A New Kind of Tummy Tuck?
If ever there would be a procedure that should have a non surgical alternative, it would be tummy tuck. Known medically as “abdominoplasty,” tummy tuck procedures have a well earned reputation for being pretty invasive and pretty painful. And while surgeons have made strides in terms of helping patients control discomfort, the very nature of the procedure requires an invasive approach.
That’s why any mention of a non surgical tummy tuck is sure to perk up a few ears, especially if it’s a chance to get great results without the pain and discomfort of surgery. That’s exactly what happened when Kim Kardashian saw her surgeon and started posting on Instagram about her “non surgical tummy tuck.”
So is this non surgical approach actually true? Is it effective? And can it replace a traditional, surgical tummy tuck procedure? Let’s find out!
What is a Tummy Tuck?
It might be helpful, first, to have a discussion about what precisely a tummy tuck is, as there’s often a lot of confusion about this. We’ve often come across people who think a tummy tuck is designed to help you lose weight. That’s not a bad guess if you aren’t familiar with plastic surgery procedure. After all, the thing most people dislike about their tummies is the fat, right?
Well, it turns out that what many people consider “fat” is actually excess skin (for those cases when you want to combat fat, you’ll need a procedure called liposuction… which if you’re at this site, you likely already know about). In any case, a modern tummy tuck is designed to eliminate that excess skin and thus make the tummy area look more fit and slender.
This excess skin can be created in any number of ways. Sometimes it’s just life and age, sometimes it’s exacerbated by pregnancy and motherhood. Sometimes it’s just genetics. In any case, this excess skin can cause some people to feel quite self-conscious. In those cases, a tummy tuck can be an excellent solution.
Because the truth is that you can’t really get rid of excess skin any other way. Dieting and exercise are only so effective. For most patients, then, the way to get the tummy you want is through surgery—unless there is a non surgical tummy tuck alternative.
The Possibility of a Non Surgical Tummy Tuck
In most cases, when a tummy tuck is performed, an incision is made just beneath the bikini line. Then, excess skin is removed and the remaining tissue is tightened (sometimes, even the abdominal muscles are given a little extra structure to help them shape up).
This is, obviously, an invasive procedure by nature. So it’s not surprising that a non invasive approach would elicit both intrigue and suspicion. How can you get those results without surgery?
Well, it turns out that what Kim Kardashian was referring to was a skin tightening procedure, most likely using a laser system. So is “skin tightening” the same as a “non surgical tummy tuck?” Not really. It would be more accurate to think of it as a “tummy tuck light.”
Ultimately, skin tightening using laser systems are not nearly as potent at surgery. That said, it might be a good substitute for a small group of patients. If you:
- Have only a very small amount of excess skin—the results from laser procedures are usually quite subtle
- Are bothered by various discolorations of your skin
- Are generally not a good candidate for surgery (perhaps due to health reasons)
- You have subtle lines or wrinkles on your skin
- You want to eliminate age spots that have developed around your tummy
In general, however, this “non surgical tummy tuck” is not going to be a great option for eliminating a large quantity of excess tissue from your belly area. In order to do that, you’ll need to stick with the surgical tummy tuck procedure.
Should You Still Get a Tummy Tuck?
You might have come to this page because you were excited about the prospect of a non surgical tummy tuck. And we share the disappointment that such a procedure isn’t really quite ready for prime time yet. But if you’re bothered by a substantial amount of excess skin around your belly area, there are still some reasons you should consider a tummy tuck procedure.
First and foremost, a tummy tuck is the one procedure most likely to help you get the results you’re after: a slender, slimmer looking tummy. That makes a tummy tuck an excellent procedure if you:
- Have recently lost a significant amount of weight
- Want your tummy to look slim but can’t get rid of the excess skin
- Feel uncomfortable when you’re working out or even when you’re hanging around the house
- Have excess skin around your tummy because of pregnancy or other life event
- Want to be able to achieve the final stages of your transformation
- Want to improve the structure and strength of your abdominal muscles in a way not achievable through diet or exercise
- If you’ve had a liposuction procedure, a tummy tuck will help you maintain a slender-looking body
In many cases, a tummy tuck is performed concurrently with a liposuction procedure. The reason is simple: if the tummy tuck were not performed, patients would be left with a significant amount of excess skin, and this excess skin would diminish the aesthetics of the final results.
Is a Tummy Tuck Worth It?
It’s true that tummy tuck recovery can be particularly uncomfortable, but surgeons have adapted some ways to help patients get through that process. In some cases, pain pumps are used to deliver a numbing agent, while in other cases a single and powerful shot of that numbing agent is used to diminish pain for days.
In other words, there are many happy and satisfied patients who did not let a potentially uncomfortable recovery period dissuade them from getting the results they truly want. That said, everyone is different—for some people a tummy tuck will make sense, while others might need to seek out a different option.
The best place to find out whether a tummy tuck is the right option for you is to talk to your local plastic surgeon. It might be that skin tightening using a Fraxel laser or another energy based solution can get you the results you want. But the truth of the matter is that there is no real and true non surgical tummy tuck—at least not yet.
But plastic surgery does have a tendency to innovate. Every day, surgeons are developing new and different ways of doing things—and these new ways of doing things will often lead to a less invasive approach. After all, plastic surgery today—broadly speaking—is a much less invasive enterprise than it was twenty years ago.
It’s not out of the realm of possibility, then, that plastic surgeons may one day be able to perform a less invasive (maybe even to the point of calling it non surgical), but still get good results. Unfortunately, today the closest you can get to non surgical abdominoplasty is a skin tightening procedure. Which means that if you want to get a real tummy tuck—and the real results that come with it—you’ll have to opt in for surgery.