Are there any Nonsurgical Alternatives to a Tummy Tuck?

Are there any nonsurgical options to remove loose skin and fat from the abdominal area? I have a small belly pooch I've been trying to get rid of, but it won't go away. I'm considering a tummy tuck but I'm curious if there are other non-surgical treatments which are effective? If there are, how much less invasive than a tummy tuck are they? Are the results of these noninvasive treatments good? Thank you for your time doctors. 


F, 45, Florida

Unfortunately, there are no non-surgical treatments that can be considered a viable alternative to a tummy tuck.

You might have heard of some non-surgical options such as CoolSculpting, which eliminates fat cells by freezing them, and various laser treatments, which can be used to tighten slightly loose skin. While these procedures can deliver mild fat loss and help contour the body, the effect is mild at best.

They simply can’t achieve the same level of results as a tummy tuck. If you are looking to remove excess skin and fat, a tummy tuck is the best option for the vast majority of patients.

For best results, you may want to consider getting liposuction in conjunction with a tummy tuck. I recommend speaking with a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss your needs and learn more about which option is right for you.

While CoolSculpting and laser skin treatments can deliver limited amounts of skin tightening and a small amount of non-surgical fat reduction, these so-called "tummy tuck alternatives" cannot remove excess skin or tighten the abdominal muscles like a traditional tummy tuck.

We have had great success with tummy tuck surgery and the results have been positive and life changing for many of our patients. If you are a good candidate for a tummy tuck with a significant amount of loose skin, abdominoplasty is by far the most effective treatment option.

No non-invasive procedures of any kind can remove loose skin or excess fat in the abdominal area at anywhere near the level of a tummy tuck.

The short answer is "no".

While there are many treatment centers which advertise non-surgical tummy tucks, the reality is there are no non-surgical treatments that come close to the results of a tummy tuck.

While non-surgical alternatives can achieve a small amount of skin tightening and collagen stimulation, there aren't any great non-surgical options when it comes to fat removal or the removal of extra skin.

CoolSculpting, Thermage, and radiofrequency devices are often called “tummy tuck alternatives” as they also achieve some level of body contouring and can partially tighten of loose skin by destroying fat cells. While those and other non-surgical treatments have their place, they can’t achieve anywhere near the results of a tummy tuck surgery.

Keep in mind that the tummy tuck procedure involves removing a comparatively large amount of fat, tightening the the abdominal muscles, removal of excess skin and repositioning the belly button. The procedure can also completely remove stretch marks on the lower abdomen. There are no non-surgical alternatives that accomplish any of those results.

If you have a very small amount of loose skin below the belly button and a very small amount of excess fat, it's possible that a mini tummy tuck or liposuction may suffice.

I can't give you any specific advice without a direct consultation, but I encourage you to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to see which options make the most sense for you.

Dear Karen,

Thank you for the question. The short answer is No. there are no alternative procedures to a tummy tuck for removing excess skin and fat. You may consider liposuction if you don't have any excess skin above the belly button or a mini tummy tuck to address the lower part of your tummy without moving your belly button. 

Please seek a plastic surgeon for an assessment to better determine what you need to meet your goals. 

Good luck!

Dr. Khuthaila