There are probably a hundred questions you want to ask your Surgeon before you have a Tummy Tuck procedure. One of the key questions asked by patients about to have Abdominoplasty Surgery relates to what their “Tummy Tuck scars” will look like after surgery.
Your tummy tuck surgery scar and treating your incision lines
As with all cosmetic or reconstructive plastic surgery, you will have a visible scar after surgery. The question then becomes, how much can you help it to heal in the best way possible, or reduce your risks of unsightly scarring?
- Scars will vary in shape and size and also how much they fade.
- Your healing capacities, recovery processes, genetics, skin tone/skin melanin, and other factors will influence the visibility of your scar but you WILL have a visible scar after a Tummy Tuck or other big surgery involving excess skin reduction/removal and body contouring (including thigh lift surgery and arm lift surgery).
The best questions to ask your Specialist Plastic Surgeon about your Abdominal scars include:
1. Where will my tummy tuck scar be located?
- Your scar(s) after a tummy tuck will typically be located in your lower abdomen area, above your pubis and below your belly button.
- Scars may run horizontally (curved or potentially zigzagged rather than straight) across your lower abdomen, and are usually – but not always – positioned below your belt-line or waist-line area.
- You may also end up with a vertical scar, potentially from your pubis area to your navel location, depending on which type of Tummy Tuck surgery you require.
- There are different types of Tummy Tucks including full abdominoplasty or mini-tummy-tuck – Find out more by requesting a consultation to discover which type of Abdominoplasty will best suit your specific needs and skin condition.
2. What shape will the Tummy Tuck scar be in – straight, curved, zigzag or squiggly?
What shape or dimensions your scar takes as you heal depends NOT ONLY on where the incision line was placed for your procedure, but how your incision line healed. Some aspects of scarring are controllable and some are not; remember, every patient’s surgery and healing journey is unique.
Also, if you smoke, if you get an infection or you try to do too much, too soon after surgery, you can stretch your scars or worsen them. If so, your scar(s) after a Tummy Tuck procedure may appear more prominent (so DO follow your Surgeon’s instructions and the Post-Op Guide – as prescribed by your Surgeon – carefully; and ASK your Surgeon before resuming strenuous activities including driving, housework, lifting and the gym).
The Shape, Length and Width Dimensions of Tummy Tuck Scars Vary from Patient to Patient
- Your tummy tuck scar may look like a long squiggly line or like an inverted T shape or anchor shape.
- Your abdominal area scar(s) may also appear to be different on your left size versus your right side (just as your body is typically asymmetrical on each side; e.g., if you favour using one hand or leg over the other hand or leg, one usually becomes more muscular or leaner than the other side, albeit typically a small amount).
- For some patients, the incision line needed to get a good tummy tuck operation result needs to extend to the hip area – or even slightly beyond the hip to the lower back area, such as for an Extended Abdominoplasty or Circumferential Abdominoplasty.
- It can vary from patient to patient, so ask your Surgeon during a confidential consultation and get the answers that are right for you. Phone us today on (03) 8849 1444 to get started choosing which of our Team of Surgeons is going to be best to meet with about your surgery procedure, depending on what you need, your surgery timing and surgery planning preferences, and communication style; and whether or not you are going to need multiple procedures or combined procedures performed to get the body contours you’re wanting to attain.
3. How long will the scar be after a Tummy Tuck procedure?
- The scar will be as long as it needs to be to get you a good result from your Tummy Tuck.
- It typically runs from hip to hip or slightly beyond, between the pubis area and the navel.
- There may also be a vertical scar and your navel may be re-aligned to suit your new contours.
- You may also have a scar around your navel, although, for some patients, it may not be as visible as your other Tummy Tuck scar(s). That’s because the incision lines for navel surgery performed as part of a Tummy Tuck may be strategically placed to fall inside the navel area, but it can vary significantly from patient to patient.
4. Can I hide my tummy tuck scar under a swimsuit or other clothing including underwear?
It really depends, and there will be some variability from patient to patient. However, frequently (but not always), your Abdominoplasty surgery scar can be hidden with a swimsuit bottom or a pair of underwear, or below the belt-line of your jeans.
A Fleur De Lis Abdominoplasty may also, however, involve a vertical incision line from the navel area downwards. Ask your Surgeon which type of Tummy Tuck is best for what you’re wanting to accomplish, and what you’re starting with (a standard Tummy Tuck, a mini-Tummy Tuck, an Extended or Circumferential Tummy Tuck, or a Fleur De Lis Tummy Tuck).
