Scarring is a big concern for anyone considering a tummy tuck. Many people fear the procedure will give them an ugly, noticeable scar that they’ll have for the rest of their lives.
Like any surgical procedure, a tummy tuck does leave a scar along the incision line. But there’s a lot to know about how the incision is made, how it heals, and what patients can do to minimize the scar’s appearance both pre- and post-surgery.
If you’re thinking about getting a tummy tuck, read on as the team at The Plastic Surgery Group addresses any apprehensions by explaining what you need to know about tummy tuck scars.
Facts About Tummy Tuck Scars
During the tummy tuck procedure, a surgeon makes two incisions in an upside-down T-shape. One incision is made on the lower abdomen just above the pubic hairline, and the other is made by the belly button.
The abdominal incision is placed low enough that it can be concealed beneath underwear and bathing suit bottoms, and the scar near the belly button can be placed within the creases and folds of the skin so it’s concealed naturally.
A tummy tuck scar fades over time. The scar looks its worst immediately post-surgery. But its appearance will continue to improve over the next several years.
Some people are more prone to noticeable scarring than others, however. Genetics play a role, as does skin tone and quality and whether a person smokes.
How to Minimize Tummy Tuck Scars
Patients can take measures both before and after a tummy tuck to minimize the appearance of scars.
Patients should stop smoking at least six weeks before tummy tuck surgery, and they should discuss any concerns they have about the shape and location of the scar with their surgeon. Patients can bring a pair of bathing suit bottoms to their consultation and talk to their surgeon about potential adjustments to the incision’s location.
After the procedure, patients should follow their surgeon’s post-operation instructions. They should avoid vigorous exercise, including sexual activity and anything that involves lifting heavy items, stretching or putting pressure on the abdomen.
Patients should also apply sunscreen and topical vitamin E to their scar. Sunscreen prevents the scar from becoming darker than the surrounding skin, and some research has shown that vitamin E can reduce the appearance of scars.
As time passes, if patients are still unsatisfied with their scar’s appearance, the following options are available:
- Steroid applications and injections
- Laser resurfacing
- Scar revision surgery
- Punch grafts
To learn more about tummy tuck scarring, please contact The Plastic Surgery Group at City Centre to set up an appointment with one of our experienced plastic surgeons.