Getting Rid of Loose Skin Without Muscle Tightening

I have lost weight and now have loose skin on my belly. I am trying to find out the best way to get rid of this.

I thought that tummy tucks were for getting rid of loose skin, but then I heard that tummy tucks also tighten muscle. I want the least invasive procedure possible and would therefore rather not have my muscles operated on. Is this possible?

Can anyone recommend a certain type of procedure that is good for loose skin?

Doctor Answers 20

Skin only abdominoplasty

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I think you would get a satisfactory result with a standard skin only abdominoplasty without the diastasis recti repair. The skin will be removed in an elliptical pattern from the umbilicus to a point just above the pubic bone.  The stretch marks above the umbilicus will look better when the skin is stretched tight but the will not be removed just lowered down.   There is always a possibility of making a bad scar but attention to detail and using standard plastic surgical techniques can keep this to a minimum.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Skin only tummy tuck

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I have done several "skin only" tummy tucks over the years.  My patients have either been young weight loss patients who have not had children or ladies with some muscle laxity but who are fearful of having a tight abdomen which could interfere with some athletic pursuits (yoga, trapeze, gymnastics).  Recovery is quite a bit faster and less painful than a standard tummy tuck.

Lisa Lynn Sowder, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Tummy Tuck without Muscle Tightening

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A tummy tuck can be performed without muscle tightening. To explore your options, consult in person with 3 - 4 experienced and expert board certified plastic surgeons.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

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Options for loose abdominal skin

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It used to be that a tuck was the only option for a woman with a buldging tummy. Then liposuction came along, and we could do a smaller procedure with virtually no scarring. However, people who have especially slack skin in their midsection need more than what lipo can offer.

Typical candidates for a tummy tuck are women with drooping abdomens after pregnancy, women and men who've lost a great deal of weight, menopausal women, or older people with loose skin due to age. In the tummy tuck, the skin from the rib cage down to the pelvic area is tightened, and the navel is moved up and secured in a new positon.

The mini-tummy tuck is a great option for those who look pretty good from the navel up. If necessary, the muscles of the abdominal wall will be tightened, and the excess skin in the abdomen area will be removed.

You might be a candidate for a non-invasive procedure called Thermage (no incision!) that can tighten skin and stimulate your body to make healthier collagen—the building block that provides structure to your skin. The procedure uses radiofrequency technology called ThermaCool that has been clinically proven to tighten and gently lift skin. Fast and easy, Thermage requires no downtime from normal activities. And unlike laser treatments, Thermage can be performed on patients of all skin types. Thermage can be used not only for sagging facial, neck, and eyelid skin; but also all over the body, including the abdomen. You can tighten and lift without surgery, injections, or downtime.

Michelle Copeland, MD, DMD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Loose skin redraping without muscle tightening can be done

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Sure, I do this very frequently. It is a skin redraping only without muscle repair. Much faster healing. Go see 3 boarded plastic surgeons in your area to help you decide. Good Luck!

Loose skin removed by tummy tuck

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Hi Bzz77.

A tummy tuck can be designed to meet your goals. It does not have to include tightening of the muscles. If your rectus abdominus muscles have not been separated, you do not need them tightened and you will still have a flat abdomen after the removal of the excell skin. If your muscles have separated and they are not repaired, your abdomen will appear a little rounded after the surgery, not totally flat.

However, some patients choose this option and it is perfectly OK as long as you appreciate the aesthetic result will be a bit compromised. Some patients who have their muscles in good position and just skin excess that is only below the belly button, can have very nice procedure with a scar only in the lower abdomen (like you would for a C-section but a bit longer) and no scar around the belly button.

If possible to do, this is great because when you wear a bikini there is no sign at all of having surgery. Your plastic surgeon can discuss the pros and cons of the different types of procedures and you can decide with him/her which one will meet all of your needs. Hope this helps and good luck.

Tracy Pfeifer, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Tummy Tuck without muscle tightening

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It is certainly possible to undergo a tummy tuck without a muscle plication. In fact, this is something that I sometimes suggest in patients who have excess skin with good muscle tone. This is a choice that should be yours after you have received a thorough evaluation with an explanation of the benefits and risks by a Board-certified Plastic Surgeon.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

To tighten the muscle or not in Tummy tuck

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The muscle tightening in a tummy tuck is completely optional and in some cases adds nothing but increased complications. Your plastic surgeon should be able to tell you if you need the muscle tightening and what the consequences are when you don't tighten th muscle vs tightening the muscle. A tummy tuck should be tailored to the requirements and desires of the patient within reason.

John P. Stratis, MD
Harrisburg Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Not necessary to have muscle correction

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A tummy tuck can include muscle tightening if you want it to, but that's not necessary. You can only have your loose skin tightened.

Ronald Levine, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Can I get rid of loose skin and not tighten the muscle??

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The short answer to this question is yes.  However, having loose lax skin often implies that the muscle and fascia below it are stretched out as well.  Your best solution is to have a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon who can guide you through the pros and cons of each way.

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.