Tummy Tuck Vs Laser Skin Tightening for Minimal Loose Skin After Pregnancy

I've had three children via C-section, and a hysterectomy. I am 5'2 and 112 pounds and exercise a few times a week. Although my stomach looks flat when I am standing up, I have skin that hangs down when I bend over, with a few stretch marks that make it look gross. Would laser skin tightening be effective, or would I need a Tummy Tuck to correct this?

Doctor Answers 102

Laser Liposuction and Skin Tightening May Be An Option

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kygirl,

I agree with most of what the above doctors have said.

However, my experience with the new SlimLipo laser liposuction on the tummy has been very positive-see before and after pictures of mini tummy tuck and laser liposuction.

The laser liposcution enabled me to remove fat and tughten skin of the abdomen above the area of skin removal by the mini tummy tuck.

The laser liposuction alone has also created some dramatic results for me in the 70 year old patient pictured here.

If you have a separated tummy muscle, called a diastasis recti, or a hernia you will have to have the surgery.

If you are fit and have minor tummy fat and loose skin, as you suggest by the fact that you only see laxity when bending over, then the laser liposuction method may be all that you need.

The problem for you is finding a board certified plastic surgeon who uses this new technique which is not widely available yet.

DO NOT risk going to a medspa or doctor who is not certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

ThermiTight might Help

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A LOT of skin excess requires a tummy tuck, but just a little excess skin can be tightened with ThermiTight, especially in a thin person. 

Luke J. Curtsinger, MD
Savannah Plastic Surgeon

Treatment of excess skin- Laser vs Tummy tuck

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This is a difficult question to answer without pictures.
Non invasive skin tightening can help with loose skin, there are both radio frequency machines and laser machines. They work, but they require multiple treatments and occasional touch up treatments.
In your particular case, you may be an excellent candidate for a mini- tummy tuck. It would get rid of the hanging skin above your C-section scar and may give you the result that you desire.

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Tummy tuck vs. laser

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Thank you for your question.  While some of the non-surgical techniques, such as Ultherapy or Sciton, will offer a mild degree of skin tightening, the most dramatic effect will always be achieved with a surgical procedure. Tummy tuck - or possibly mini tummy tuck, if your problem is relatively minor - will serve to remove the excess skin (including many of the stretch marks), and tighten the stomach and waistline beautifully.  I'd recommend in-person consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon to determine the best option for you.

Tummy Tuck Vs. Laser Skin Tightening

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In my plastic surgery practice, we have a fully integrated medical spa including lasers for skin tightening. The results of laser skin tightening can be quite dramatic on the right patient. The areas that respond best are face, neck and upper arms. We have had patients experience great success with skin tightening of the knees and a few have even had great results with skin tightening of the tummy.
Having said that, laser skin tightening can be VERY unpredictable, particularly with regard to skin of the body. There are very few situations where we would even consider performing laser skin tightening of the abdomen.
If a patient has stretch marks, that generally means the skin has been compromised and will very like NOT respond to laser skin tightening. If there is significant redundant skin we would not attempt laser skin tightening of the face or body.
So, even in a practice with several patients who have experienced great results with laser skin tightening of the abdomen, I feel that this will be effective in a very small percentage of patients we see, and even the patient who might be a good candidate we are careful not to over promise what laser skin tightening can deliver in the abdomen.
For anyone considering laser skin tightening ot laser skin rejuvenation, seek this treatment from a board certified plastic surgeon who has more than option to offer you for whatever your concern. As they say, 'If your only tool os a hammer, then the whole world is a nail'. In almost all cases of excess skin in the abdomen, a tummy tuck is the best procedure.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Tummy Tuck gives more substantial results

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Skin tightening technology based on laser or liposuction techniques (laser lipo, ultrasound or regular lipo) may make small differences in skin tightening. They have the advantage of being quick with minimal downtime in comparison to surgery. There is significant marketing pressure from the manufactures of many of these laser technologies so you have to sort through some of that.

Abdominoplasty on the other hand can make a significant difference in your abdominal contour by addressing significant amounts of excess skin as well as tightening your core abdominal muscles. The trade-off is requiring a general anesthetic and having a significant scar.

Typically patients with significant excess skin require an abdominoplasty.

I hope this helps.

Tummy tuck vs. mini vs. laser treatment to tighten abdomen after pregnancy

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This is one of the most common questions we receive in our office. Who wouldn’t want a “mini” operation instead of a “full” one if given the choice, right?

However, things are not that simple when evaluating a patient for a mini-abdominoplasty vs. a traditional, full abdominoplasty. The major difference between the two approaches is that the mini-abdominoplasty does not usually include an incision around the belly button, and is typically a somewhat shorter scar. This operation is appropriate for only select patients who have minimal upper abdominal looseness and excess fat, and whose main problem is some loose skin in the lower abdomen. The mini-tummy tuck does not usually include full correction of looseness of the muscle since the belly button is not freed up to allow access to the upper abdomen. In our experience, the best candidate for a mini-tummy tuck is a thin, athletic bodied woman with a small amount of extra skin above the pubic area after pregnancy or weight loss. Patients with more medium or heavyset builds are much better candidates for a full abdominoplasty, especially if they have had multiple children.

Many surgeons try to limit the length of a tummy tuck scar by gathering it in from each end, but in our experience, this can lead to a “pleating” or wrinkled look to the scar, which we do not think is as aesthetic as a nice, smooth scar. The decision on how long to make the incision and whether to include liposuction and muscle tightening is made after a careful examination on consultation with the plastic surgeon.

Usually if the skin really hangs down when the waist is bent or if there is enough overhang that you could put your underwear to be in the crease or pull it over the overhanging part, then a true tummy tuck is indicated. 

I don't believe lasers/skin tightening devices can really manage a lot of extra skin. At best they may be good adjuncts to liposuction for patients who are not yet candidates for a tummy tuck.

Abdominoplasty would give you the best result

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Skin tightening procedures such as radiofrequecy, do a nice job tightening skin in areas were the skin is not stretched out by pregnancies or weight gain.  Arms, thighs, backs and necks tighten well.  Stretched abdominal skin, as you are describing, is best treated with abdominoplasty for a smooth, flat abdomen.  In addition to skin removal, muscles are tightened as well.

Marisa Lawrence, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon

Tummy Tuck Vs Laser Skin Tightening-No Comparison

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Hi kygurl, I would need to see photos to be sure, but I can say pretty confidently that after 3 children with your small stature, a series of laser treatments is not going to yield the results you would need or want. I understand patients are always hopeful they will require a very minimal procedure, psychologically this is easier to handle, however, the majority of patients I see require an abdominoplasty to achieve the results they are want. It’s important to be realistic with yourself, your body, and your outcome expectations. Nonsurgical procedures are great options for certain cases, but they are not effective at producing maximum outcomes. It would be a costly route, but one thing you can always do is start with laser treatments, if you don't see enough change, you can then opt for surgical intervention. Good luck!

If It sounds too good to be true...

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Good morning!

Noninvasive skin tightening has shown some success in patients with a minimal amount of laxity.  If you have enough laxity and stria that your skin is hanging when you bend over I doubt you will see enough of a result to make you happy.  As I tell my patients almost daily- if a  noninvasive treatment could duplicate a surgical result, i would have four of them running in the back of the office  and I would be out playing golf...

I would consult with a board certified plastic surgeon to see if an abdominoplasty is right for you.

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