5. What are some of the best ways to treat scars after Tummy Tuck surgery?
- Healite II treatments (if recommended, you might get Healite II within 2 to 4 weeks post-operation; if you choose to purchase a LightStim, you can start this 2 weeks post-op).
- Fraxel Laser (usually instigated between 8 and 12 weeks after your surgery, some variability)
- DermaPen (usually instigated between 10 and 12 weeks after your surgery, some variability)
- Laser Genesis (less-invasive laser treatment, helps with collagen remodelling and may be beneficial for scars that are red and a bit thickened, hypertrophic scars)
- Intense Pulsed Light (IPL treatments) – if your scar is pink and a bit pigmented
- Rapid Recovery Pack – check your Post-Op Guide for which oil(s) might be appropriate for your scars and ask your Surgeon and your Dermal Clinician WHEN you can use this (as fresh incision lines/fresh scars need to be cared for in a particular manner, that your Surgeon will advise you on)
6. What if I get a keloid scar after a Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty?
- If you are prone to Keloid scarring or have a complication with your incision line, your surgery scar may appear raised or bumpy looking.
- If you have a tendency to have raised or red and purple looking scars, let your Surgeon know in advance.
- You’ll be treated by our Dermal Clinicians who may suggest a variety of modalities to assist you in reducing the appearance of the scar (but as with all body and breast surgeries and most facial procedures, other than perhaps a closed rhinoplasty procedure, you will have a visible scar).
7. How does your Surgeon decide where your abdominoplasty scar (Tummy Tuck scar) will be located?
- The scar for any plastic surgery procedure is always where the incision line needs to be in order for your Surgeon to aim to get you a great result.
- The same holds true for body contouring after weight loss or pregnancy, such as removal of the abdominal apron, excess abdominal fat and drooping belly skin through what’s called a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) procedure.
Your Surgeon will use precision surgical planning, complex surgical techniques and strategic incision line placement strategies.
These surgery decisions are informed by numerous factors. These might include:
- how much excess skin you have in your abdominal area
- your level of body fat or your BMI
- where the body fat or excess skin has accumulated in the abdominal area
- whether you have an abdominal hernia or diastasis recti (torn abs after pregnancy)
- whether or not liposuction is also being used for extra waistline shaping
- other factors your Surgeon will discuss
Tummy Tuck Scar treatments and certain skin products can sometimes help to minimise your surgical scars over time.
When possible, incisions are typically made in areas where they are less likely to be clearly noticeable. Even so, there may be certain things that can be done to help the scar heal better (meaning, less visible or less noticeable over time).
Scar management strategies may be highly recommended by your Specialist Plastic Surgeon in Melbourne; several treatments may be required and it can take up to 2 years to see the final scar results after having a Tummy Tuck proc
Depending on your chosen procedure and scar formation and healing processes, there are a number of scar treatments available to you following your surgery, should this be recommended by your Plastic Surgeon.
- A scar consultation with a Dermal Clinician helps your team work out your best scar treatment options
- You’ll tend to get a minimum of 3 scar treatments tailored to suit your scar and/or skin type
- Several of these are included with your Price Quote for Plastic Surgery (Melbourne)
- Ask your Surgeon for details during a consultation or pre-surgery planning discussion.
Other ways you can help minimise your treat your scar after a Tummy Tuck
Optional purchases you can decide to make to treat a scar include:
- LightStim – a take-home LED device that helps you heal and minimises your scar ($289 including GST) – you can purchase from Coco Ruby Skin & Anti-Ageing.
- Strataderm – Silicone Gel
- If you have a raised scar, get the Silicone Strips (Mepiform)
- Silica Sheets (Cicacare Silicone Sheets)
- Topical skin lightening products prescribed by a Doctor and purchased from a Compounding Pharmacist
What to know about your SCAR as it heals: Surgeon Recommendations
- Like most scars, any scars that result after your operation will pass through several phases of healing.
- If you’re caring for your scars properly, you will tend to notice a gradual improvement and reduction in visibility over time.
- If you have concerns, make an appointment with your Surgery team.
Which Surgeon should I choose for my Tummy Tuck?
Do you know the difference between a Cosmetic Surgeon versus a Specialist Plastic Surgeon? Find out what they are.
Download Our Tummy Tuck Guide