Does Superficial Liposuction and Sub-dermal Tunneling Help Tighten the Skin?

One doctor says this procedure CAN help tighten the skin. Does CAN mean mayby, maybe not or most likely will?

Doctor Answers 11

Liposuction tightening skin

The simple answer is that liposuction, regardless of how the fat cells are removed, does not "tighten" skin. The goal is to remove the excess fat cells without decreasing the tone or making the skin sag which is quite realistic. The modalities you describe can give the illusion of tightened skin because of scar formation but this is not liposuction and if the scar tissue reaction isn't perfect, the problem, just like external scars, is not repairable. 

It's best to let liposuction do what it does reliably and safely and not ask it to do what it can't do. 

Boulder Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Subdermal skin tightening

I think subdermal superficial liposuction cannot reliably and reproducibly cause skin to tighten. I think the biggest downside is not the disappointing degree of skin tightening, but if you go into that superficial layer, you can induce scarring and then leave undulations or depressions in the skin.I would not recommend it.

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Superficial liposuction can be disastrous

It is important when performing liposuction that a buffer of subcutaneous fat is left in place to avoid leaving skin indentations which can be very difficult to treat.  There is no proof that any type of liposuction causes skin shrinkage and efforts to accomplish this may result in loss of blood supply to the skin and disastrous results.

James McMahan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Superficial SAL to tighten skin?

it will absolutely shrink skin, however the shrinkage is more often than not in the form of irregularities and grooves with dimpling and all sorts of weird results. a good candidate for SAL does not need anything special to shrink skin, it happens naturally and beautifully. good luck.

Rafael C. Cabrera, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Superficial Liposuction result and skin tightening may be limited

Points to remember with regards to superficial or laser liposuction;

  1. I would proceed with caution. I have seen some very bad results that were referred for correction. The correction is difficult and may not be very successful.
  2. The contour irregularity and scarring can happen if the technique is not performed carefully.
  3. The short answer is that It may OR may not work. It works only if the surgeon has great degree of experience and is very meticulous. The notion of shrinkage of the skin may be limited.
  4. The problem is that there is a great degree of risk if the technique is not done very carefully.
  5. If it is done for abdomen, a Tummy Tuck may be a good alternative.

Hope this is helpful.

Ali Sajjadian, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 197 reviews

Liposuction does not tighten skin but can help it retract

Depeding on the location of the fatty tissue that is removed, and the thickness of the skin, there are many patients who obtain significant retraction of the skin after liposuction. There is a healing process that occurs from the cannula that removes the fat, and your body produces collagen as a response to this healing. The collagen acts as a tissue glue and forms what we term, a fibrotic response. The skin then retracts backwards against its infrastrucutre over months after the surgery. This is not skin tightening and wrinkles do not improve from the surgery. If the surgery is too close to the epidermis, then there can be complications such as visible scarring and circulation changes that make blood vessels look more obvious. Subdermal liposuction, done by experienced surgeons, can help in neck liposuction but usually is avoided in other areas.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

It all depends

Superficial liposuction when performed with the right tools by the right surgeon is a very safe and effective technique, I personally like the Smartlipo MPX machine, during my professional career I had been able to try all the different types of liposuction and there is no question in my mind that I obtain the best results with the laser liposuction. I am able to perform superficial liposuction in the right patient, with better results.  There are more and more papers published showing some of the advantages of laser and ultrasound liposuction, however this technique will not give you the desire effect if you are not the right patient. I still do not understand how many surgeons talk bad about a procedure they never performed.

Something I had noticed in the cosmetic world in recent years is the significant number of non plastic surgeons performing and advertising cosmetic procedures witout the proper training, if your surgeon is promising too much probably you should get a second opinion. You will need to decide if your surgeon has the right credentials and the proper training, the only board in plastic surgery recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties is the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Good Luck

Victor M. Perez, MD, FACS
Kansas City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Superficial lipo is a set up for disaster

Subdermal lipo with or without laser or ultrasound or traditional technique is a formula for disaster.  I just saw two patients last week who came in after this with destroyed abdomens.  You can't fix the mess this causes.  Since it doesn't give more skin shrinkage and only adds risk, I'd stay away from someone who is promoting it.

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

Superficial liposuction and skin tightening

Liposuction is primarily aimed at removing fat deposits in areas where they are recalcitrant to diet and exercise. Skin elasticity allows it to shrink down around the smaller volume where fat was removed. When performed superficially, liposuction can lead to contour irregularities and formation of skin ridges, These may also be observed with subdermal tunneling. These procedures are best performed with great caution to avoid complications.

Olivia Hutchinson, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Skin Tightening Liposuction

Superficial Liposuction was advocated in the Mid and late 1990's By Dr. Marco Gasparotti to shrink skin. The thinking was that by irritating the deepest later of the skin the ensuing scarring process would shrink the overlying skin. Subsequent experience by many led to surface irregularities which caused the majority of surgeons to abandon this technique. Unfortunately, Liposuction is NOT a skin shrinking technique and to date NO scientific proof exists from an unbiased source that is NOT affiliated with one or more of the laser companies. It is hard to take a report seriously when these authors receive significant compensation from the companies they are reporting on. Dr. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 109 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.