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 100

Laser Liposuction and Skin Tightening May Be An Option


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
4.9 out of 5 stars 40 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.

Joshua D. Zuckerman, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

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 120 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.

Steven H. Williams, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Tummy Tuck Vs Laser Skin Tightening-No Comparison

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!

William Aiello, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

If It sounds too good to be true...

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.

Robert Steely, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

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.

Robert N. Severinac, MD
Fort Wayne Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Pics would be helpful

The effects of tummy tuck are predictable.  The effects of laser skin tightening are not.  Tummy tuck would be the clearly superior procedure in your case.

Ethan Philpott, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 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.