What does a tummy tuck scar look like?

by | Feb 15, 2023

What does a tummy tuck scar look like?

A tummy tuck procedure has many exciting benefits including: flatter stomach, smoother skin, contoured waistline, and tighter muscle tone. However, with all of these improvements, the trade-off is a permanent incision scar. Although the tummy tuck scar is an important factor to consider, most people will find that this scar is a small sacrifice for a significant improvement in the appearance of the abdomen. The good news is, tummy tuck scars are usually very discrete and hidden below the waistline. There are also ways to help minimize the appearance of the scar once it is healed. 

Tummy tuck scars will be most prominent right after surgery and will fade over time. Initially the scars may appear purplish, and sometimes it may be bumpy. The bumpiness will smoothen out on its own over time and the scar will lighten. Scars are usually well-healed about 12 weeks after surgery, but it can take about 12 months to 2 years to fully heal. 

There are 5 key factors that affect the appearance of your tummy tuck scar.

#1 Type of Tummy Tuck Technique 

The type of tummy tuck technique plays a big role on what type of scar you will end up with. The technique used is based on the amount of excess skin removal and muscle repair required. 

The variations of tummy tuck incision include:

Mini Tummy Tuck

A Mini Tummy Tuck involves a horizontal scar that is about a few inches in length and sits below the bikini line; no new belly button is created. This is ideal for those with minimal excess skin correction. 

Standard Tummy Tuck

A Standard Tummy Tuck or Full Tummy Tuck involves a horizontal incision that extends from hip to hip, along with a scar around the belly button. This technique is the most common technique used. This is ideal for those who need a small or medium amount of skin removal. 

Extended Tummy Tuck

An Extended Tummy Tuck involves a horizontal incision that extends from the hips to beyond the hip bone, and a scar around the belly button. This is ideal for patients who have a lot of saggy skin hanging down their abdominal region and also the waistline,

Fleur-de-Lis Tummy Tuck

A Fleur-de-Lis Tummy Tuck scar runs horizontal from hip to hip, along with a vertical scar down the center of the abdomen, and a scar around the belly button.This technique allows for both horizontal and vertical skin tightening, which is ideal for those who have a substantial amount of excess skin due to massive weight loss. 

#2 Surgeon’s Experience and Technique 

The surgeon’s technique and experience will play an important factor in the aesthetic outcome of the tummy tuck scar. At Clinic 360, your experienced plastic surgeon uses a multiple layer suture technique to close the wounds. This will help evenly distribute the tension on the tissue for a smoother closure to further reduce the visibility of the scar.

The technique used to reshape and reposition the new belly button can make or break the aesthetic results of the tummy tuck. Creating a natural looking belly button with minimal visible scarring takes an experienced surgeon with great technique and judgment as no belly button shape is the same and there is no “one shape fits all.” 

#3 Genetics, Skin Quality, and the Ability to Heal

Each individual heals differently, and some people are more prone to noticeable scarring than others. Genetics, skin tone and skin quality all play an important role in the skin’s ability to heal. Smoking before or after surgery may also affect how the skin heals, as nicotine impairs the immune system.

#4 Adherence to Post-Operative Instructions

It is important to follow your post-operative instructions for your wound care. This will help your incisions heal properly and prevent infections. Infected incisions can lead to more prominent scarring. If you suspect an infection on your incision let your surgeon know immediately. It’s also important to keep your scars away from the sun, as UV exposure can darken and thicken scarring. 

#5 Scar Treatments

Once your wound is healed, and you have the approval of your surgeon, you can start your scar treatment. Scar treatments are intended to help reduce the appearance of the scars, not completely remove the scars. There are many treatment options available, from home treatments like silicone scar gel or tape, to more advanced treatments like microneedling and laser. One really effective method of reducing scar appearance is to massage it daily; your surgeon will show you the proper technique to massage your scars. Your surgeon may also suggest a steroid injection to help reduce the appearance of a raised, thick, or red scar such as a keloid scar.

Still unsure how you feel about tummy tuck scars?

The decision to have a tummy tuck procedure is a big decision. If you are still hesitant about the tummy tuck scars, rest assured that the benefits of a tummy tuck will outweigh the appearance of the post-op scars. The scar is usually very discreet that can be seen only underneath your bikini waistline. 

During your free tummy tuck consultation your surgeon will address any further concerns you may have, and the proper measures to take pre and post-op to help minimize the appearance of the scar. To find out more about the procedure and after-care, book your consultation with our skilled surgical staff today.