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 266

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

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 182 reviews

Tummy tuck scars

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.

Abdominoplasty scar placement

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 61 reviews

Tummy Tuck Scars. Hidden?

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 126 reviews

Tummy tuck scars

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. 

5 Important points about Tummy Tuck Incisions and Scars

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 - they can be excellent

Careful pre-op planning, attention to detail and a few surgical maneuvers can deliver an excellent, well-hidden tummy tuck scar. I often draw out the eventual scar on the patient at the time of the consultation to show her where it will lie post-op. The patient can then decide if she wants the scar to be adjusted, within the limits of what is technically possible.  

Although most patients want a very low scar, if there is a lot of laxity in the pubic area a very low incision can create a lot of tension which will pull the pubic region too far upwards post-op. The use of anchoring sutures in the pubis can prevent this. The use of quilting sutures during surgery can also create a more predicatble scar, as well as reducing the risk of a seroma.

Most board-certified plastic surgeons with experience in tummy-tuck surgery are able to create an esthetically pleasing scar, placed in a well-hidden position according to the patient's desires. In my clinic in Montreal tummy-tuck surgery is the most common one that I perform and the patients are among my happiest. The resulting scar is almost never an issue as it is completely overshadowed by the flat, firm abdomen that results from this surgery.

Arie Benchetrit, MD
Montreal Plastic Surgeon
2.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Bikini tummy tuck can hide your scars beneath the bikini line

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.

Tummy Tuck scar must fit your OWN personal style

The day of a tummy tuck, all of my patients bring their favorite panty or bikini, This allows me to design the tummy in multiple different poses to make sure that the tummy tuck scar will always be hidden when the patient wears their favorite clothes.

The ultimate design and placement of the scar is my patient's choice. Some women prefer French cut biknis that ride high on the hips and accentuate their thighs. Other women, especially here in South Florida, enjoy wearing very small and low bikinis and jeans. A well designed tummy tuck will fit the patient's own personal fashion sense and lifestyle.

Best.

Pat Pazmino, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

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.