Tummy Tuck: No Real Alternative To Tighten Belly Skin (Updated 2023)

Dr. Wayne Yamahata

If you’ve been bothered by the look of your soft, sagging abdomen, you may have already spent time searching for tummy tuck alternatives. They’re easily found online: the belts, the creams, the compression garments that promise to slim down your midsection and tighten your belly skin at home. Many of these “treatments” sound like a convenient miracle.

Unfortunately, DIY treatment isn’t that easy. Follow through with any of these options, and you’ll likely come away disappointed. But why do all these tummy tuck alternatives always fall short? The answer is simple: because tummy tucks are an investment that no magic cream can reproduce.

Only Tummy Tucks Can Address Excess Belly Skin & Separated Muscles

Tummy tuck surgery addresses something that’s already proven resistant to diet and exercise: excess skin. Once that skin has lost its elasticity, only surgical intervention can improve it.

During surgery, the doctor removes this excess skin by creating an incision that extends hip-to-hip, allowing them to pull the skin tight and remove unwanted fat. Tummy tucks can also remove a “stomach pooch”—a bulge on the lower abdomen that exercise and diet won’t fix. This “pooch” is often caused by weakened abdominal muscles being stretched apart. During surgery, the doctor can suture these muscles back together. We discuss this condition, diastasis recti, in more depth in our related blog post.

You can see the remarkable results a tummy tuck can create in one of our patients’ before-and-after pictures below:


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A post shared by Dr. Wayne Yamahata (@drwayneyamahata)

Why Alternatives Fall Short

Special belts, creams, and garments often boast measurable effects on the midsection, but these products approach the matter from the wrong angle. While some topical treatments can have a minor effect on loose skin, the significant results that most patients want is out of reach without surgery.

Simply put: Skin doesn’t behave the same way that fat does. Unlike fat, which shrinks and expands in relation to diet and exercise, skin doesn’t bounce back.

A Better Solution

Skin can adjust after moderate, gradual weight loss, especially in younger people. But for older patients, patients who have had a baby, or patients who have had more rapid weight loss (caused by bariatric surgery, for example), you may notice extra skin overstaying its welcome. By providing permanent results for such a frustrating, long-term problem, tummy tuck remains popular. You can find more information about the tummy tuck surgical process on the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ website.

It’s also quite common to pair a tummy tuck with liposuction because there are often small areas of stubborn fat in the midsection and the areas around it such as the hips, thighs, and back. Together, the two procedures create a gorgeous, cohesive result—one that’s well beyond what any home remedy can achieve. Take a look at how well liposuction and tummy tuck procedures complement each other in one of our patient’s before-and-after photos:


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A post shared by Dr. Wayne Yamahata (@drwayneyamahata)

Get Started

As our tummy tuck before-and-after pictures in this post and our photo gallery show, this surgery can create transformative results that can’t be replicated with other products. If you’re curious about your own tummy tuck options at our plastic surgery practice here in Sacramento, contact us online or call the practice (916) 929-1833.

Originally published March 2017; Updated July 2023

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