Non-Surgical Methods For Tightening/Removing Excess Skin

Lately, many of my patients have been inquiring about non-surgical methods for removing excess skin and/or belly fat. For extra belly skin, and/or fatty deposits on the abdomen, the options range from liposuction, to surgical tummy tucks,to non-surgical laser devices meant to tighten the skin.

I have to admit, after having twin baby girls a year ago, I personally decided to try a Thermage treatment for my abdomen.  The Thermage is a radio-frequency device (like a laser) that helps to smooth and tighten skin. On the abdomen, it can also help to decrease excess fat. Last year, Thermage came out with a new “Body Tip” that heats a larger area and works better for the body than the previous Thermage. I was amazed. It worked great for me and I lost about 1 inch of excess fat and skin. I have always questioned how well the non-invasive tightening devices work as I have seen some patients who only get minimal improvement (about 10% of the time). But, I think the new body Thermage is really great. It is best for people who have only mild to moderate loose skin or fat, and it won’t take the place of an abdominoplasty; yet, it is non-invasive, very safe, and doesn’t leave any scarring. It is somewhat painful during the treatment, but we can give you a mild sedative (like valium) before the procedure to make it more comfortable. You will feel like you have a sun-burn and will be a little tender for a few days. For the tummy, you do need to wear a compression garment after the treatment for about a week, and should avoid any heavy exercise during that time.

For some people, the right answer is to do liposuction for excess skin and fat. In fact, liposuction alone can cause some skin tightening and certainly is less invasive than a full tummy tuck. Often times I recommend Thermage post tummy liposuction to give that extra bit of tummy tightening.

Jennifer Reichel MD, Pacific Dermatology & Cosmetic Center

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