What Are the Non-surgical Alternatives to a Tummy Tuck?

What non-surgical options to reduce fat and loose skin on the stomach for someone has been 30-40 pounds overweight for 15 years. How effective are these options?, Which is the least invasive?

Doctor Answers 20

Alternatives to tummy tuck

Thank you for your question. Generally creams and exercise do not remove loose skin. Non-surgical modalities are available, however, they are not very effective since they do not remove loose skin and only provide some tightening.  Most often, patients need skin removal after significant weight loss or pregnancy. Best of luck. Dr. Michael Omidi.

An in-person exam with a board-certified plastic surgeon is the best way to assess your needs and provide true medical advice.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Non-Surgical Alternatives Have Limitations

It’s not unusual for patients to have significant changes in their bodies when they’ve been 30-40 pounds overweight for a prolonged period of time. These changes are especially noticeable in the abdomen where they can cause fat accumulation, redundant sagging skin, weakened stretched abdominal muscles and stretch marks.Unfortunately it’s impossible to treat changes of this magnitude without performing an abdominoplasty.
Although Zerona, Lasers, Coolsculpting and Thermage can all be used to treat minor contour irregularities, they all have significant limitations.For these reasons, patients who have significant contour irregularities should consult a board certified plastic surgeon. This surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plan that addresses their anatomic findings and aesthetic goals. In the majority of cases, this will require an abdominoplasty.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

??Tummy Tuck Alternatives

There are no true alternatives to tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) because part of the procedure includes tightening the weakened abdominal wall giving a flat belly.  This can only be accomplished with an abdominoplasty procedure.

Craig Mezrow, MS, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

There Are No Non-Surgical Substitutes For A Tummy Tuck

Nothing sells better than hope and that is exactly what you would be getting with any non-surgical alternative to a tummy tuck or even abdominal liposuction. It is one thing if one has a little extra fat but otherwise has reasonable skin tone and no really significant skin looseness, then a non-surgical approach may be able to influence some mild amount of fat loss. But at 30 to 40lbs overweight and likely with ssome skin rolls, there is no substitute for a surgical approach. Anything less will be a waste of money.

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Non-surgical Alternatives to a Tummy Tuck

To remove excess skin/adipose tissue, abdominoplasty is the best options. Some of the current modalities such as thermage, Exilis, or Zerona can provide minimal skin tightening benefits and subtle reduction of fat, but can not tackle the objectives of a patient seeking a tummy tuck.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Nonsurgical Alternatives To Tummy Tuck Very Limited

It is my opinion that there are no satisfactory alternatives to tummy tuck when there is excess skin which are nonsurgical.  A mini tummy tuck can sometimes be of use in certain cases, but this too obviously involves surgery.  When there are small areas of excess fat and little or no skin excess, liposuction may be beneficial.  Liposuction is not, however, a treatment for obesity and cannot substitute for diet, exercise, etc.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Loose skin will require a tummy tuck

There are no non-surgical options to address loose skin and stretch marks. If have great skin tone and excess fat you may be a candidate for liposuction alone. A board certified plastic surgeon can examine you and determine which procedure is best for your particular anatomy.

Best wishes,


William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 377 reviews

Non-Invasive Options versus A Tummy Tuck

Without a photo to refer to, it is hard to determine the amount of loose skin that you are desiring to treat however from your description, it would appear that the best option is weight loss followed by an abdominoplasty(tummy tuck).  With the amount of loose skin you are describing, there is no good non-invasive treatment that can reduced your skin significantly.  Yes, there are many companies and non-surgeons who will try to convince you that you can have the results of a tummy tuck without the surgery but that is simply not the situation.  The results all of these devices achieve are minimal and their costs are not.  Your best option is to obtain a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon who can help you better understand your options and the risks and benefits of each option.  Good luck.

Herluf G. Lund, Jr, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 83 reviews

Non invasive tummy tuck options

I have done extensive research on non surgical technologies over the last 25 years and work with them all the time. I have been on the Scientific Advisory Board for Thermage and Ulthera and have both in my office currently. We also have Exilis which is a radiofrequency device that is currently under investigation for the reduction of fat and the tightening of skin. 

Two technologies for non invasive fat removal are Zerona and Zeltiq, with the latter being my choice in a landslide. 

All of these technologies can have a small to modest effect in patients. We use it in patients who absolutely refuse surgery or are not surgical candidates. It can be effective for subtle looseness but remains somewhat unpredictable. 

That being said, I agree with my surgical colleagues that none of these non surgical options come close to the quality result you can get with surgery. 

Jay Burns, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

No options beside tummy tuck to remove extra skin

You have extra skin because of stretched out skin. No body likes to go through surgery , but the reality is that non-invasive procedures do not work.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 122 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.