Stretch marks refer to the scar-like streaks or stripes that occur on the skin, especially on the abdominal area. This is due to microfractures of the collagen fibres in the skin, making the skin less elastic and unable to shrink. It is seen in conditions like, massive weight gain or pregnancy, where the skin undergoes rapid stretching. There are many solutions that claim to get rid of stretch marks including special oils, scar creams and laser treatments. Sadly the results are not consistent. Since many women consider a tummy tuck to address post pregnancy changes, it’s a question I get asked often “Will a tummy tuck get rid of stretch marks?”. In this blog I’ll reveal if it is a viable option.
Stretch marks can appear on adolescents, body builders or on anybody who experiences weight gain followed by rapid weight loss. There is no cure for them. They’re caused as a result of fractured collagen in the skin that rapidly stretches. This overstretched skin, with fractured collagen, then loses its ability to shrink or contract. Typically, they are purple or red in colour when they first occur, then fade to white once scar tissue matures over time, which can take about 12 to 18 months.
A tummy tuck can be an effective way to get rid of stretch marks on excess skin, however it’s important to note that the surgery won’t be able to remove them all. Why? Because some stretch marks may be on areas of skin that are not removed with the surgery.
Generally, if the stretch marks are located on the skin below the belly button, they will be removed. If they are above the belly button, they will still be visible but potentially less noticeable after the procedure, as their appearance can be significantly improved by the stretch on the skin. The appearance of stretch marks above the belly button will vary from patient to patient.
Another concern about having the surgery, is whether there will be additional scarring from having the procedure. You will have a scar from having abdominal skin removed and tightened. Generally the scar can run from hipbone to hipbone, though the exact placement of the scar will vary between patients. Plastic surgeons usually aim to place the incision site low enough to be hidden underneath your underwear.
The best thing to do if you are concerned about stretch marks, is to book an appointment with a plastic surgeon. They can assess you in person, and give you a realistic expectation of whether or not your stretch marks can be removed through a tummy tuck.
Do you have any questions related to tummy tucks or getting rid of stretch marks, and live in Sydney? If so I invite you to attend one of my free Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery information evenings. They usually run once every two months in either my Bondi Junction or Bella Vista practices. This is perfect for people who are not yet ready to commit to a one on one consultation but have some questions they’d like answered by a certified plastic surgeon. Come along and ask me questions directly in a friendly, small group setting. Click on the button below to learn more and register for your seat.