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 98

Laser Liposuction and Skin Tightening May Be An Option

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

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. 

Treatment of excess skin- Laser vs Tummy tuck

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.

Ryan Hoffman, MD
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Tummy tuck vs. laser

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

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 110 reviews

Tummy Tuck gives more substantial results

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.

Lasers for loose skin = losing proposition

Laser companies and the poor physicians who buy into them will have you believe that lasers can tighten skin.  The photographically flawed or intentionally misleading before and after pictures may may the physicians who buy the lasers or the patient considering treatment that the results are as good as surgery... Not even close!

When there is loose skin, one can typically pinch 2 or more inches of excess.  To expect a laser to volumetrically reduce the surface area of the skin is magical thinking.  Surgery is the only way to tighten the skin in a meaningful way.

I learned these lessons the hard way when in 2006 I bought the Thermage system.  Oprah called it "the non-surgical face lift" and our phone was ringing off the hook.  We bought the system for $65,000.  I used it on 10 patients with minimal results and stopped using it.  It sits in a closet now worth less than $500.  An expensive lesson but at least I can share it with you and my patients.  I blogged about this topic in the web reference in regards to Ultherapy.

All my best.

Tummy tuck vs. laser

Hi, thanks for your question.

It's difficult to assess you without a photo, but if you have skin that hangs on leaning forward, a tummy tuck is probably your best bet. While certain lasers can help with tightening skin, they have limited effect and can end up costing quite a bit of money. 

Best bet is to get a consult with a plastic surgeon and he/she can help guide your decision. 

All the best,

Dr. Blagg

Austin, TX

Surgery vs laser for skin excess postpartum

I would advocate for a surgical approach. Mini tummy tuck could take care of this, whether you have abdominal muscle laxity or not. A mini tummy tuck will remove skin excess between belly button and pubic region, and abdominal muscles/belly button hernias can be addressed as well. There will be a scar where a Csection scar usually occurs, but this will fade over time. The laser procedures avoid scars but sometimes lead to burning and irregular contours of the skin, or minimal to no result. Surgery will produce results.

Michele A. Shermak, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Tummy Looseness when Bending Over....How to Fix it

Hi and great question.

The problem that you are describing: a tummy flat when standing but loose when bending over, is from your tummy muscles being pushed away from each other when you were pregnant. Technically, it is a muscle diastasis repair. The best way to fix this problem is to bring the tummy muscle back together (aka a diastasis repair), this is a main part of the tummy tuck procedure. Therefore, at the same time flattening the tummy; you can get the excess skin removed. 

Stretch marks are a difficult thing to improve.  Hopefully, they are present in the area of skin that can be removed.  Otherwise, there is not really a great option.  All of the available options (liposuction & lasers) will improve but not fix the stretch marks.

I hope that helps.  Best of luck!

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.