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What is a Tummy Tuck Scar?

A Tummy Tuck scar, also called an Abdominoplasty scar, is a mark resulting from an incision across the hip bone or just above your pubic area made during the procedure.

The length and appearance of the scar depends on the type of Tummy Tuck performed and your individual healing process. While scars after a Tummy Tuck are inevitable, surgeons strategically place incisions to ensure that you can conceal them.

By following the post-operative instructions suggested by your surgeon, these scars gradually become less noticeable and fade over time.


What Are the Different Types of Tummy Tuck Scar?

There are several types of Tummy Tuck scar depending on the surgical technique used. They include the following: 

  • Full Tummy Tuck scar: This runs horizontally across the lower abdomen from hip to hip, right above the pubic area. In some cases, a second incision around the navel is necessary to reposition the belly button as part of a standard Tummy Tuck, resulting in a small second scar.
  • Mini Tummy Tuck scar: This scar is also located just above your pubic area,  but is much shorter than a traditional Tummy Tuck scar. Surgeons place the incision strategically so you can hide a Mini Abdominoplasty scar with underwear or swimwear.
  • Extended Tummy Tuck scar:  The scar from an Extended Tummy Tuck runs beyond the hip bones to the back of the hips and is left after removing love handles and back fat.
  • Fleur-de-Lis Tummy Tuck scar: This scar involves both vertical and horizontal incisions from the pubic area to the chest, creating a ‘T’ shape.

While the visibility and length of Abdominoplasty scars will vary, our experienced surgeons at Cadogan Clinic will place them as strategically as possible to minimise their visibility. Consultation with our surgeons before the procedure will help you to understand the Tummy Tuck scarring you can expect and the outcomes of your procedure.


Can You Prevent a Tummy Tuck Scar?

Scars after a Tummy Tuck procedure can't be prevented entirely, but there are measures you can take to reduce the risk of developing a significant scar which is more difficult to fade. 

Select a surgeon who has experience and expertise in performing Tummy Tucks. Expert surgeons ensure precise incision placement and have excellent suture techniques, which are essential for less conspicuous scars.

Vitamin A supplements taken weeks or months before the surgery may improve the rate of healing for the wound. Check with your surgeon before taking any supplements in the period before your surgery. 

Mental preparation before undergoing a Tummy Tuck is also important. You should understand the scope of the procedure and the recovery process in detail. It is also crucial to have realistic expectations for the outcomes. This can help you to foster a positive mindset before and after the procedure. 

Maintaining a healthy diet and staying hydrated in the run-up to the procedure enhances your body’s ability to heal. A well-nourished body can recover faster, leading to less pronounced scarring. Consume nutrients from food that support skin health and wound healing, like zinc (red meat), vitamin C (citrus fruits)  and protein (poultry and fish).

At Cadogan Clinic, our surgeons help you understand how the scars will be placed to be as discreet as possible. You can also see the Tummy Tuck before and after scar pictures to better understand what to expect.


What Are the Tummy Tuck Scar Healing Stages?

A Tummy Tuck scar has three stages of healing - Inflammatory phase, Proliferation phase and Maturation phase. Each of these phases is crucial for your overall recovery and the final appearance of the scar.

Inflammatory phase

This initial phase begins right after the surgery and lasts for around two weeks. During this time, your body protects the wound against infection and starts to heal. You will experience swelling, redness and some discomfort at the incision site.

Proliferation phase

This stage can last between two weeks and two months after the surgery depending on your personal healing process. Throughout this phase, your body produces new tissue and collagen that are essential for closing up the wound. Your scar may appear raised and red as new blood vessels form and supply nutrients to where the incision was made.

Maturation phase

This is the most lengthy Tummy Tuck scar healing phase and can take 2-12 months or more after surgery. During this time, the scar will become flatter, lighter, and softer as the collagen remodels and the blood vessels recede.


How Long Does a Tummy Tuck Scar Take to Heal?

Tummy Tuck scars typically take 12 months in total to fully heal. There are various stages to the healing process including the following:

  • Week 1: This time is focused on recovery from the surgery. Surgical dressings will cover the incision site, and you may have drains placed to remove excess fluid. It's important to follow the post-operative care instructions that include using compression garments, resting, and taking care of the wound.
  • Week 2-4: The swelling and bruising will subside throughout this time, and you may start to feel more comfortable. The scar will remain sensitive and prominent, but you will be able to resume light activities. Continuing to care for the wound and avoiding strenuous activities is crucial during this period.
  • Month 1-2: You will notice significant improvements during this time, with swelling diminishing and the scar entering the proliferation phase. It might still appear red and raised. You can start a gentle scar massage (if advised by your surgeon) to promote flexibility and improve blood flow.
  • Month 3-6: The scar enters the maturation phase and begins to flatten during this time while still having a pink or red hue. UV protection during this time is essential to prevent hyperpigmentation, where the skin around the scar becomes darker.
  • Month 6-12: Your Tummy Tuck scar will become paler and appear less prominent during this time as it fully heals.

