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

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 14 reviews

Tummy Tuck without Muscle Tightening

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 32 reviews

Tummy Tuck and Muscle Tightening

You are correct, the best way to get rid of loose, excess abdominal skin is with a tummy tuck.

The vast majority of patients who have loose, excess abdominal skin secondary to weight loss or pregnancy also have seperation of the vertical abdominal muscles.  The speration of these vertical midline muscles adds to the appearance of lower abdominal bulging, fullnes, and roundness.  During a tummy tuck, the thick, fibrous covering of these muscles are sutured back together, pulling the muscles into a normal, midline position.  Note that the muscles themselves are not cut or sewn.  This part of the operation, called muscle plication, adds about 15 minutes to the surgery.  Failure to perform muscle plication during a tummy tuck will leave most patients with a sub-par result and continued lower abdominal bulging.

Occasionally, a patient's excess skin is limited to the lower abdomen (i.e. below the belly button) and they do not have seperation of the abdominal muscles.  In the case where abdominal muscle tightening is not necessary, a mini tummy tuck can be performed to remove excess lower abdominal skin only

I recommend you be evaluated by a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery to find out if a mini tummy tuck or standard tummy tuck is best for you.

Jaime Perez, M.D.

Tummy Tuck Specialist in Tampa, Florida

Plastic Surgery Center of Tampa, Florida

Jaime Perez, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Is it possible to have a Tummy Tuck without having muscle tightening?

Hi there-

If you either do not have muscle laxity and roundness of your abdominal wall, or you do have this but are not concerned about it, it is possible to simply remove your excess skin and maybe do a bit of liposuction.

If you do have a bit of roundness here, most reputable surgeons are going to want to repair this while they're there, as operating on you without attempting to achieve the very best outcome possible goes against our typical thought processes, but if you are certain this is what you want, it is possible.

Options for loose abdominal skin

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
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Loose skin redraping without muscle tightening can be done

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

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
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Tummy Tuck without muscle tightening

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
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

To tighten the muscle or not in Tummy tuck

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 27 reviews

Not necessary to have muscle correction

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
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 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.