The Tummy Tuck has long been the gold standard for tightening excess abdominal skin. Or more precisely, a tummy tuck doesn’t merely tighten the skin – it removes the excess skin altogether. But are there other options for skin tightening for those who don’t want to go the tummy tuck route?
When a Tummy Tuck Works Best
Tummy tuck surgery is a great remedy for both women and men whose tummy is flabby and who want to get their youthful figure back. Even if you’ve been dieting and exercising to lose the extra fat, your skin may not shrink all the way back to make a flat abdomen.
Women often struggle with this after pregnancy and childbirth, especially after several children, each one of them stretching your skin a little bit more. And as your body ages, your skin loses its ability to shrink back.
A tummy tuck is a foolproof way to make your midsection look flat and tight again. So why would you hesitate to have one?
Why Some People Hesitate to Have One
There is a simple reason you might skip the tummy tuck: It requires surgery, and it leaves a scar.
Don’t get us wrong: Tummy tuck surgery has come a long way over the years. It’s an outpatient procedure, it can be done under IV sedation without general anesthesia, and a good plastic surgeon can place to scar in such a way that it is completely hidden under your bikini line. Even recovery times have improved so that you may return to your daily actives as early as a week post-surgery.
There are some people, and perhaps you’re one of them, who simply do not want to undergo surgery. And that is totally understandable. Some don’t want the downtime. Some don’t want the risk that comes with surgery, even if it’s small. And some don’t want to end up with a visible scar, no matter how well it’s hidden.
If this is how you feel about a tummy tuck, don’t be discouraged. There are other options to flatten your tummy and tighten your skin.
What Liposuction Can Accomplish
It seems that liposuction has been around even longer than tummy tucks. There is a reason for its longevity: It does an amazing job to remove fat, and it’s only minimally-invasive. This means that you do not have to worry about scarring and that your recovery lasts just a few days at most. Many patients are able to get back to work or their regular activities with just a day of rest.
But what can liposuction do to tighten the skin once the fat is removed?
This is a topic of some debate among plastic surgeons. Removing the fat is the easier part. But whether you can get their skin nice and tight afterwards often determines the patient’s happiness.
Laser Lipo and Radio Frequency Assisted Liposuction
While water-assisted aka tumescent liposuction does an excellent job of removing fat cells from under your skin, it is not the ideal method to also tighten the skin. Skin tightening is better accomplished with the application of temperature-controlled thermal energy. Laser liposuction (among others the brands SmartLipo and SlimLipo) is one such method that has been around for a while.
But newer methods have supplanted Laser Lipo as the go to method for skin tightening. Radio Frequency Assisted Lipolysis (among others the brands BodyTite and Renuvion) is an even more powerful and proven method to tighten tissues and lift loose skin. The radio frequency energy generates bursts of highly targeted heat that contract or “coagulate” the tissues under the skin. This makes the treated area look firmer and more toned.
As Good as a Tummy Tuck?
At NuBody Concepts, we take pride in our excellent patient care. This includes being honest with our patients. If anyone sells you some kind of skin tightening that’s as good as a tummy tuck, you should probably find another provider. It’s simply not possible to eliminate as much loose skin as you can with a surgical tummy tuck.
However, not all patients necessarily need a tummy tuck. You may not have a ton of loose skin, but enough that you want it flattened out. Or you may not want a tummy tuck for the reasons stated above. While such patients should have realistic expectations about the results, there is still a lot of improvement that can be had with the application of radio frequency energy.
How much improvement? Clinical studies have found that BodyTite, for instance, can contract treated skin by up to 36%. That’s not bad at all, considering you get it without any surgery or scar!
And even though the tummy is a great area for skin tightening, it can also treat loose or sagging skin in areas where other methods aren’t effective. Applied to the sagging “turkey neck” folds under the chin, this type of skin tightening can make a huge difference – again without undergoing actual surgery.
A Word About Non-Invasive Fat Freezing…
Many patients who don’t want to have a tummy tuck or other surgery are drawn to the least-invasive option to remove fat and loose skin. Fat freezing is one such method. Instead of heat energy, fat freezing treatments like CoolSculpting attempt to freeze and liquefy abdominal fat with the application of very cold temperatures.
The difference to the various liposuction methods described above is this: Fat freezing is applied externally, whereas liposuction uses a tiny cannula that is inserted under the skin. This is why it’s labeled minimally-invasive rather than non-invasive.
However, the under-the-skin methods are simply more powerful. With fat freezing, you will need several treatments spaced over several months to remove enough fat and tighten your skin to see a difference. By contrast, different liposuction methods can be combined into one single procedure that removes the fat and tightens the skin all at once. With a procedure like NuBody Concepts’ boutique liposuction (which is a personalized combination of different liposuction methods), you get all the benefits of a non-invasive treatment, but far better results.