About
Stretch Marks

Stretch Mark Removal Surgery

Stretch marks are an extreme form of scarring.  The damage is what is left behind after the skin has undergone rapid expansion such as during pregnancy or puberty.  Probably the most successful way of removing stretch marks is also the most invasive.  A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty cuts away the excess loose skin and fat and pulls the remaining skin taut.  Primarily performed for people who want to treat loose abdominal skin after weight loss, the cosmetic treatment also benefits those wanting to get rid of stretch marks.  And though successful at removing stretch marks and tightening the abdominal muscles the procedure creates new scars across the lower part of the abdominal wall.

The Operation

During a stretch mark removal surgery, also known as a standard tummy tuck operation, which can last for up to three hours and is performed under general anesthetic, surgical cuts are made into the abdomen above the bikini line. Excess skin and fat is removed, muscles are tightened, and the remaining skin is drawn down to stitch it at the pubic level.  The naval is sometimes repositioned.  As with all forms of surgery some scarring is inevitable, and there will be a scar around the naval and a long curved scar along the bikini line, though this can usually be hidden by underwear.

Best Results

The best results are achieved in people who are at the correct weight for their height.  Doctors also advise that patients who smoke should cut down or quit as the habit can increase the likelihood of wound infection, and slow down post-operative recovery.  Although the results of the stretch mark cosmetic surgery are long lasting, the benefits may be undone by drastic weight changes in the future.  Regular exercise will help to maintain a steady weight.  As might be expected successful stretch mark removal surgery increases patients’ own estimation of their overall appearance (Bolton, MA et al. Measuring outcomes in plastic surgery: Body image and quality of life in abdominoplasty patients. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 2003; 112 619-625)

Risks

A tummy tuck is a commonly performed procedure and generally safe (Spiegelman, JI, Levine RH. Abdominoplasty: a comparison of outpatient and inpatient procedures shows that it is a safe and effective procedure for outpatients in an office-based surgery clinic. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2006 Aug; 118 (2): 517-22), though possible side effects include swelling and bruising, which may be painful and take several weeks to clear.  Pain is usually controlled by oral medication and in most patients it subsides after a few days.

Why not Liposuction?

Though liposuction is a popular method of removing fat deposits from the body, extra skin resulting from excessive weight gain will not just snap back into place. It will hang loose as skin does not shrink to fit a new volume.

Questions to Consider

Abdominoplasty is a major operation and should be undertaken by a qualified surgeon.  Here are a few questions to consider asking your surgeon if you decide to have an abdominoplasty to get rid of your stretch marks.

How many abdominoplasty operations have you performed?

Can I speak to one of your former abdominoplasty patients?

How will my stomach appear after the operation?

What pain will I experience?

What are the risks associated with the procedure?

How long is the recovery time?

Disclaimer:  The information provided within this site is not meant to be a substitute for a medical doctor's opinion.  This site is for informational purposes ONLY.  Please check with your medical practitioner before any type of treatment or prevention method is started..

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