help a little
  • Nothing except surgery will get rid of the marks because the deep layers of skin are damaged.
  • But - you did so well with your pregnancies - is surgery worth it for you?
  • A mini-tuck will remove very little skin. Not worth it, in my opinion.
  • But  the muscles really are stretched.
  • Sometimes when muscles are tightened, there is more loose skin than it appears.
  • I suggest you see a plastic surgeon to figure out exactly how loose your skin is - 
  • If your surgeon feels that with a reasonably low incision, the skin from belly button downward can be removed, then your best result will definitely be a standard tummy tuck.
  • Otherwise - don't have surgery - and have a skin shrinking treatment like Excilis or Theramage -.

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Full tummy tuck

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

From these photos, you seem to be a candidate for a tummy tuck. A full tummy tuck is the only thing that can address the skin laxity you have above the belly button. Definitely seek out a board certified plastic surgeon in your area with an expertise in Body Contouring Surgery for a consultation. Be sure to express your expectations and goals to the surgeon your choose. Good luck! 

Dean Vistnes, M.D.
Vistnes Plastic Surgery
San Francisco Bay Area

#realself #tummytuck #drdeanvistnes

M. Dean Vistnes, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 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.