It’s essential to see your surgeon for follow-up visits after the procedure to monitor the healing process and address any concerns.


How to Minimise Your Abdominoplasty Scars?

You can minimise your Abdominoplasty scars by taking appropriate measures before and after the procedure and following your post-operative care instructions.

You should emphasise optimal skin health through targeted nutrition during your Tummy Tuck recovery. Incorporate foods that boost wound healing and skin regeneration, such as omega-3 fatty acids and proteins.  

Following your surgeon's post-operative instructions is important to ensure the wound heals properly and fades over time. This includes wearing compression garments, caring for the wound properly to prevent infection, and avoiding strenuous activities. 

Gently massaging the scar after it has had time to heal can improve flexibility and reduce scar tissue buildup. Speak with your surgeon for an assessment of the wound for them to advise you on whether to go ahead with this or wait a little longer for recovery. You can also use silicone gel or sheets to maintain skin hydration and promote even healing. 

It is equally important to keep the healing wound away from direct sun exposure to prevent scarring. If the scar area is going to be exposed to the sun, apply high-SPF sunscreen.  


What Are the Best Scar Treatments for Tummy Tucks Scarring?

Several treatments, such as scar revision surgery, steroid injections, and Laser resurfacing, effectively reduce the appearance of a Tummy Tuck scar. Complete Abdominoplasty scar removal is not always possible, which is another reason discrete placement of the incisions is very important.

Scar revision surgery

This involves removing or reducing the scar tissue, followed by reclosing the incision precisely for a less noticeable scar. The surgery works best for existing Tummy Tuck scars that have healed poorly or for those that are more prominent than expected.

Steroid injections

Corticosteroid injections are used to treat hypertrophic scars and keloids, which are raised, red, and often painful scars. The injections help reduce the inflammation, flatten the scar and make it less conspicuous. You might need more than one treatment, spaced several weeks apart for the best results. 

Laser resurfacing

Laser resurfacing removes and remodels the outer layers of the skin. The treatment encourages new skin growth that is smoother and less scarred. Laser scar treatment improves Tummy Tuck scars by making them more consistent with the rest of your skin colour and texture. 

 

Our experienced surgeons at Cadogan Clinic will guide you in choosing the best scar management treatment for your concerns. Please contact us to speak with our dedicated patient advisors and organise a consultation with one of our consultant surgeons.

Words From Our Founder

Mr. Bryan Mayou

When considering Abdominoplasty, concerns about scarring are understandable. However, our approach focuses on minimising visible scarring by carefully placing incisions in areas that can be concealed by underwear or swimwear. While scars are inevitable, they typically fade over time, becoming less noticeable throughout the healing process. Many patients find that the benefits of Abdominoplasty surgery, including increased comfort and improved appearance, outweigh any concerns about scarring. Our goal is to ensure that patients feel confident and satisfied with their results, while also providing comprehensive support throughout the healing process.
Mr. Bryan Mayou

FAQs

While there are non-surgical ways to get a flat stomach, there is no such thing as a no-scar Tummy Tuck. All Abdominoplasty procedures, whether Traditional, Mini or Extensive, involve incisions, which inevitably lead to Tummy Tuck scarring. 

It’s not possible to completely get rid of Tummy Tuck scars. Your scars will fade over time with post-operative care. The various treatments, like scar revision surgery or Laser resurfacing, also make them less visible, but they can't be eliminated entirely. 

Creams with silicone are the best for healing Tummy Tuck scarring. They promote healing, reduce redness and improve the texture of the scar. Be sure to consult with your surgeon for personalised recommendations on scar creams. 

Some Tummy Tucks leave vertical scars as they aim to remove excess skin from the abdomen both horizontally and vertically. This approach, known as a Fleur-de-Lis Abdominoplasty, is used to address excessive skin laxity after substantial weight loss. 

Liposuction and a Tummy Tuck are different procedures. Abdominoplasty primarily removes excess skin and tightens the abdomen muscles whereas Liposuction removes areas of stubborn fat across different areas of the body - which may include the abdomen. Liposuction and Tummy Tuck can be combined into a procedure called a Brazilian Abdominoplasty.

A reverse Tummy Tuck scar runs horizontally across your lower chest after cosmetic surgery to remove loose skin and fat from the upper abdomen. 


Treatments mentioned in this article



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