Tummy tucks, known in the medical world as abdominoplasties are procedures that create tight, firm and flat stomachs by reducing excess skin, removing fat through liposuction and in some cases, tightening abdominal muscles. What patients worry most about during consultations and after the procedure is the scarring. The size of the scar depends on whether you have a mini tuck or a full tuck – and no two patients scar the same. The good news is that all tummy tuck scars will fade over time starting as soon as one month after surgery. However, it is important to note that the scar will not completely disappear.
Where will my incision be placed during tummy tuck surgery?
Tummy tuck Incision Placement
A tummy tuck incision is created horizontally across the lower abdomen. When undergoing a full tummy tuck, there may also be a scar around your belly button. In mini tucks the horizontal scar is much smaller than full tummy tucks. The location and severity of the scar depends on the amount of fat and skin removed and the patient’s body structure. At PURE, the scar will be placed in the most inconspicuous area possible so that wearing swimsuits, undergarments and low-cut jeans can be done without the scar being visible.
What are the healing stages of a tummy tuck scar?
The healing process of a tummy tuck scar
Right after and up to four (4) weeks post-surgery your body will create collagen fibers that work to close the tummy tuck scar. The collagen will continue to establish at the incision to protect and strengthen the closure and blood supply to the area will increase. For the next four (4) to six (6) months, the collagen and blood will cause the incision to thicken and darken in color – from a red to a dark brown depending on the amount of melanin in your body. One (1) to two (2) years after surgery the collagen will form at the incision and the blood supply to the area will decrease, which will cause the scar to lighten and become thinner.
What color will my tummy tuck scar be after surgery?
Color of the tummy tuck scar
Immediately after surgery the scar will be a deep red or dark brown depending on the amount of melanin in the skin and how your skin naturally scars. At about two (2) months after surgery the scar will appear to be at its worse, but over time the scar will begin to fade and can often revert to pre-surgery color or lighter.
How do I ensure optimal healing of my tummy tuck scar?
Tummy tuck scar healing
The most important part of optimally healing a tummy tuck scar is following your surgeon’s post operative care instructions, which include rest and avoiding lifting heavy objects or putting pressure on the scar for six (6) weeks after surgery. It is also important to clean the wound thoroughly and to make sure any dressings or drains are cleaned properly to avoid infection, suture displacement or scar complications.
What happens to my tummy tuck scar if I am prone to Hypertrophic scars or Keloids?
Hypertrophic scars, Keloids and tummy tucks
When the body produces an excess amount of collagen it can cause Hypertrophic scarring. The most common type of Hypertrophic scarring are Keloids. These can cause a raised tummy tuck scar that may be a deeper red or darker brown than the rest of your skin. If this is the case, share this with your surgeon so together you can discuss the outcome and ways to minimize scarring.
How can I minimize scarring after tummy tuck surgery?
Minimizing tummy tuck scars
Tummy tuck scaring is unavoidable and permanent, however, there are steps you can take to minimize scar visibility and improve skin texture. To minimize scarring post tummy tuck it is imperative to follow your surgeon’s post-operative incision care instructions, which include hygiene requirements.
After surgery, you should always monitor for infection. If there is any suspicion that the incision is infected, please contact your surgeon immediately. While the scar is healing, you should refrain from wearing extremely tight clothing or apparel that irritates and rubs the skin.
When the incision has fully healed and the scabs are gone, you can begin applying topical treatment as prescribed or suggested by your surgeon to reduce the appearance and keep the scar area moisturized. These could include silicone gels, Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter and Vitamin E. For one (1) year after surgery you should avoid sun and UV exposure to the area, and after the incision has fully healed, adding sunscreen to your wound care regiment is ideal.
Diet and mental health are also important factors to optimal incision healing after a tummy tuck. Eating a balanced diet and avoiding smoking and heavy drinking can help to heal your body faster.
If you feel your scar is not healing properly, please contact your surgeon. There are options, such as laser procedures and injections that can be administered to the scar to improve the texture, color and size.