Remove Excess Skin and Fat Inplace of Tummy Tuck?

After gaining almost 80 pounds during my pregnancy and giving birth to a 10 pound baby, I have stretch that have faded to white and loose skin around my belly button (the stretch marks around my belly button are actually slightly raised) my stomach hangs only slightly because i've been dieting and exercising but the wrinkling bothers me so bad!! I'm 24, 5'6, 165 pounds, size 9 in jeans (because of my stomach). I dont want muscle repair. just want the fat and wrinkles gone! avg. $$?

Doctor Answers 21

It is possible to get improvement without muscle repair

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I have to respectfully disagree with my colleagues. In my experience, you can get significant improvement with an operation that removes the fat and skin, without tightening the muscles. And more importantly, the recovery IS significantly shorter and easier when no muscle plication is done. Yes, the resulting belly will not be as flat or tight compared to a traditional tummy tuck, but the shorter recovery may be worth a small sacrifice in results.  I perform a non-muscle plciation procedure called Smooth Tuck that has shown great results in patients who are "too obese" for a tummy tuck, or are perfect tummy tuck candidates (like you) but desire a less invasive procedure with a more rapid return to work.  I understand why some surgeons "poo-poo" this approach, but my patients have been extremely happy and travel from all over the world to get this done.  Yes, your results will be better with a muscle plication, but that does not mean there are not acceptable alternative.

Skin Only Tummy Tuck

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You can have just the excess skin removed but tightening the muscle is helpful in allowing more lax skin to be removed in addition to flattening the tummy.  Also without muscle repair the tummy will remain pouchy.

Dr. ES

Full tummy tuck likely in your future...

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Pregnancy can result in dramatic changes in a women’s body.These changes are especially noticeable in the abdomen, where redundant saggy skin, weakened muscles, and stretch marks may occur.Your pictures suggest that you might benefit from a full abdominoplasty.
Abdominoplasty is performed by making a lower abdominal skin incision and lifting the skin and subcutaneous tissue to the level of the ribcage.This typically requires detaching the belly button which allows more skin to be removed.The muscles are then tightened, excess skin removed, and the belly button re-attached in proper position.
In rare cases, abdominoplasty can be performed without tightening the underlying abdominal muscles.When patients have tight underlying muscles, it’s not necessary to plicate them.It’s hard to understand why you’re opposed to this maneuver in this specific case.In most cases, plication adds significantly to the post-operative result.However, it’s important to realize that the procedure will still significantly improve abdominal aesthetics even without muscle plication.
The best results are obtained when correct analysis is performed and the best surgical option is applied.In most cases patients will require a full abdominoplasty.

Don't skip the muscle tightening in a tummy tuck

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The only way you will get a nice flat abdomen is to address all the causes of the bulge you have now.  This requires muscle tightening and skin and fat excision.  Don't skip this as you won't get as good a result.

Good full tummy tuck candidate

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Thank you for your question.  Your set of problems will likely be very effectively addressed with a full tummy tuck.  Simple removal of skin and fat excess, without abdominal plication, will leave you with an abdomen that remains somewhat protuberant, and a waistline that lacks ideal shape.  Plication (tightening) of the abdominal wall muscles and fascia will truly flatten your stomach and will tighten the waistline, giving an attractive "hourglass" shape if done correctly.  Forgoing an important step of the tummy tuck will not significantly reduce cost, and will likely produce a result with which neither you nor your surgeon is completely satisfied.

Treatment of abdomen

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Thanks for the photo!  In your case I think removing of the skin and fat can give a great result, but more than likely you will need a diastasis repair as well.

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

Tummy tuck

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It sounds like a tummy tuck would be a good procedure for you at this time; however, if you are planning to lose anymore than 20#, then wait.  The average cost (including OR and Anesthesia), without liposuction, is generally between $8,000 and $9,000 (depends on the length of surgery).

Shahin Javaheri, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Tummy Tuck Best Solution for Excess Skin

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Tummy tucks are generally the best solution for excess abdominal skin following pregnancies or massive weight loss.  Looking at your photos there are no other reasonable options to deal with the amount of excess skin that you have.  You could have the procedure without muscle repair but your result would definitely be better with the muscle repair.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Remove Excess Skin and Fat Inplace of Tummy Tuck?

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12 answers, 11 recommend some form of muscle tightening. Only 1 say it is OK to just remove fat & skin without muscle repair. So you need to consider the responses and decide if you want a 2/3's operation or the full correction. No matter what we, the experts, say it is your final decision. I agree you need muscle repair but would I only just remove the skin/fat? Yes. if you need to sign a release or pre operative informed consent saying you fully understand the limitations on results. Yes, healing time only slightly shorter as is the fee. Happy Holiday From MIAMI Dr. Darryl J. Blinski

Tummy Tuck and Muscle Tightening

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The tummy tuck helps with three problems on the abdomen after pregnancy. 

1) Loose Skin - Excess and loose skin are removed with a tummy tuck, there is no other way to get any significant tightening of the abdominal skin.

2) Excess Fat - The majority of excess fat on the abdomen is found below the belly button. When the lower abdominal skin is removed, this fat is taken away with it. Lateral fat (around the sides) can also be safely removed with liposuction at the same time as a tummy tuck.

3) Loose Muscles - Bulging of the entire abdominal wall is caused by muscle laxity. This allows the guts to fall forwards and make the belly look round.

In most cases all three need to be done for optimal results. Before ruling out muscle tightening, it would be best to see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in your area, and see what the risks and benefits will be for you.

I've included a link below that reviews many of the common questions about tummy tucks, and a video (part 1 of 3) about tummy tuck surgery.

Joseph Mele, MD
Walnut Creek Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 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.