Mini Tummy Tuck for Stretch Marks and Piercing Scar?

I'm 20 years old and I just had a baby about 6 months ago. Before I had her, I had a beautiful stomach--now I hate it. I have ugly stretch marks under my belly button.  I also have an ugly belly peircing scar and a thick c-section scar. I want to be able to wear a bikini again and not feel self consious. I was thinking about a mini tummy tuck to get rid of the stretch marks. Will it also work for the scars? If not, do you have any suggestions, especially about the ugly peircing scar?

Doctor Answers 14

Mini Tummy Tuck

I advise women to wait until they are done having babies prior to having any form of abdominoplasty. If you are not planning on more pregnancies, consult with a board certified plastic surgeon regarding a full tummy tuck which would address your concerns. best wishes!


Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

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Mini tummy tuck - stretch marks - scar revision

Hi there,

You have three separate questions / concerns that do not have one solution.

  • The belly button scar can undergo a scar revision - removing some of the extra skin should also help improve the appearance in that area.
  • The C-section scar can also have a scar revision. Often, due to the hormonal changes with pregnancy and skin tension, these scars can be wider. The final result also depends on how you heal - some patients form heavier / thicker scars naturally.
  • The mini-tummy tuck will help flatten the lower part of your abdomen and can be a part of the scar revision surgery for the C-section scar. However, you do not have enough extra skin to excise the stretch marks present.
  • The stretch marks are the most difficult to deal with. I performed a study using technology to improve scars. I also treated stretch marks. You can see the color improvement after a series of ReLume treatments. However, the texture and light reflection of the stretch mark area remains the same.

Michael Kulick, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
2.5 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Mini Tummy Tuck for Stretch Marks and Piercing Scar?

You have very good questions and concerns.

Skin can retain much of it's elasticity or it can be stretched and have lost the ability to retract. We see this loss of elasticity after considerable weight gain then loss or often after pregnancy, as in your case. The telltale signs of lax skin are stretch marks (stria). Simply put, these stria are tears in the deeper layer of the skin called the dermis. Unfortunately, these do not resolve by themselves. If there are a lot of stretch marks and the skin is loose, then there are few options other than to remove the excess skin. Unfortunately from the photograph you sent, there is little in the way of excess skin so a mini tummy tuck would only remove a small portion of the stretch marks and would extend the scar further. You would be left a bigger, possibly worse scar and essentially the same stretch marks. 

With respect to the scarring, there are many factors can affect the ultimate quality of the scar. Individuals who demonstrated poor scarring in the past and those with a family history of suboptimal scarring should be considered high risk for developing unsightly scars. Another very significant factor in determining how a wound will scar is how the wound was initially created. Surgical wounds that have been carefully created are likely to heal with less scarring than a traumatic wound with considerable tissue injury and irregular borders. Unfortunately, you seem to have propensity to develop thick (hypertrophic) scars. This is mostly in your genetic makeup and is not going to change. You should think very, very carefully before agreeing to any additional surgery.

There are numerous techniques and preparations touted to decrease or limit scarring, but only a few have been scientifically shown to have any real benefit. Moisturizing lotions should be applied frequently to all scars. It is critical to avoid significant sun exposure, as this can lead to hyper-pigmented and prominent scars. The use of tape or steri-strips to relieve tension on the wound has been found to be helpful. There has been some evidence to suggest that silicone sheeting, or liquid preparations containing silicone, can enhance the appearance of scars if used early and often in the healing process. Steroid injections can soften and flatten very thick, hypertrophic scars and keloids. Pressure dressings have long been used in burn victims with good clinical results and remain an important adjunct. Finally, time alone will result in considerable improvement in most scars. I recommend you use a silicone product for the fresh scar and leave the belly button scar alone. 

I sympathize with your situation. It is a very difficult one but one with few, if any, good options. 

BRK

Bram Kaufman, MD
Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Mini Tummy Tuck for Stretch Marks and Piercing Scar?

