Also known as abdominoplasty, a tummy tuck is a procedure that removes excess fat and skin and restores weakened muscles. The result is a leaner, smoother, and slimmer abdominal profile.
As one of the most popular cosmetic surgical procedures, a tummy tuck was performed 140,711 times in 2019.
Probably one of the most common questions about abdominoplasty is how the scars will look like. In this post, we’re going to discuss tummy tuck scars and what to expect after this procedure. In general the scars will fade like your other scars from surgeries. A good example which most women can relate to or have a friend they can ask about it is a c-section scar.
Regardless of the type of abdominoplasty and whether it’s a mini tummy tuck or full tummy tuck, scars are bound to happen. The exact position of these scars depends on the type of procedure. Below you can see the basic rundown of tummy tuck scars.
The abdominoplasty procedure leaves a scar running horizontally across the lower abdomen from hip to hip. The scar is located beneath the belly button and above the pubic area. The length of the scar depends on the type of tummy tuck surgery.
The scar doesn’t always go around the belly button.This is usually present in full abdominoplasty. Although very visible at first, overtime, it blends into the abdomen and becomes less noticeable.
Even though most tummy tuck cars are horizontal, sometimes vertical incisions are also necessary. As a result, a patient ends up with a vertical scar in the midline (known as a fleurs de lis tummy tuck). The vertical incision lines are necessary when a patient has a lot of excess skin to tighten it more effectively.
Some patients may produce irregular scars, but this is rare. The irregular scars form due to excess of collagen, and they include:
· Hypertrophic scars – raised and redder than the affected tissue
· Keloid scars – form beyond the original wound site (typically genetic patients will know if they are likely to develop this based on previous scar history)
The healing process of tummy tucks scars is not something we can generalize. Many factors that influence scar healing are specific to each patient. These include age, genetics, smoking, infection tension, size, and depth of the wound. Your general health and wellbeing also play a role in how fast the scars heal and fade. Below you can see the general description of the healing process of tummy tuck scars indifferent stages.
Scar looks red and tender. Swelling, inflammation, and a bit of oozing are typical at this time. To prevent infection, you need to keep the scar clean and bandaged
One month post-op, the scar is dark red or brown, depending on the skin tone of each patient. It's normal for the scar to be slightly raised, swollen, and somewhat lumpy at this stage. Remember, the procedure was only a month ago.
By the two-month stage, the incisions should be completely healed. They will leave behind some long scars that will look prominent for a few months. Scars may be red or purple and slightly elevated. As they continue to heal over the next few months, the scars may be somewhat puffy.
Three months post-op, the scars are still red. At this point, inflammation, swelling, and puffiness start to subside. The scar appears flatter.
It’s perfectly natural to notice scars are still visible even six months of the postoperative period. At this point, the scars gradually lose their pigmentation. This means there won’t be prominent red color, and you can see the scar fade. Instead, your scar may appear rosy pink or soft brown.
By this time, most patients make a full recovery. The swelling is completely gone, and scars have faded considerably.
Scars after a tummy tuck are inevitable. Your skin needs to heal first. Although the scars don't go away entirely, they fade over time. However, there are some useful things you can do to make scars less visible and speed up the healing process. These include:
· Adhere to the plastic surgeon’s recommendations – after the procedure; your plastic surgeon will show you how to care for the incision and scar. Adhere to these recommendations religiously
· Moisturize – get yourself a rich moisturizer that nourishes the skin in order to “soften” the scar and make it blend in easily with the rest of the skin. Whether using a moisturizer, cream, or silicone gel make sure to start when the incision has healed, i.e., when there are no more scabs
· Injections – steroid injections and dermal fillers are an effective tummy tuck scar revision method
· Tattoo – probably the easiest way to make scars less visible is to get a tattoo, but you will be able to do this once your skin has fully healed
· No tanning – UV exposure will make the scars darker and thicker. Avoid tanning your scars (i.e.make sure they are covered by bikini bottom)
· Avoid irritating clothes and products – products with harsh formulas and clothes made of uncomfortable and irritating fabrics can cause redness and make the scars appear prominent
· A healthy lifestyle – the best thing to do in the long-run is to make lifestyle changes.For example, you can quit smoking and try to keep weight in a healthy range
· See a surgeon – board-certified plastic surgeon can recommend laser treatments that aim to make yours cars less visible
The tummy tuck is a popular plastic surgery procedure that people choose to get a slimmer profile, look great in a bathing suit, and feel more confident. Scars are normal after this procedure, but various factors influence the healing process and the rate at which they fade. Adhere to the instructions provided by the plastic surgeon to make them less visible.