Removing Stretch Marks with a Mommy Makeover

Stretch marks are an unfortunate result of weight gain and pregnancy but can also arise from taking steroids.  Many of them can be improved or eliminated with a mommy makeover.

Etiology

Stretch marks are actually tears in the undersurface or deep layer of the skin.  They occur when there is so much pressure on the skin from pregnancy or weight gain, which occurs so fast that the skin does not have time to respond by simply growing. The upper portion of the skin which consists of skin cells remains intact while the deeper part, known as the dermis and is the structural component of skin, breaks apart under the pressure.  As a result, there is permanent loss of the integrity of the skin in those areas. A stretch mark is essentially identical to a scar when you look at it under a microscope.

Removal

Unfortunately, the only way to completely eliminate a stretch mark is to remove it surgically.  A mommy makeover frequently involves taking out extra skin on the breasts and abdomen. Often times, the skin that is removed contains stretch marks that arose from pregnancy. Those that are removed are generally on the lower aspect of the breasts at the time of a breast lift and on the stomach between the belly button and the pubic area at the time of a tummy tuck.

Scar Placement

To avoid noticeable scars on the breasts of abdomen, skin above the nipples on the breasts or above the belly button on the abdomen is not removed. Therefore, stretch marks in these areas will not be taken away but they may be pulled down to a position where they are less obvious. The scars are placed in such a way that they can be hidden as much as possible.  In addition, the skin is tightened in these areas, which frequently makes stretch marks less visible.

Arms and Thighs

A mommy makeover may also include an arm lift or a thigh lift. In these procedures, excess skin is removed from the upper, inner arms or upper, inner thighs when there redundant skin and stretch marks are often found. A large percentage of the stretch marks in these areas can be taken away during these surgeries. 

Mini-Lifts

With each of the above procedures, mini versions are available for those where they are indicated and can leave shorter, less visible scars.  The tradeoff, however, is that considerably less skin is removed with the mini procedure so the end result is not as tight and fewer stretch marks are removed. 

Lasers

You may see advertisements for laser removal of stretch marks.  Early stretch marks have a red to purple color because of the increase in blood supply that grew into the area to heal the damaged tissue.  Once it is healed, the blood vessels fade away and the discoloration is gone leaving a pale mature stretch mark.  Certain lasers can get the blood vessels to fade quicker to eliminate the discoloration, but have little to no effect on mature stretch marks.

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