Stretch marks can be embarrassing, especially during swim suit season, and cause many men and women to lose confidence in their appearance. There are plenty of creams, lotions and serums on the market that claim to get rid of stretch marks, but most of them do not work and none of them will get rid of them completely. So, if over-the-counter products will not eliminate stretch marks, is there anything that will? The answer is a very excited, YES!
Plastic Surgery for Stretch Marks
There are certain plastic surgery procedures that can reduce, and yes, eliminate, stretch marks. IF your stretch marks are limited to the area that will be worked on during the procedure. Here are a few examples:
Abdominoplasty – An abdominoplasty, a.k.a. tummy tuck, removes excess skin from below your belly button. The region between the belly button and pubis is the most common place for stretch marks due to pregnancy and weight gain. During a tummy tuck, the surgeon will stretch the skin, pulling it firmly down so that the skin is taut all the way from underneath your breasts to the pubis. The surgeon then removes the overlapping skin. Most of the time, the part of the skin where you noticed your stretch marks is going to be that overlapping skin that is removed during surgery. Poof!! Your stretch marks are gone! Hallelujah! Depending on the extent of the abdominoplasty, your surgeon can remove stretch marks on your hips (the love handles) as well as on the abdomen.
Breast Lift – Many women will experience sagging, stretched out breasts after pregnancy and even more so after breastfeeding. The rapid growth of the breasts during the nine months of pregnancy begins the breakdown of the tissue and the formation of stretch marks, and the year (or longer!) that you are breastfeeding expands the appearance of the stretch marks significantly. A breast lift will raise the breasts back to normal position, tighten the skin and get rid of those not-so-awesome stretch marks. During the procedure, the surgeon will remove the stretched-out skin, and in return, your breasts get a smooth, natural, younger-looking appearance.
Thigh Lift – While it is common to focus on the abdomen and breasts, we often forget about those stretch marks that creep up on our thighs and buttocks. (What we can’t see won’t hurt us. Right!) The problem is, they are still there! Ugh! A thigh lift can be done on the outer or inner thigh and removes (you guessed it!) excess skin and fat! During an inner thigh lift, the surgeon makes an incision down the groin line, where your thigh meets your pubic area. The skin is pulled tightly and excess removed. For an outer thigh lift, the incision is made to extend around the outer thigh and up onto the hips. During the removal of the excess, the skin is pulled taut, flattening out any remaining stretch marks.
Is There a Non-Invasive Approach?
There is not a non-surgical way to completely eliminate stretch marks. You may see some improvements with topical creams, but not much. Some cosmetic surgeons will offer laser or intense pulsed light treatments that help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, but they will not completely get rid of them. Your surgeon should be able to give you an idea of if and how these treatments will help you depending on the severity of your stretch marks.
It is important to note that it may not be possible to remove all of your stretch marks. It will depend on the location and whether or not the incision reaches those areas. During your consultation with a surgeon, he or she will be able to show you the areas that will be treated and give you an estimate on the amount of stretch marks that can be eliminated. Call our office today if you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons!