As with any type of invasive surgery, scars after a tummy tuck are inevitable. Where there are incisions, there will always be tummy tuck scars.
Fortunately, most tummy tuck patients can avoid severe scarring. The majority of patients will be able to wear basically whatever they want after surgery — without showing any tummy tuck scars whatsoever.
If you’ve been considering a tummy tuck but are unsure about moving forward because you’re worried about scarring, this article is for you. Up ahead, we’ll go over what type of scarring you can expect after a tummy tuck, based on the exact type of surgery you undergo. We’ll also provide some tips to help you minimize the appearance of mature scars as much as possible.
What Type of Tummy Tuck Scars Will I Have?
The type of abdominoplasty scar (or scars) you’ll have after recovery will depend on what technique is used during your surgery. There are four basic abdominoplasty techniques, each of which will result in a different type of scar.
#1 – Full (Standard) Tummy Tuck
A full or standard tummy tuck is the most common abdominoplasty technique. This procedure necessitates two incisions to be made. One incision will be made horizontally from hip to hip. This incision allows your surgeon to pull down the abdominal skin and create a sleeker tummy. After healing, this abdominoplasty scar will be completely concealable underneath your pants and underwear.
The other incision made in a full or standard tummy tuck is one around the belly button. This is an easy-to-hide incision too because it basically fits inside the belly button and won’t be noticeable after it heals.
The belly button incision is made so that the skin can be pulled down over the belly button itself (the belly button will remain attached to the muscles below and there should be no belly button scar from tummy tuck). Then, a new hole will be made for the navel, which will be reattached and closed at the end of surgery.
#2 – Extended Tummy Tuck
An extended tummy tuck is for patients who require a bit more skin to be removed. Many of the patients who get an extended tummy tuck have lost a considerable amount of body fat, either through diet and exercise or bariatric surgery.
Again, only two incisions are made with this procedure. One incision is made around the belly button for the same reason as with a full tummy tuck. Another incision is made horizontally from hip to hip, but this incision is actually extended past both hips and around toward the back of the trunk. Naturally, this results in a longer scar, though it is still easily hidden.
The resulting extended tummy tuck scars typically extends from hip to hip.
#3 – Fleur-de-Lis Tummy Tuck
A fleur-de-lis tummy tuck (also known as an FDL tummy tuck) is also intended for patients who have lost a large amount of body fat. This is the only type of tummy tuck that requires three incisions to be made, which will result in three fdl tummy tuck scar. Liposuction surgery is often performed as well.
The first incision is made around the belly button, the second incision is made horizontally from hip to hip, and the third incision is made from the belly button down to the lower horizontal incision.
Scarring for this third incision will unfortunately be more noticeable than for the other two incisions (the belly button and horizontal incisions). But with proper aftercare and time, even this vertical scar will fade and ideally remain flat and hard to notice. Some patients even get permanent makeup and/or a tattoo over the fully-healed scar so as to match the color to the rest of the surrounding skin.
#4 – Mini Tummy Tuck
Lastly, a mini tummy tuck has only one incision. This is the incision made below the belly button on the lower abdomen, from hip to hip (the same incision made with all other types of tummy tucks).
This is the only incision because a mini tummy tuck only addresses excess loose skin on the lower abdomen. The position of the belly button does not change.
Tips for Reducing the Appearance of Tummy Tuck Scars
Take it slow (especially over the first few days).
Straining your abdomen too much can compromise your results after a tummy tuck, possibly popping your stitches or reopening an already-healed incision. It’s important to rest and take things slow as you recover. Make sure you have a comfortable space where you can relax, and get some help from friends and family. Don’t try to do everything yourself.
Stay out of the sun (and away from tanning beds).
If you expose your healed tummy tuck scar to the sun or the UV light of tanning beds, discoloration may occur. Basically, stay out of the sun and away from tanning beds. If you must be outside and your tummy tuck scars after one year will be exposed, use sunscreen (after the scar has closed up and healed) and/or cover your tummy tuck scars with adequate clothing and shade.
Wear your compression garments.
Compression garments help to hold everything in place around your surgical site. The light pressure on the incision area will minimize the appearance of tummy tuck scars by mitigating skin rippling, bumps, and wrinkles.
You will be put into a compression garment right after surgery, which you will continue to wear for a few days until your first follow-up appointment. After that, you may change into a different compression garment, but you will need to continue wearing it for several months thereafter.
Keep the area moisturized.
Once the incision has closed, Dr. Mohan may recommend using a cream, ointment, or oil on the area to keep it moisturized. By keeping a healed scar moisturized, you are helping it to stay flat and supple. Basically, you don’t want the scar to raise up into a bump or stay hard. You want it to feel soft to the touch and basically like the rest of the skin around it.
Questions and Answers
Q. How long after tummy tuck can I tattoo the scar?
A. It is generally recommended to wait at least 1 year after a tummy tuck before getting a tattoo on the scar. This allows sufficient time for the scar to fully heal and for any potential complications to be resolved.
Book Your Tummy Tuck Consultation with Dr. Raja Mohan Today
Are you considering a tummy tuck but aren’t sure if it’s the right move for you?
Dr. Raja Mohan and his staff work hard to ensure that all patients feel comfortable and welcome at his practice. Whether you simply want more information about tummy tucks, want to see tummy tuck scars before and after photos or you’re sure you’d like to move forward with the procedure, Dr. Raj can answer all of your questions and concerns.
Schedule your consultation appointment today by giving our office a call. We look forward to hearing from you!