Is a vertical incision tummy tuck viable for stretch mark removal when there is not enough loose skin? (Photo)

After 3 pregnancies I want to get a tummy tuck to remove stretch marks, but I barely have any loose skin. I'm not overly worried about having a scar and would be open to a vertical incision. Would this option be more beneficial for me?

Doctor Answers 11

Is a vertical incision tummy tuck viable for stretch mark removal when there is not enough loose skin?

NO! Trading off stretch marks for a noticeable vertical scar in mid abdomen does not make good surgical sense!!!

Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

You won't get rid of all of them...

Your best surgical option would be a traditional full tummy tuck and yes you will have a vertical incision, but it would only be from the umbilical donor site.  You don't have enough skin in your upper belly to removal ALL of the skin from your belly button down to a lower bikini incision, so in order to keep the major incision low, there would be a vertical scar in your low abdomen where you belly button used to be.  Even with that, you will STILL have some stretch marks.  So before you trade stretch marks for scars, make sure you are prepared for that.  The marks will fade with time (I'm not a big believer that lasers have much to offer).  Tough situation for anyone to fix because you look good except for the stretch marks!  It's easy to make the bad looking bellies better -- it's harder to make the good looking bellies great!  Good luck to you.

Robert S. Houser, DO
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Is a vertical incision tummy tuck viable for stretch mark removal when there is not enough loose skin?

I am not sure there is a good option in your case.  I would have to examine you to really be able to answer this question.

Find a board certified plastic surgeon who performs hundreds of tummy tucks and body contouring procedures each year. Then look at the plastic surgeon's website before and after photo galleries to get a sense of who can deliver the results.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 492 reviews

Tummy tuck incision and scar is not a good option for stretch marks

Thank you for your question.  You have a very fit and excellent abdomen and in my opinion it would be a shame to our the appearance of your tummy with a tummy tuck incision.  Your stretch marks could be removed with a tummy tuck but the incision would have to be high and visible above your bikini line.

Do not believe those who tell you that nonsurgical treatment of stretch marks is not possible.  The 1540 non-ablative fractional erbium laser made by Palomar has been shown to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.  Although the laser does not remove the stretch marks it makes them smaller and lighter in color and less noticeable.

Is a vertical incision tummy tuck viable for stretch mark removal when there is not enough loose skin?

Yes you have little skin because your abdomen is stretched. A full tummy tuck will tighten the rectus ( 6 pack) muscle. This will narrow your waist and in the process create redundant skin. You will end up with a small vertical incision. A one to one consultation with a PS can answer your questions.

Naveen Somia, MBBS, PhD, FRACS
Sydney Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

Stretch mark removal

A mini tuck followed by  3-4 sessions of fractional lasers  for the residual stretch marks mayl be the best solution in your case

Thangavel Ayyappan, MBBS, MS, MCh, DNB
India Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Abdominal stretch marks

One of the things I tell patients is that some situations do not have good surgical solutions. Stretch marks are one of these situations. If you are fairly recent from your last pregnancy you should wait as stretch mark discoloration tends to improve over time. If this a chronic and stable situation, a non-surgical approach might warrant cautious experimentation (though not very predictable) since the only way to remove all the stretch marks would be to do a complete abdominoplasty with a relatively high transverse scar that would be more easily covered by clothing than a vertical scar.

Robin T.W. Yuan, M.D.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Stretch Marks and Tummy Tuck.

I am of the opinion that you have more loose skin than you think you do. (You'll also have more to work with when the muscles are tightened during the tummy tuck).
I bet a traditional tummy tuck would remove a good portion of the stretch marks (but not all) and probably be the best solution for the long term, but the best way to find out is to get a full consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon.

Best of luck!

Deborah Ekstrom, MD
Worcester Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Tummy tuck

You can probably get the result you are looking for with a mini tummy tuck but an in person consultation would be needed.

a mini tuck primarily address skin laxity and sometimes abdominal laxity below the belly button. It doesn't do much for looseness or muscle laxity above the bellybutton. A full tummy tuck handles this area better.

There are other variations that are less well-known depending upon your goals and time for recovery.

For example a full tummy tuck can be done without muscle repair for the appropriate patient.

A full muscle tightening can be done with a mini tummy tuck skin excision or sometimes with no skin excision.

There are more extensive kinds of abdominoplasty that remove even more skin in patients with massive weight loss and severe laxity

The best way to approach this would be to learn which option would best fulfill your needs.

A board-certified plastic surgeon can help go over the options with you and address your goals.

Marwan R. Khalifeh, MD
Chevy Chase Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Vertical Incision Tummy Tuck

You have a nice shape and are thin to begin with.  It would be a shame to add a vertical scar unless absolutely necessary.  Many women are surprised by how much extra skin they have if it is really pulled and stretched, especially after the muscle is repaired. If you do not have enough for a full tummy tuck, a small vertical scar can be added to your incision to allow it to stay low for the most part. Not only would this minimize the vertical scar, it would also provide the best route to a good result.
Dr. Pyle

Jeremy Pyle, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 107 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.