Will SmartLipo or SlimLipo Help The Loose Skin On My Abdomen Post-Babies? (photo)

After having my kids, my stomach is left with loose skin and stretch marks, and is the only area on my body I just can't tone up. I know the ideal choice for me is a tummy tuck, however I just can't stand the thought of the scar. Although not as good, do you think I would see good results from either SmartLipo or SlimLipo? I am not looking for perfection, but would like my midsection to be tighter and smaller! My biggest fear is it creating MORE extra skin. Thanks! :)

Doctor Answers 10

Smartlipo Versus Abdominoplasty

Hello Megan,

It's a real dilema you are in: fear of a scar versus 'hating' your belly.  There is very little evidence in the literature that indicates laser lipolysis produces any clinically significant changes to the appearance of your skin compared to traditional liposuction.  There are two reasons why this is so.

The first has to do with the temperature required to denature or coagulate (shrink!) collagen, the most important molecule in your skin.  Although the number varies depending on the amount of time a heat source is applied, it is safe to say that this doesn't occur until the temperature is 65 degrees Celcius, or 150 degrees Farenheit.  Unfortunately, your skin will suffer third degree burns when skin temperatures go above of 46 to 50 degrees C, and the manufacturers of these devices caution not allowing skin temperatures above 42 degrees C. 

The second reason has to do with how much skin tightening (or shrinking) needs to occur before meaningful changes occur in the appearance of your belly and tightness of your skin.  Some prolific writers on the subject of laser lipolysis include Suzuki and DiBernardo, both plastic surgeons receiving money from the companies that make these devices.  Their studies indicate improved shrinkage of skin compared to traditional liposuction.  However, the amount of shrinkage they are referring to is on the order of millimeters.  A typical abdominoplasty takes out many inches to achieve a real (referred to as 'clinical') effect.

I was one of those surgeons given a laser lipolysis device too.  Syneron gave me a Lipolite 5 years ago, sent me to Toronto to be 'trained' and asked me to train other doctors.  Very quickly it was apparent that this device (and the technology in general) not only did not shrink skin well, it was very inefficient and irregular in its removal of fat too.  It was also apparent that devices like these are potentially dangerous and can cause serious burns leading to loss of skin.

You should visit a few surgeons that have a good reputation for abdominoplasty and are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and are members of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.  After seeing their results you can make up your mind if you can 'stomach' the scar, which in most people is very inconspicuous in time.  If you can't, you should learn to love your belly and not move forward with any procedure.

Best of luck!

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Liposuction Candidate?

Thank you for the question and pictures.

You should be congratulated on the appearance of your abdomen after having children.

Unfortunately, you are not a candidate for any form of liposuction surgery because you have lost skill elasticity with pregnancies. Good skin elasticity is an important  attribute  of the patient undergoing liposuction surgery.   After the liposuction procedure we are depending on the skin elasticity to allow the skin envelope to “shrink” to fit the reduced contour resulting from the liposuction procedure.

On the other hand, you should have a very nice result with tummy tuck surgery.

When the time is right, consider consultation with a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

Smart Lipo

You will need an examination  but based on your photo you should have an abdominoplasty. The loose skin does not tighten after ANY kind of liposuction and will most probably worsen.

Jacob Freiman, MD, FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 271 reviews

Will SmartLipo or SlimLipo Help The Loose Skin On My Abdomen Post-Babies? (photo)

After having done MANY Smart Lipos I recommend based upon only the posted photos you not consider any laser liposuction. I agree with other expert posters a min TT is better.

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 reviews

Loose skin of abdomen

Your concerns are common.  Once the skin has been stretched out from your pregnancies, it is very hard to get it to contract to where you were before the babies.

Generally the best option is a tummy tuck and the scar is not so bad because it can be easily hidden.  In women who are thin and just have extra skin it is a great operation and will allow them to wear a bathing suit with confidence.

Another option would be a mini-Tummy Tuck which usually removes enough skin when combined with liposuction to make a snug tummy.

Suresh Koneru, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Minimal skin tightening with laser lipo

There is no version of liposuction that produces enough skin tightening to subsitute for a tummy tuck, despite the claims being made. You may be a candidate for a mini-tummy tuck with what is called an "umbilical float" since you have a high belly button.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Lipos and loose skin

If you have loose skin before liposuction, you will probably have loose skin after liposuction. You may be a better candidate for a tummy tuck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Lipo instead of Skin Removal for the Tummy

Right now your fat layer is providing a little support for the extensively damaged skin. Liposuction of ANY type will reduce that support and give absolutely no improvement to the skin that has lost so much elasticity. There is no shortcut to good results. If you want the lower abdomen to have a better look it requires removal of the bad skin and resurfacing the lower abdomen by pulling down the good upper skin. It is best to delay the procedure until you are confident you will not have any more babies. You should get an extremely good youthful look with the surgery.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

No Smart lipo for you!

The worst thing you could do is Smartlipo or any other kind of lipo.  It will give you looser skin and you will look worse than what is there now.  Only a TT will help you so if the scar is unacceptable, the best plan is to do nothing and save the money and disapointent from a failed effort to tighten skin that can't be tightened.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Loose skin after pregnancy

I think you would be very disappointed with the results of any type of liposuction. I know you do not want a scar but some form of tummy tuck is the better way to go for you.  Best wishes.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 183 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.