Mercy Plastic Surgeon Dr. Craig Vander Kolk Discusses Options For Treating Stretch Marks

November 18, 2013
Dr. Craig Vander Kolk

Dr. Craig Vander Kolk, Director, Cosmetic Medicine & Surgery at Mercy

Women who have had a baby or lost a lot of weight can be left with unattractive stretch marks, and while preventing them isn't usual an option, removing them is.

No matter how much cocoa butter women slather on, if they're destined to get stretch marks, there's really nothing they can do to prevent them.

"Most likely it's going to be genetic," said Dr. Craig Vander Kolk, Director of Cosmetic Medicine & Surgery at Mercy Medical Center.

According to Dr. Vander Kolk there's nothing women can do about their genes, but there are three things they can do to get rid of stretch marks.

First, there are two different kinds of laser treatments.

"There's the BBL laser, and that's going to go after the colors. If you see the red or purple, especially on a new stretch mark, that'll help that. Then there's the profractional laser, and that's going to help with the texture. That laser goes after the collagen. We use it for scars and wrinkles, but that will work on any stretch mark, even if there's no color present," explained certified physician's assistant Meg Fox.

Another option is microdermabrasion, which is performed in the Mercy Medi-Spa. Those treatments can decrease the appearance of stretch marks, but they won't get rid of them completely.

For women who are really unhappy with their stretch marks and want to erase them completely, surgery in the form of a tummy tuck is an option. During that procedure, the surgeon makes an incision below the belly button, lifts up the skin and tightens the stomach muscles.

"We're going to pull that skin down. All of this stretch-marked skin, that's all going to go away, and we're going to create a new belly button and throw all that away. Now we've got good skin between the belly button and the lower pubic area," Dr. Vander Kolk said.

Dr. Vander Kolk added that it is a relatively short operation that's usually done under general anesthesia. Patients can go home the same day.

To view WBAL-TV11’s interview with Dr. Craig Vander Kolk at Mercy Medical Center regarding stretch marks, click here.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit, MDMercyMedia on FacebookTwitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.

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