Most women will agree that one dreaded aspect of pregnancy or unplanned weight gain is the threat of stretch marks. Stretch marks can develop wherever skin has been stretched a great deal over a short period of time and most often occur on the stomach, thighs, breasts, hips and arms. Since stretch marks frequently appear as an eye-catching red or purple streak, those inflicted with them are usually desperate to hide or get rid of them for good. While there are not many effective ways of vanishing stretch marks, some women can experience good results with surgical treatments. These treatments include laser surgery, dermabrasion and an abdominoplasty.
In laser stretch mark removal surgery, a precise beam of laser light is used to cause the tissue surrounding the stretch mark to disintegrate, effectively killing that section of skin. Lasers allow this to be done without actually cutting or burning the skin itself. As the area heals, new healthy skin lacking a stretch mark will grow to cover the disintegrated section. Laser stretch mark removal surgery has a high success rate with small, recently developed stretch marks. Larger or older stretch marks can require a number of repeat laser treatments to eradicate the mark completely. While the lasered area is red, swollen and painful following the procedure, most people recover completely in only a few days.
Dermatologic surgeons can perform a specialized surgery known as a dermabrasion, or surgical skin planing, to remove the outer layers of stretch-marked skin and allow new skin to grow in the area. During the procedure, the physician sprays the area to be treated with a solution that freezes that section of skin. While the skin remains frozen, the physician then uses an abrasive brush or wheel mounted on a hand-held, high-speed rotary instrument to sand off old skin surgically. The area treated will be tender and painful for up to two weeks and the skin that grows into the new section will appear lighter and pinker than the rest of your skin for up to eight weeks. As with laser surgery, the effectiveness of dermabrasion largely depends on the age and severity of the stretch mark.
An abdominoplasty is the most drastic of the surgical treatments for stretch marks. Also know as the “tummy tuck” surgery, this procedure involves removing the abdominal skin beneath the navel. Since this area is one in which the majority of women develop stretch marks, those who opt for the procedure use it as a way to tighten sagging abdominal muscles and get rid of stretch marks at the same time. However, because this treatment option is highly invasive, expensive and requires a lengthy recovery time, abdominoplasty is never used as a treatment solely performed to remove stretch marks.