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What Are the Different Types of Cosmetic Surgery for Stretch Marks?

By Jami Yontz
Updated May 17, 2024
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Surgical options for stretch marks include abdominoplasty, a chemical peel, and dermabrasion. Laser surgery is also a type of cosmetic surgery for stretch marks. The severity of the person’s stretch marks, also known as striae, may determine the type of treatment used and the procedure’s effectiveness in removing or diminishing their appearance.

Stretch marks are caused by the skin being expanded in a short period of time, which can be due to weight gain, weight loss, or pregnancy. The dermis layer of skin is flexible tissue, but when the skin is overstretched, the layers of skin break and scar tissue can form as part of the healing process. These marks usually occur on the stomach, thighs, breasts, or buttocks, and both men and women can develop them. Some lines are thin and white, while other people develop thick purple or red marks that stretch across a large area of skin.

A chemical peel is one popular cosmetic surgery for stretch marks. The chemicals used in this procedure destroy the top layer of skin, which promotes the production of collagen and prompts the healing process to begin. This procedure allows a new layer of skin to form, which can remove or lessen the appearance of lighter stretch marks that have formed.

A dermabrasion treatment cannot reach the dermis layer of skin where stretch marks form, but the treatment can be helpful in reducing the appearance of striae. The skin is frozen, and an instrument that basically sandblasts the skin is used to damage the top layer of skin. Many treatments might be necessary to smooth the skin down to the layer where appearance of the stretch marks will be minimal.

Laser surgery breaks down the tissue in the dermis layer, which encourages the body to begin the healing process. Unlike dermabrasion and chemical peels, this healing process actually begins in the layer of skin where the stretch marks occurred. There is some controversy about the effectiveness of this treatment option, however.

For those with severe stretch marks, an abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, may be the only way to remove stretch marks. This type of cosmetic surgery removes the skin around the lower stomach and upper hips that have been affected by striae. The excess skin is cut away, and the remaining skin is sewn back together. A person should consult a medical professional when considering cosmetic surgery for stretch marks.

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Discussion Comments
By strawCake — On Mar 22, 2012

I can totally understand why, in this case, someone might want to have plastic surgery. Stretch marks are pretty unsightly and unattractive, even though they are fairly common. I know some women wouldn't care about having a few stretch marks here and there, but some people are really bothered by it!

If you're that bothered, I don't see the harm in getting something done. As long as you research the procedure and the doctor beforehand, it sounds like it would be pretty safe.

By KaBoom — On Mar 21, 2012

@JessicaLynn - Stretch marks are very common, it's true. I know they're somewhat genetic, but I also think you can take steps to prevent them, at least during pregnancy.

I have a good friend who has two children, and no stretch marks. She swears up and down that all the stuff she did while she was pregnant helped prevent them. She drank a ton of water, ate really healthy, and slathered herself with cocoa butter day in and day out.

If I ever get pregnant, I plan to do exactly what she did and hopefully I won't have to resort to something like laser surgery for stretch marks.

By JessicaLynn — On Mar 20, 2012

All of the examples of plastic surgery for stretch marks sound positively horrifying. You can basically either destroy your top layer of skin or literally cut off the skin that has stretch marks. No thank you!

Personally, I think stretch marks are something we all have to live with. Most women I know have stretch marks in some for or another.

In fact I don't have any children yet, but I do have some stretch marks on my behind from gaining and losing weight (only a few pounds!) I pretty much just leave them alone. And, they're definitely faded a little bit over time too.

By sunshined — On Mar 19, 2012

@honeybees - I have wasted my money on some of those stretch mark creams too. If anybody has found a cream that really works, I would love to know about it.

Most of my friends that have stretch marks have the thin, white ones that to me, are barely noticeable. I say this because mine are those ugly red and purple ones that really stand out.

I don't even like to wear shorts anymore because of having these on my legs and other parts of my body. I would absolutely love to have surgery for stretch mark removal, but we only have one income right now and that is completely out of the question.

I would have a hard time justifying spending the money on something like that even though I know it would increase my confidence and help me feel better about myself.

By bagley79 — On Mar 19, 2012

@Mykol - I looked into having a chemical peel done for my stretch marks. I am still debating between that and dermabrasion. I want something that is affordable, but also gets the job done.

I know there is a wide range of prices depending on who you see and what part of the country you live in.

With my dermatologist, each chemical peel was going to cost me around $300. Most of my stretch marks are the thin, white ones so they aren't too severe.

I was told I would probably need more than one peel and would need to plan on going back at least 2-3 times.

My stretch marks came from having my three beautiful babies. While I wouldn't trade them for anything, I wouldn't mind having some kind of stretch mark removal surgery to get rid of them.

I don't really like having the stretch marks as reminders of being pregnant and gaining all that weight.

By Mykol — On Mar 18, 2012

Most people think of stretch marks when someone has gained a lot of weight. You can also get stretch marks if you lose weight - especially if it is a fast weight loss.

When I was having a lot of abdominal problems, I had a hard time keeping food down and ended up losing a lot of weight in a short period of time.

Even though I always wanted to lose weight, this is not the way I would recommend getting it done. I had stretch marks on my legs and breasts from having kids, but didn't have any on my stomach until I had this rapid weight loss.

Anytime you have such extreme changes in the collagen of your skin like that, it can lead to stretch marks. Now I feel like I have stretch marks all over my body and would really like to make them less noticeable.

Does anybody know how much a chemical peel for getting rid of stretch marks would cost?

By honeybees — On Mar 17, 2012

I know I changed the style of bathing suit I wore after my pregnancies. Not that I really like wearing a bathing suit in the first place, but now I find those 'figure friendly' ones to help cover up the stretch marks.

I have tried a few creams that are advertised to help get rid of stretch marks, but I don't think any of them work. I think they are just marketing gimmicks and I have given up on finding a cream that really does what it says it will do.

Either I just live with them, or look into having some kind of plastic surgery stretch mark removal. Since that really isn't in the budget, I will probably just learn to live with them.

By ElizaBennett — On Mar 16, 2012

@MissDaphne - Most women will gain a little more with their second pregnancy, but I hope you get lucky! If you went a little crazy with the "eating for two" the first time and watch your diet more closely the second, you might be successful - but just make sure you are still eating enough for your baby to grow big and strong! You need lots of fat and protein.

I always thought that surgery to remove stretch marks, or really any cosmetic surgery, was a little silly. But a friend of mine had three children in five years and then was sure her family was complete. She would drag all three of those kids to the gym several times a week, but... you guess it, her belly wouldn't go flat again.

She decided to have a tummy tuck. Now most of her stretch marks are gone and she has the belly of a teenager again. It's still not something I would choose for myself, but then that's easy for me to say because I never had quite as flabby a look as she did. And I won't judge her. She is really happy with the results and was fortunate enough to recover quite well. (Not everyone is! Any surgery can have serious complications.)

By MissDaphne — On Mar 16, 2012

It sounds like there's nothing really proven to get rid of stretch marks! All these options sound kind of iffy except for a tummy tuck, and it seems like a tummy tuck might not get to the right area, depending on where your stretch marks are. (It certainly won't help if they're on your breasts!) I've heard that in parts of Canada, a woman who has had twins is entitled to a free tummy tuck under their national health service!

Mine aren't too bad, but I've pretty much accepted that I'm stuck with them. I gained a little more weight a little faster than I should have in my first pregnancy, so I'm hoping to gain a little less next time and hopefully not get so many new ones!

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