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Tummy Tuck Alternatives: What Are My Options For Loose Abdominal Skin?

It is commonly known that loose skin on the abdomen often follows life events such as pregnancy or significant weight loss. There are other reasons you may have loose skin, such as having liposuction that has been performed too aggressively. Whatever the reason, let’s dive into the options and investigate the advantages and disadvantages of each of each procedure.

Tummy Tuck

The gold standard for getting rid of excess abdominal skin is an abdominoplasty, more commonly known as a tummy tuck. This is often performed as part of a “mommy makeover.” A tummy tuck involves more than just removing the excess skin.

At Image Surgical Arts, we will almost always combine 360-degree liposuction as part of our tummy tucks. This allows Dr. Harris to provide a more shapely appearance as opposed to just a skin excision like some practices will do. If only skin is removed and liposuction is not performed, the end result will look “boxy.” There will be minimal if any curves.

In addition to liposuction, a diastasis repair will be performed. A diastasis is often seen after pregnancy. This is where the “six-pack” muscles get pulled apart from each other. When this occurs, women will often see or feel a pooch to their abdomen.

The greatest amount of skin is removed with a tummy tuck compared to the other options. Often, we can remove the skin from the bottom of the abdomen all the way to above the belly button. This allows for the maximum about of stretch mark removal among the options.

In patients who have undergone massive weight loss, occasionally we will recommend a “fleur-di-lis” tummy tuck. This adds an additional vertical incision to remove even more skin than a standard tummy tuck.

Recovery for a tummy tuck is longer than the other procedures below. Generally, you are sore for about 5-7 days. Also, we will leave two drains to help remove any fluid buildup that may occur. These drains will also stay in for one week.

Scarring from the incision sites are greatest with a tummy tuck and especially a fleur-de-lis tummy tuck. This is necessary to remove the greatest amount of skin. However, the results are far and away the most powerful of all the options available.

Mini Tummy Tuck

The least performed of the three options is the mini tummy tuck. This will usually involve 360-degree core liposuction and a removal of a small amount of skin. Candidates for a mini tummy tuck are generally patients with no diastasis and a minimum amount of loose skin below the belly button.

A mini tummy tuck will not improve the skin above the belly button. Diastasis repair is not performed with a mini tummy tuck. The scar with this option is less than that of a full tummy tuck but still requires an incision along the lower abdomen.

Recovery is typically the three to five days and we do not use drains. The addition of Renuvion to our practice has significantly decreased the number of mini tummy tucks that need to be performed.


Renuvion is the gold standard for minimally invasive skin tightening. Renuvion uses helium plasma to deliver radio-frequency to the tissues under the skin. This will cause the skin to tighten in two different ways. First, the direct heat applied to the tissues will cause it to contract much like cellophane or plastic wrap when heated. Second, radio-frequency will cause additional tissue contraction by disrupting collagen.

Your body, over the course of the next six to nine months, will form new collagen leading to tighter skin. Full results are seen after nine months. The process for skin tightening with Renuvion is slower and less immediately obvious than with a more invasive option. However, scarring is minimal. The scars are usually about the width of a pencil eraser and placed in easily concealed locations.

The recovery is by far the quickest of the options. Often, patients are back to nearly their normal routines by the next day. Anesthesia is not always required and often we will perform these procedures along with the associated liposuction under local anesthesia. Renuvion has nearly eliminated the need for mini tummy tucks.

These three options can help you obtain the goals you have set out for yourself. It is sage advice to be wary of being seen at a consult where only a single option is available. As is often said, when you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail. This often leads to less than ideal outcomes because you didn’t have the opportunity to discuss all the options available.

If you have additional questions about what your best option would be download the free eBook below! And if you’re ready to create your own, personalized plan, schedule your consultation!

Free eBook: A Comprehensive Guide to Tummy Tucks

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