Have you been wondering how much better your midsection might look if you went ahead with that tummy tuck you’ve been thinking of having? You may know that the tummy tuck is very well known for tightening loose and saggy abdominal muscles and for smoothing abdominal skin that has gotten droopy. If you’re serious about wanting to improve your appearance, you may have even seen some before and after pictures of people who’ve had a tummy tuck. Still, you might question how well your body may heal from this procedure. In particular, many patients wonder about scarring. Here, we discuss what you might expect in terms of scarring after a tummy tuck and how you can maximize your capacity to heal.
What Type of Scarring to Expect
Tummy Tuck scarring is not the same for everyone. This isn’t because every person heals differently so much as it is that tummy tucks can involve different incisions. So, scarring also relates to the incision placement and technique used during the procedure.
Patients who undergo full abdominoplasty have more tissue to tighten and smooth but have this done without repositioning the belly button. To achieve the desired outcome, the surgeon moves the abdominal tissue around the belly button. This can result in a scar around this central part of the abdomen. While many patients may see a scar around the belly button after traditional abdominoplasty, this typically fades and blends in very nicely over time.
To tighten the abdominal muscle and skin, a surgeon makes a long incision between the hip bones. This may sit between the imaginary horizontal line between the two hip bones and the pubic area. The length of the scar may vary depending on the type of abdominoplasty performed. A surgeon may also choose from a few different incision types, depending on the patient’s unique anatomy. In all cases, though, this horizontal incision is made lower than most waistbands would sit across the hips. Patients can expect to comfortably wear bikinis and for their scar to be hidden beneath the underwear.
How to Treat Tummy Tuck Scarring
There are two approaches to post-surgical scar treatment. One is to optimize tissue healing to reduce the severity of scarring. The other is to treat scarring as it forms or after it has formed.
Initially, surgical scars look red and may be raised or puckered. This is because cells are holding the healing skin together and the body’s production of collagen is somewhat dysregulated. It’s not neat and tidy but it works. Over several weeks, the originally disorganized strands of collagen will break down and get replaced with a more consistent, uniform collagen matrix under the skin. While this is happening, the internal stitches placed during surgery are weakening, so the healing incision has less support. To help the skin heal as well as it can, patients may use scar tape or other products approved by the surgeon.
Some of the strategies that patients can use to assist with wound healing include:
- Follow post-operative instructions very carefully. These are designed to help incisions heal at their own pace, without additional stress caused by too much physical activity.
- Nourish the body. What is put into the body before and after surgery has a direct impact on the body’s ability to produce healthy, strong collagen. Fresh, whole foods provide the protein, antioxidants, and vitamins that the body can put to good use.
- Avoid tanning. The color of a scar changes quite a bit over the entire year after abdominoplasty. Keeping the incisions away from ultraviolet light can decrease the risk of prolonged hyperpigmentation.
- If any products irritate the skin around incisions, stop using them. Wear soft, loose clothing that does not irritate the area where scarring has occurred.
Scarring is an inevitable part of having surgery. That said, there are ways to help your body heal optimally after a tummy tuck. When you’re ready to take the next step, we’re ready to help you! Contact us at 702.684.5502 to schedule a visit to our Henderson or Las Vegas, NV office.