Thermage or Tummy Tuck After Weight Loss?

I am 30 years old, 5'2" tall and lost approx 65 lbs 5 years ago. I work out five times a week and eat healthy. I don't have children so I don't believe my abdominal walls need to be tightened.

I've been thinking about getting a Tummy Tuck for several years now but I'm concerned about the scar and pain. Thermage seems like a better option but I don't want to waste the $$ if it doesn't work. Please help!!

Doctor Answers 17

Leave your abdomen alone

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You don't need a tummy tuck for what you have and Thermage is a waste of money too. You have a tiny laxity around the belly button but no surgery is great for that without a full TT and that would be a crime to do on your abdomen. The weight loss might have hurt the elasticity but it is best to leave your abdomen alone IMO.

Thermage versus Abdominoplasty

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If you want to waste your time and money and achieve little to no effect, then go ahead and have the Thermage. From the picture that you show, you are not a great candidate for tummy tuck either. It looks like you may benefit from liposuction and possibly Smartlipo or laser liposuction. This procedure will remove the excess fat for fullness that is seen in your supper abdomen and tighten the skin slightly. It is hard to give you a complete answer from just seeing one picture. If your skin is looser than it appears in the photograph, then you may be a good candidate for abdominoplasty. If you do undergo the procedure, please do not let anyone talk you into a "mini" abdominoplasty, since this will have no effect on the loose skin that is above your belly button. Good luck with your sugery.

Be happy with your figure!

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It is not uncommon to want to restore all of your firmness and shape to your tummy. However, for your case it appears that the options available are worse than doing nothing at all. You do not have enough skin laxity or muscle damage to justify a tummy tuck. Why would you want to place a horizontal scar across your abdomen for only a small change in vertical tightness. As for Thermage, the only risk is that you will  not achieve much improvement with this treatment. There are a variety of devices on the market designed to tighten the skin without surgery. Thermage, Titan, SkinTyte, ReFirme and others to name a few are safe. However, none of these has proven to be superior or predictable for abdominal skin. In my practice a small segment of your skin around the umbilicus would be treated with ReFirme to see what changes are possible. For a small fee and a short trial, you could then decide if you want to have a larger area treated. This option may not be offered with Thermage as the device has an expensive and disposable tip that can not be re-used. Be smart and stay happy!

Dr. Mosher

Options for treating tummy

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I am pleased that my fellow colleagues share the same opinion of Thermage. I have not been impressed with the results of Thermage that I have had an opportunity to observe.

I am hesitant to recommend liposcution without an examination to assess your skin elasticity. Performing liposuction on lax skin following significant weight loss could result in aggravation of the laxity with an increased tendency for irregularities.

Thermage or Tummy Tuck After Weight Loss

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Congratulations on the weight loss. You do not appear to be a candidate for surgery. Thermage would most likely be ineffective while tummy tuck would be unwarranted.

Skin Shrinkage with MINIMAL Tummy Skin Looseness - Sciton SkinTyte

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If you do not have a significant muscle separation - diastasis (identifiable when you lean over and relax your tummy and on examining your abdomen), and do no have loose skin then a tummy tuck would not benefit you and you would not gain much in exchange for its scar.

On the other hand, I would encourage you to stay away from Thermage. I have yet to see a positive result from it.

On the other hand, you would get some skin shrinkage nonsurgicaly from Sciton's SKINTYTE BBL treatment. In this office technique, infrared light is pulsed through a hand piece into the deep skin (of the tummy in your case) which shrinks the collagen fibers while the skin surface is kept cool. This is painless and may need to be done several times. I would prefer this modality in your case over a laser liposuction since you have not fat that needs to be suctioned.

Dr. P. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Setting expectations for Thermage results

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First the usual disclaimer, which is that no one can give definitive advice without examining you. Having said that, it looks like your arms are raised in the picture, which would tend to make the abdomen look flatter than it might be with arms down or while seated. I agree with Dr. Rand though that a tummy tuck does not seem to be a sensible option based on what I see. I do use Thermage, and have presented the results of a clinical study we did showing that it tightens skin 45% more after liposuction than lipo alone.

We are learning also that results depend a lot on the pre-treatment quality of the skin. Since Thermage targets collagen, the less there is the poorer the results; age and pregnancy tend to deplete collagen, and stretch marks are an indication that it is diminished. Bottom line is that Thermage may still be your best option but you may have to adjust your expectations.

Tummy tuck or thermage

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Removing the loose skin on your stomach may be done with nonsurgical treatments but results are not predictable and may require several sessions. You can try it though but please be prepared if you don't see the results you want. 

Thermage can help your tummy if done properly

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Thank you for your question. You look great and have a very nice tummy. I do not think you should have tummy tuck surgery because the scarring would detract from your beautiful normal skin.

Nonsurgical skin tightening achieves about 20% of the tightening of a tummy tuck.

It is crucial that the person who does your nonsurgical skin tightening be very experienced and able to show you photographs of excellent results they have achieved

on their own patients.All too often an experienced operators do nonsurgical skin tightening, charge a lot of money, and do not get results because they do not use proper power settings. Please consult an expert

Evaluation of abdominal shape

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Your abdomen is relatively flat, and the only looseness is around the central umbilical area.  This type of laxity doesn't  improve with either SAL., thermage or abdominoplasty surgery.   Your shape may improve with just passage of time, diet restriction and exercise.


Good luck to you.


Frank Rieger M.D.  Tampa Plastic Surgeon 

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.