Are you planning to undergo a tummy tuck to remove excess skin and fat, tighten your abdominal muscles, and create a smoother, firmer stomach? You probably expect to have some scarring after surgery, but did you know not every tummy tuck patient scars the same way?
Take a moment to learn more from the plastic surgeons at The Maryland Institute of Plastic Surgery in Baltimore, MD.
What You Can Do Before Your Tummy Tuck
During your initial consultation with your surgeon, be sure to ask about scarring. Highlight any specific concerns you may have about what your scar may look like. Your individualized surgery will determine the type of scar you’ll end up with.
Don’t forget to bring your favorite underwear or bikini bottoms with you to your surgical planning appointment to get a clear understanding of where the scarring will be relative to your panty line.
What Type of Scarring to Expect
The type of scarring you can expect will depend on the placement and technique required by your procedure.
You might not know it, but the belly button is often one of the focal points where tummy tuck scarring occurs.
The belly button scar in a traditional tummy tuck is usually not visible because the tightening of the abdominal wall pulls it in. In mini tummy tucks that involve less fat and skin, and smaller incisions, belly button scars may not be an issue.
The area most commonly affected by tummy tucks is the portion of the belly between the navel and pelvic area.
For all tummy tucks, part of the abdomen will have a scar running horizontally across the lower abdomen between the hips. The length of the scar can vary from being only a couple of inches long to the entire width of the abdomen, and in some cases, may extend up and over the hips to the back.
If you’re facing the possibility of a lower abdomen tummy tuck scar, your doctor will advise you on the best options for the least invasive procedures.
Most surgeons will seek to place tummy tuck scars as low as physically possible. In many cases, you’ll be able to conceal the scar beneath underwear and bathing suits, hence the earlier recommendation that you bring your favorite underwear or swimsuit bottom with you to your initial consultation.
What You Can Do After Your Tummy Tuck to Treat and Reduce Scarring
Though scarring is inevitable, there are precautions you can take before and after surgery to minimize its visibility. Practical self-care strategies, like not smoking and eating a healthy diet before and after surgery, will reduce the risk of complications that could lead to noticeable scarring.
Apply Topical Vitamin E
Vitamin E topically may improve the appearance of scars and can also help keep the incision moisturized as it heals.
Don’t Forget the Sunscreen
Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher on your scar and, if possible, avoid exposing the scar to the sun.
Watch for Signs of Infection
Cleaning your incision daily will keep your scar healthy, minimize its appearance and reduce your risk of infection.
Other Ways to Reduce Scarring
Your tummy tuck scar should be mostly healed after about 12 weeks. Before deciding if you want to undergo any surgical procedures that will minimize the scar’s appearance, it’s best to wait until it has fully healed.
Your doctor might recommend some treatments that can help improve your tummy tuck scar’s size, color, and texture.
- Laser treatment: Vascular lasers collapse the tiny blood vessels on the skin’s surface and can even resurface the skin. Healthy collagen replaces the scarred skin and improves the overall texture and color.
- Surgical scar revision: For your scar to be closer in texture and tone to the rest of your skin, your doctor may choose a combination of topical treatments, surgical revision, and other minimally invasive procedures.
Next Steps on Your Tummy Tuck Journey at The Maryland Institute of Plastic Surgery
As you have already discovered, your plastic surgeon will tailor your tummy tuck to your specific needs and body type. Keep in mind that additional procedures such as liposuction, vascular laser, and other treatments could help you achieve even better results.
Find out more from your board-certified plastic surgeons at The Maryland Institute of Plastic Surgery by scheduling your consultation by calling us at (410) 744-0900 or contacting us through our website.