New Technique to Avoid Tummy Tucks
Recently I have been using the Lumenis Ultrapulse Encore laser to attack stretch marks on the abdomen. The technique is called DeepFx. See the Lumenis web site for info on this laser. http://www.aesthetic.lumenis.com/ultrapulse I have been getting very nice results. I recommend 4-6 treatments, each seperated by two months. Each treatment is done with the patient completely awake and takes less than an hour, typically thirty minutes. There is no oozing, just some redness that can last for a few weeks. When we surveyed the patients after 2 months and just one treatment the results amazed me. I asked them to rate the results on a scale from 1 – 10. 1 being no result “same as before”. 10 being “turned the stretch marks to normal skin”. The result of my short survey was a 7.5. The range was 7-8. No one graded the results less than 7 nor higher than 8. but that was just one treatment!
With those results I started thinking about liposuction patients and in particular those patients that want tummy tucks. Typically a patient gets a tummy tuck when they have loose abdominal skin with or without excess fatty tissue on their mid and lower tummy area. When liposuction is done we want the skin to be very elastic for the best results. Here is an analogy. I have two couches at home that are over stuffed. My wife wants me to take some stuffing out. One is covered with spandex (like wet suit material) and the other is covered with linen. After I bring the couches back from my shop she is thrilled with the spandex couch. However the linen couch looks not so good. This is because the spandex snapped back creating a nice smooth contour. the linen doesn’t have elasticity and therefore the “snap back” capacity. it just stays wavy. People are the same. So if a woman has a bunch of stretch marks on her abdomen and excess fatty tissue we typically don’t recommend a liposuction procedure, we tell them they need a tummy tuck. Of course a tummy tuck also tightens the abdominal wall. Leaving that out of the equation for the moment I am starting to do liposuction on a few patients with stretch marks and then starting the laser treatments I mentioned earlier. I do the laser a few weeks after lipo and repeat them at two month intervals. My hope is that we will find a whole subset of patients that would have to ordinarily have to have a tummy tuck that might get pretty good results with virtually no down time. Recovery back to normal daily activities after lipo to the tummy is measured in a day to a few days. This is compared to a week to several week for a tummy tuck. So, I don’t have final results but preliminary results are very encouraging. I hope to have about 5 patients that are 6 months out from their last laser treatment available to write up a report and present at a meeting by 12 – 18 months from now.