Most prospective cosmetic surgery patients understand that the more invasive a procedure is, the more effective it can be. While everyone wishes that this were different, it is a fact that patients do need to accept. Tummy tuck surgery is the gold standard when it comes to firming and tightening the abdomen after weight fluctuations, pregnancies, and the natural progression of time and age have made their marks. That said, other, less invasive options are available for patients with a lesser degree of skin laxity.
What Are These Procedures?
Tummy tuck surgery improves abdominal skin and muscle laxity. This procedure addresses multiple layers of tissues. Sometimes, the abdominal muscles stretch and separate during pregnancy and childbirth, or after significant weight fluctuations; this is known as diastasis recti, and is often a cause of the dreaded “stomach pooch.” Tummy tuck surgery can repair this condition by tightening or repairing the abdominal muscles, providing a smoother, flatter abdomen. Unfortunately, the muscles are often not the sole problem. Tummy tuck surgery also removes excess skin so that the remaining skin lays taut over the musculature.
Liposuction targets excess fat in the abdomen (as well as many other areas of the body). This is done by breaking up the abdominal fat before physically suctioning it out through a narrow, hollow tube. Liposuction is beneficial for removing significant fat deposits; however, it cannot affect skin elasticity or tighten muscles.
ThermiTight® is a skin tightening therapy that uses targeted radiofrequency (RF) energy. The RF energy is released through a probe that is inserted into the dermis (deeper layer of the skin). This probe heats the tissues until they reach 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit; at this point, collagen production is stimulated, and the aged skin is tightened. ThermiTight® does not address excess fat or separated muscles.
What Are the Limitations?
For years, tummy tuck surgery was the only procedure appropriate for men and women with skin laxity on their abdomen. Liposuction does not remove or tighten skin, so it was not suitable for many individuals without combining a tummy tuck.
This is where ThermiTight® can come into play. ThermiTight® does address abdominal skin laxity. Patients removing a moderate amount of fat can undergo ThermiTight® along with their liposuction to stimulate skin shrinkage and achieve smooth and taut contours.
Who Are the Candidates?
Significant skin laxity, or any amount of muscle separation, can still not be treated without a tummy tuck, but younger patients with moderate skin laxity can benefit from liposuction and ThermiTight®. Schedule a consultation with your surgeon to discuss whether or not you are a candidate for liposuction, ThermiTight®, or a combination of the two.