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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.