What are some realistic alternatives for tummy tucks? (photo)

After research and one friend getting a tummy tuck (way over the top for my needs), I realize it is an option that would be considered "going into surgery, when one only needs a bandaid." My stomach , after 2 children is still not worth being put to sleep and cut on - leaving a ridiculous scar, for so little results. With this being said, what legitimate non-invasive treatments are out there are available for people like me that have some damage, but not enough for major surgery?

Doctor Answers 12

Tummy tuck

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I agree that your tummy is not bad enough to justify a tummy tuck and the scar it involves. But noninvasive techniques simply don't work are will be a waste of money.  Sorry, but that's the unblemished truth.

No Tummy Tuck

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While the standard approach for this would be a tummy tuck, I agree with youthat it is a lot of surgery for a small problem. You may get some improvement from Ulthera treatments, which are non invasive skin tightening ultrasounds. It will probably not be as flat as you want, but you should get a nice improvement without surgery. Good Luck!


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Thank you for the question.

Unfortunately, for this protruded abdomen an abdominal muscle repair is necessary in order to achieve a flat stomach.

Dr. Campos

Alternative to tummy tuck depends entirely on the skill of the operator

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Thank you for your question and photo.  I agree with you that you do not need tummy tuck surgery.  Most nonsurgical tummy tuck alternatives do not work because improper power settings are used and the operators do not have enough experience to achieve an optimal result. 

Nonsurgical skin tightening can work If performed by a very experienced operator using maximum power settings.  Understand that multiple sessions are required.

What are some realistic alternatives for tummy tucks?

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There are no realistic comparable alternatives to a tummy tuck. Patients with minimal laxity of skin may, however, get a mild benefit from skin tightening procedures like Exilis, a radiofrequency technology that is non-invasive. It may require more than 1 treatment session and you need to be very realistic about your expectations. Non-invasive treatments will not tighten significant laxity, remove stretch marks, or repair separated abdominal wall muscular that can result from pregnancy.

Keep in mind that following the advice from a surgeon on this or any other website who proposes to tell you what to do based on two dimensional photos without examining you, physically feeling the tissue, assessing your desired outcome, taking a full medical history, and discussing the pros and cons of each operative procedure would not be in your best interest. I would suggest you find a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and ideally a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) that you trust and are comfortable with. You should discuss your concerns with that surgeon in person.

Robert Singer, MD FACS

La Jolla, California

Non-Invasive Tummy Tuck Options

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From your photo, you have only mild excess of the upper abdominal skin. Clearly not worth a tummy tuck scar. However, newer technologies have shown promise in heating the tissues with radio frequency energy to help tighten both the skin and underlying tissues. Thermi RF is a newer technology that has shown the ability to help in mild cases like yours with no incisions and a probe the size of a pencil lead. Contact a plastic surgeon in your area who has the device to see about an in-person consultation. 

Best of luck, Vincent Marin, MD

San Diego Plastic Surgeon

Noninvasive tummy tucks

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If your expectations are very, very low, you might be happy with the minimally invasive treatments for the abdomen.

A phenomenon that is just coming on the radar, minimally invasive treatments (microwave, radio frequency) can dissolve the subcutaneous fat.  While this might seem appealing, unevenness is not.  So be careful about treatments that 'can't do harm'...  

I don't buy the logic that 'do minimally invasive treatments because you're not ready for surgery'.

Minimally invasive treatments do not tighten skin significantly, do not fix hernias (like the one you have), do not fix diastasis recti (separation of muscles).

We do offer minimally invasive treatment such as radio frequency treatments, but would never tell patients they are an alternative to a tummy tuck.

Because they are not.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 188 reviews

Non-invasive "tummy tuck" treatments nor worth the money

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Dear Gems,

If you are not ready for a tummy tuck procedure of some type I would wait and pursue and non-invasive treatments as they are not good use of money based on current technology.  When there is not an ideal choice for you it is more than ok to wait and perhaps a better choice becomes available later on.  On the other hand, a well performed tummy tuck can provide an excellent result with scarring that is well concealed and of good quality.

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 170 reviews

What are some realistic alternatives for tummy tucks?

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The majority of changes that occur during childbirth are not reversible utilizing modalities other than tummy tuck surgery. In other words, “noninvasive" modalities will likely waste your time/resources.  Sometimes, best to “leave well enough alone”. Best wishes.

There is no nonsurgical way to tighten the skin.

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One option is to leave your abdomen alone. In abdominoplasty would leave a nice result at the expense of the incision you mention. I would not waste money on any skin tightening technology.

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.