A tummy talk would remove excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen. It will allow the abdominal muscles below the belly button to be tightened. A mini tummy tuck does not have a separate incision around the umbilicus, thus a mini tummy tuck alone would not change the piercing scar.A full tummy tuck uses a second incision around the umbilicus to undermine the skin off of the abdominal wall up to the ribs. This allows more skin to be removed from the lower abdomen, compared to the mini tummy tuck. Also, the abdominal muscles above and below the belly button can be tightened with a full abdominoplasty. Given the fact that this creates an incision around the belly button, a scar revision could be performed at the same time.

Austin Hayes, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

A Full Abdominoplasty Would Address the Piercing Scar

It’s unusual to perform an abdominoplasty on a women who is only twenty years of age and has only one child.  This procedure should be delayed until women are done having children.  It’s not a procedure that can be frequently repeated over and over again.

Assuming you’re done having children there are several issues that should be addressed.  Your pictures suggest that you have redundant abdominal skin with stretch marks, weakened abdominal muscles, a lower abdominal C-section scar and scarring associated with an umbilical piercing.

Without the ability to perform a physical examination, it’s hard to make a specific recommendation.  It would appear that a mini abdominoplasty would not meet your aesthetic expectations for several reasons.  This procedure would not tighten the upper abdominal muscles or address the excess skin in this region.  In addition the piercing scars and some of the stretch marks would still be present.

For these reasons a better option might be a full abdominoplasty with a lower vertical scar.  This would be necessary to address the piercing scar in the presence of a low C- section scar.

It’s important to discuss all these issues with your plastic surgeon.  There’s probably no perfect solution for your problem and no matter what is decided you need to be a participant in the decision.

Mini Tummy Tucks Intended to Tighten Skin

A mini tummy tuck is intended to tighten the skin of the lower abdomen.This is the area between the bellybutton and the pubic bone.No skin tightening should be expected to occur above the bellybutton in the performance of a mini tummy tuck.If there is significant laxity of the skin above the bellybutton then a full tummy tuck will be required for optimal enhancement of the abdominal wall.

John J. Edney, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Separate procedures may help more than a mini tummy tuck.

Your C-section scar and belly button piercing can both be addressed with scar revision surgery, and that can be done without incorporating a mini tummy tuck at all. However, the stretch marks around your belly button are troublesome. Stretch marks would only be removed during a tummy tuck if they happen to be present on the skin that’s excised, through the lower part of the abdomen. A tummy tuck (full or mini) would likely only move the stretch marks further down your abdomen, not remove them. They will fade over time, although they are not likely to vanish completely. I would also suggest waiting on any procedure until you’re sure you’re done having babies, as more changes in your body could undo the work of the surgery.

Glenn M. Davis, MD, FACS
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Tummy tuck post pregnancy.

Hello. My first question would be, "Are you done having babies?" I usually recommend patients to wait until they are done having children before they have at tummy tuck done. It is hard to tell without examination if you indeed are a candidate for a tummy tuck. I would say, make a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon who is experienced in doing tummy tuck surgery, for best results. Good luck to you.

Jaime Perez, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Mini tummy tuck and stretch marks

A mini tummy tuck will not remove all the stretch marks that you have, but a full tummy tuck will get rid of most of them.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Benefits of a Full Tummy Tuck

Based on the pictures you provided, you look like an excellent candidate for a full tummy tuck procedure. A full tummy tuck vs a mini tummy tuck involves much more work and can give you a better result. In your case, a full tummy tuck would involve repairing and tightening the rectus muscles and removal of the stretched and excess skin. Unfortunately, due to pregnancy the quality of the skin was stretched causing stretch marks and loose tissue.
Tummy tuck procedures are very invasive and require a good support system during the recovery period. Recovery could take up to 4-6 weeks and you must stay "hunched over" for atleast 1 month. Considering you are in good health and you are at young age, the healing process should be quicker for you and you can enjoy your results for a long period of time.
It is very important that you are finished having children. This type of surgery does not guarantee permanent results and can be affected or reversed with another pregnancy. Also, finding a board certfied plastic surgeon is very important for your safety.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.