Tummy Tuck Scarring Questions Answered

Attractive young woman in underwear smiling while standingThe midsection is an area of the body that most people know can harbor more fat than we’d like. For some, loose abdominal tissue isn’t even about existing fat, but fat that has been eliminated via surgery or diet and exercise. The issue with the midsection is that the muscle and skin can stretch to a degree that makes retraction difficult, nearly impossible. Women who have been pregnant may know exactly what we’re talking about. When we’re looking at the abdomen, there are several factors that could lead to laxity that just doesn’t seem to improve with lifestyle habits. This is why abdominoplasty is continually mentioned as a leading plastic surgery procedure. If you’re considering having a tummy tuck, we imagine that you’re thinking about recovery. Much has been written about how to manage post-op side effects. Here, we want to focus on the issue of scarring.

What Type of Scarring to Expect after a Tummy Tuck

If you have a tummy tuck, you can expect to have a scar that runs from one hipbone to the other. This is what most people think. It’s not necessarily inaccurate but it is lacking to describe the tummy tuck scar only in this way. There are a few types of scars that may be incurred by this procedure. One will exist at the lower abdomen, not far above the mons pubis, the line at which pubic hair begins. Another scar may or may not develop around the belly button. When you consult with a plastic surgeon about abdominoplasty, it is wise to ask direct questions about incision type, length, and pattern. For example, some incisions are low at the center and then they rise toward the torso at the ends, like a handlebar shape. Knowing the type of incision your doctor suggests can help you prepare for scarring. Regardless of the type and length, your surgeon will try to place your tummy tuck incision low enough to be hidden under a bikini or underpants.

Some patients are surprised to learn that their tummy tuck will include an incision around the belly button. This is most common with a full tummy tuck in which the belly button does not require repositioning. In this case, an incision is made around the belly button to retain its anchor to underlying tissue and blood vessels. The incision allows the surgeon to move tissue around the belly button so that the muscle and skin are tighter and flatter. The belly button scar obviously shows if you don’t wear a one-piece or high-rise bikini. It would be visible if you wear a crop top and lower-rise pants. Fortunately, this scar fades so nicely over time that most people never notice it.

How to Manage Tummy Tuck Scarring

You may know that the body produces collagen to heal all types of wounds. To the body, an incision is no different than an injury like a scrape or cut. It responds in the same way, by producing collagen to repair the tissue. Because an incision is a more extreme cut, the organization of collagen in the surgical site is lacking. The goal is to get collagen to the wound, not to make it pretty. Don’t worry, though, this happens later. Over the course of several weeks, the first round of collagen breaks down and is replaced by strands that are much more organized. This is when the scar lightens more significantly and when its texture starts to smooth. Know, though, that the process can take up to a year.

If you want to promote the best possible scar healing after your tummy tuck, just take great care of your body. Drink plenty of water to facilitate circulation and tissue repair. Get plenty of sleep, especially in the early days of recovery. Eat healthy, whole foods that provide protein, antioxidants, and vitamins to the body to promote tissue repair. At some point, you can also talk to a doctor about a formal scar treatment program using creams, silicon sheets, or laser treatments.

Scarring is an inevitable aspect of surgery. It is one that can be managed and is not a reason to postpone a tummy tuck any longer. There is still time before summer to tighten up your midsection. To schedule a consultation at our San Antonio office, contact us at 210-227-3223.

Posted in: Tummy Tuck

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