Tummy Tuck for Stretch Marks?

I just had my 3rd baby 6 weeks ago and am wanting a tummy tuck to get rid of the stretch marks that extend to my belly button. I am only 21 years old and want to look and feel my age again.

I am still losing my pregnancy weight and have about 20 lbs to go to where I would like to be... my only problem is once I get to my ideal weight, there is NO extra skin, you can't even pinch it together, but I want to get rid of my stretch marks!

Should I continue to lose weight or get the surgery and then lose the rest? Is a tummy tuck the best option? I have more than enough loose skin to do it now, and it's very frustrating.

Doctor Answers 9

Tummy tuck after 3rd pregnancy

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You bring up a lot of important points in your question. If you just had your baby 6 weeks ago, this is not a good time for a tummy tuck for a number of reasons. Your body is still adjusting back to it's normal state, and will continue to change as you lose weight and the tissues shrink. The skin and soft tissues stretched out to accomodate the pregnancy, and now they are in the process of returning to their "new normal" state. I typically recommend waiting at least six months after pregnancy before going in for a tummy tuck, and even longer if you are still actively losing weight at that time.

Stretch marks indicate damage to the skin structure, so that skin will not respond or shrink back the way undamaged skin would. You may have had no loose skin prior to pregnancy, but there is a good chance you will afterwards, even when you are at your target weight. It may not be dramatic, but typically after 3 pregnancies you have enough stretch for a tummy tuck or mini- tummy tuck. If your only stretch marks are below the belly button, there is a chance of being able to remove them altogether. Aside from surgery, there is no way to remove the stretch marks. You can do things to minimize or camoflouge their appearance, but they will still be there.

Also keep in mind you need time to recover after a tummy tuck, so you will need to make sure you have time and help for yourself, as well as help to care for your three little ones. I understand the stretch marks and loose skin can be frustrating, especially at a young age, but be patient for now. Enjoy the new addition to your family while you get back to your usual weight. Then I would recommend meeting with a board certified plastic surgeon in person to discuss what would be the best option to meet your goals.

Congrats on the new baby and good luck!

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Abdominoplasty, Mini-abdominoplasty, and Stretch Mark Treatment after Pregnancy

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Most experienced plastic surgeons have strict guidelines to adhere to when planning an abdominoplasty procedure.

In your case, you are in the immediate post-partum phase of healing. This is an important time when estrogen and hormones are peaking and affecting the anterior abdominal wall and skin.

Hormones have an influence on your stretch marks, ligaments, tendons, and skin, causing them to stretch. This is the case because during pregnancy, the estrogen levels peak and the ligaments and skin stretch so you can accomodate a growing fetus and relax your pelvis during labor. When the estrogen levels subside, the skin will bounce back to an earlier shape and form.

In my practice, I ask patients who are postpartum to wait 6 months prior to even discussing a tummy tuck. I then advise them, as in your case, to perform either an abdominoplasty or mini-abdominoplasty, vs. laser stretch mark treatment.

Also, some effective topical creams are used to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. I have also found a specific Omega Intensive cream that we sell in our office to be great during this period to reduce and prevent stretch marks.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Tummy tuck and pregnancy

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Congratulations on the new addition to your family!

Abdominoplasty produces the best result when you are as close to your ideal weight as possible. The concept of losing weight after the tummy tuck typically produces results that aren't as good as losing the weight first.

Of course, losing weight is the hardest thing we ask people to do (probably tied with quitting smoking). But you will have significantly better results as more skin can be taken out (hopefully incorporating all of your stretch marks).

While you were unable to pinch extra skin prior to your last pregnancy it is possible that you will be able to now after your last child. If you have extra skin now, as you lose volume by losing weight you will likely have additional skin at your ideal weight.

In addition - sometimes an abdominoplasty can be challenging to manage when there is a new baby running around the house. Be sure that your home life is prepared for the post-op course you will need to follow to insure good results.

I hope this helps and congratulations again!

Recent preganant and stretch marks

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I would advise you to wait, and get to a stable weight. Then consider a tummy tuck. A physical exam by a PS will help you to make an informed decision.

Tummy tuck and stretch marks

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Unfortunately, the only way to remove stretch marks is to cut them out. If you are a candidate for a tummy tuck, then the skin area from below the umbilicus to the pubic region can be removed.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Lose your weight after pregnancy prior to undergoing tummy tuck

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It is in your best interest to lose all the weight and then reassess your abdomen and skin laxity. My guiess is that you will have more loose skin then prior to the pregnancy and that you will be a candidate for some form of an abdominoplasty,

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Stretch marks equals extra skin

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Although you may think that you do not have extra skin, if you have stretch marks, then you have extra skin. Be sure that your third child is your last and then get the tummy tuck.

My favorite technique is the High lateral Tension Abdomenoplasty - great results, great scar and natural hourglass body shape without dog ears!

Robert M. Freund, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

A tummy tuck will usually remove most of the strech marks below your belly button.

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To proudnavyaowife,

Hi. Wait a few months, lose a few more pounds, and then consult with a board certified plastic surgeon.  You will probably do fine with a tummy tuck.  I think you will have enough loose skin. 

Just make sure you are done having babies before you have a tummy tuck.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Be patient and see an experienced surgeon

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I understand your frustration- you know it would be best to wait until you've reached your target weight to pursue surgery but are afraid that if you do, the outcome of surgery will be compromised. I don't think you need be concerned, however.

It IS important to lose the weight of the pregnancy, and to allow your body adequate time to recover from the pregnancy and delivery (at least 3 months) before surgery- only after this recovery will you and your surgeon be able to be confident in the outcome likely to be achieved from the surgery.

From the sound of things, it isn't likely that skin which is loose and shows lots of stretch marks now will be gone after this time period- stretch marks indicate that the skin has lost a lot of its elasticity through the pregnancy- and this elasticity is not going to improve as you lose weight and recover from the pregnancy.

So you should only become a BETTER candidate for the improvement you desire after this time period, not a poorer one. I hope this helps ease your concerns. Happy New Year!

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.