Tummy Tuck Scars

Tummy tuck scars - Abdominal scar 4 months after tummy tuckI imagine that you can have tummy tuck scars hidden below your underpants but is this true? can i wear a bikini 1 year after tummy tuck?

Doctor Answers (249)

ALL tummy tuck scars are higher than the lowest mark in the pre-op ellipse drawn on your tummy.

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Every surgeon answering your question here wants to reassure you that the scar will (probably) be low enough to wear your skimpiest bikini bottom and hide the scar. Some even have a "special" name for their procedure as if to imply that he or she has the "secret to the perfect and lowest scar position!" Some even talk about secrets to hiding the belly button scar to make it "invisible." While most of my colleagues' answers are accurate and scholarly, you could imagine some wearing plaid pants and white shoes as they extoll the virtues of their capabilities like some bad used car salesman ad. None of them are lying, but you know what I mean!

Since the loose abdominal skin is freed up from the pubic area to the lower breastbone (sternum's lowest point, or xiphoid), the upper edge of the incision (after the loose "extra" skin from the lower pubic incision to the belly button area has been excised and removed) is stretched over the belly button (requiring a new opening through this tightened skin) and sutured to the still-attached pubic and groin tissues. The idea is that these tissues remain anchored, and the scar will remain at that position. However, tissues stretch, and once secured by sutures, there is ALWAYS some migration of the scar upward. Sometimes a lot, most times a little. There are techniques for securing the closure sutures to the lower abdominal fascia to help minimize the upward migration, and most surgeons use some form of this. These techniques usually allow the scar to be low and appropriate for bikini bottoms to conceal them.

As others have stated, styles and requests for incision and scar placement have varied over the years--from the high lateral scar for the Rio or tanga bikini bottoms, to the present Brazilian hiphugger low lateral scar. Careful closure in layers by an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon will give you a great result, but bring in your desired swimsuit bottom and discuss the incision placement with your surgeon as he or she does your markings pre-operatively!

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 166 reviews

Tummy tuck scars

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Yes, with every tummy tuck will come a nice flat tummy AND a scar (that is usually hidden very low under the underwear). The exact placement of the scar will depend on your anatomy... best to discuss with the surgeon prior to surgery.  The length of the scar depends on the patient and what needs to be performed. The scar will heal and fade with time.
There are however many factors contribute to the final appearance of a scar after tummy tuck. For  example,  some patients are prone to develop keloid or hypertrophic scars despite the surgeon's  best efforts.  Some patients will develop superficial separations of the incision line, depending on the quality of the skin present (for example, stretched marked skin may not “hold” sutures as well as skin with normal thickness dermis).
On  the other hand, the surgeon may be able to control  the quality of the scar  with attention to certain  technical details. For example,  it is important to take as much tension off the final layer of closure as possible-  if tension is taken off the superficial layer (by using deep sutures)  the incision may heal with a finer line scar. Avoiding excessive excision of skin may also help avoid tension upon closure of the suture line.
The use of silicone-based products (creams or  sheeting)  may also be helpful in achieving the best scars  possible.
I hope this helps.

5 Important points about Tummy Tuck Incisions and Scars

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1.  You should be able to wear a bikini within a couple of months of your procedure.  But bring your swimsuit in to your surgeon.   If you wear a low bikini you will want a low flatter incision. If you wear a high-thigh cut one piece, you may want it to curve up higher.

2.  The belly button is the tell-tale sign of a bad tummy tuck.  Make sure your surgeon spends extra time in this area to sculpt out the fat and tack down the skin to create a very pleasing "brazilian" navel not a "hole on a board".

3.  Make sure your surgeon has a lot of patient pictures to show you exactly where the incsion will lie and what it will look like.

4.  Make sure your surgeon has all the tools to heal as quickly and as well as possible: little tension on closure, avoiding infection, and healing creams available.

5. Avoid sun exposure for a year.  This doesn't mean you can't go to the beach, just cover the specific areas.

Tummy Tuck Scars. Hidden?

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I inform my patients that most tummy tuck scars are hidden in most styles of swimwear, underwear and the now popular low cut jeans. However, each person is different and styles can and do change. I prefer to have patients bring in a few pair of swim bottoms and underwear so that the pre-op markings can be customized to each person as an individual. We do not use a cookie cutter approach.

Douglas L. Gervais, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Tummy tuck scars

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Depending on the individual, it is ideal to have as low a scar as possible, so that it hides in a bikini brief. In most average patients, this is achieved. There is also an inconspicuous scar around the belly button. Wearing a bikini and looking natural and attractive is common in one year, many patients can wear a bikini much sooner. It varies depending on an individual's inherent healing ability, swelling, physique, and tissue tone. 

Abdominoplasty scar placement

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Placement of the tummy tuck scar is dependent on your individual anatomic characteristics including abdominal girth, truncal height, umbilicus position, and the presence of stretch marks.

Discuss the position of your incision with your surgeon early in the consultation phase of an abdominoplasty procedure. One great idea is to bring along your bikini to the examination to define your ideas for incision placement.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Tummy tuck scar.

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Thank you for your question

When the skin of the tummy tuck is pulled down and tightened the pubic skin and the scar will generally tend to rise.  Because of this I always make my incisions as low as possible in the bathing suit or bikini line.  A mini tummy tuck is under less tension so it will not tend to rise as much.  Full tummy tuck has much more tension.

Bring the bikini that you wish to wear with you on the day of surgery so that your surgeon can mark you in your bathing suit.  While it is possible that you may need a taller underwear or bathing suit in the future bringing the garment you want to wear will be the best road map for your surgeon.

Generally the bellybutton incision is more visible because it lies above the bathing suit or bikini line.  I always favor small belly buttons because they are less obtrusive.

Best of luck.


Adam Tattelbaum, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Bikini tummy tuck can hide your scars beneath the bikini line

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If you only have loose skin below your belly button, then a mini tummy tuck called the bikini tummy tuck can be done which places the incision beneath your bikini line. I actually have patients bring the bikini or underwear to the OR so my incision can be planned in the appropriate place.

If you have loose skin in the upper and lower abdomen and need a full abdominoplasty your lower incision will be larger and there will be a visible incision around your belly button.

A Tummy Tuck Should NOT leave scars around the Belly Button - Look Closely at Photos

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I have attached a link to my tummy tuck before and after gallery so you can view scars of the bikini line and the belly button. I encourage you to zoom in when looking at any and all before and after images to get a sense of what kind of scars you can expect from a plastic surgeon you are considering.
The surgery is performed through a 'bikini-line incision' which, for a full tummy tuck, may extend from hipbone to hipbone. For patients that need only a 'mini-tummy tuck', the incision is usually somewhat smaller, extending just beyond the limits of the average C-section scar. The suprapubic incisions used for this operation are designed so that the resulting surgical scar is hidden by underwear or a bathing suit.
A full abdominoplasty requires the surgical creation of a new belly button. Creating the new belly button, which is called an umbilicoplasty, is a part of tummy tuck surgery that requires a great deal of attention and finesse on the part of the surgeon. My goal is to create a new belly button that, as much as possible, resembles a 'natural' belly button. Natural belly buttons do NOT look like a perfect circle, and circular umbilicoplasty scars are a tummy tuck dead giveaway. 
The technique I use for umbilicoplasty is designed to create a slightly 'hooded' appearance to the upper half of the belly button, an appearance that is generally considered fit and athletic. Not all patients have the goal of wearing a two-piece swimsuit, but many do, and I want these patients to be able to do so without feeling self-conscious about the appearance of their new belly button.
The scar from a tummy tuck will vary from surgeon to surgeon. Look ay many,many before and after images to get a sense of what kind of scars you can expect from any plastic surgeon you are considering. 
In some cases, a vertical incision may be necesary. This is the case for a minority of patients and should be discussed prior to surgery. ideally, these incisions, like traditional tummy tuck incisions, will fade to a fine white line.  In other cases, a reverse upper abdominoplasty may be needed to eliminate fullness from the upper abdomen. In this case, scars should be concealed under the folds of the breasts. 

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Tummy Tuck Scars

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Any time you have an incision to perform a surgery, there will be a resulting scar. The way this scar will look depends on a number of factors.

The typical abdominoplasty scar is low across the abdomen, from hip to hip, as well as around your belly button.

Depending on your anatomy, you may have a shorter vertical scar between your belly button and the transverse scar from the area where your belly button used to be. Ask your plastic surgeon if you might expect this scar from your tummy tuck.

Your plastic surgeon will mark your planned incision prior to surgery so this is an optimum time to discuss the anticipated position of the scar as you heal.

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.