What Corrective Methods Are Available to Avoid a Tummy Tuck Scar?

Should one consider the surgeon's track record on how well they minimize scarring when picking a doctor?

Doctor Answers 14

Hiding or minimizing the Tummy Tuck Scar is an important and crucial part of your decision to have Tummy Tuck

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Yes, you should inquire and ask about the appearance of scarring after Tummy Tuck and be sure you consult more than one Plastic Surgeon.

It would be very sad to go through surgery to remove loose abdomninal skin and then be left with scars that make you want to hide your tummy at the beach.

Modern Tummy Tuck techniques allow for placement of the incision below the Bikini Line in most patients who do not have very excessive skin following Gastric By Pass.

I believe the most important scar is that around the belly button. Modern techniques are available to create a hooded or "Inny" belly button after Tummy Tuck which hides the scar and creates a natural youthful look to the newly restored abdomen or tummy.

Definitely discuss these issues with your Plastiuc Surgeon and ask to see photos of his/her actual surgical results.

Scar care after tummy tuck

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Thank you for your post. In tummy tuck and other lift/tightening surgeries, tension is the enemy. The scar is healing gradually over 12 weeks or so, and until it is strong, it is the weakest link. As there is a great deal of tension in tummy tucks, body lifts, breast lifts, etc., the scar is at high risk of 'stretching' or widening. Silicone sheeting, although having the ability to make a scar flat, does nothing to prevent stretching of the scar. Creams or steroids or lasers also do not have the ability to prevent stretching of the scar. Those are used if scar is thick or dark, but not to reduce the wideness of the scar, which is the main problem. Massage also does not help keep the scar thin, and can actually worsen the scar in the first 12 weeks because you are actually adding tension to the scar. Massage is for softening a hard or thick scar, but if used early, will hasten the scar widening. Only tension reduction has the ability to keep the scar as thin as possible. You may notice in a lot of tummy tuck scars that the center portion of the scar is the widest with the sides toward the hips being the thinnest. This is because the maximum tension is at the center, and least amount on the sides. Embrace removes a lot of the tension by putting more tension on the skin on either side of the incision and drawing the incision together. It is expensive though at about $100 per week for 12 weeks. When patients do not want to spend the money for embrace, I tape the incision trying to remove as much tension as possible for 12 weeks and recommend no stretching back and to sit most of the time, keeping tension off the scar.
Best wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

What corrective methods are available to avoid a tummy tuck scar?

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Hello! Thank you for the question! It is common for scars to fully mature for up to a year. In the meantime, there are a few things that may help to ameliorate your incision/scar. The most proven (as well as cheapest) modality is simple scar massage. Applying pressure and massaging the well-healed scar has been shown to improve the appearance as it breaks up the scar tissue, hopefully producing the finest scar as possible. Other things that have been shown to add some benefit, albeit controversial, are silicone sheets, hydration, and topical steroids. In addition, avoidance of direct sunlight to the incision will significantly help the appearance as they tend to discolor with UV light during the healing process.

If unsightly scars are still present after approximately a year's time, other things that your surgeon may consider are intralesional steroid injections, laser, or just surgical revision of the scar itself.  It will be impossible to perform a tummy without any existence of an incision - typically the incisions will be hidden and concealed as best as possible.  For tummy tuck, they should be concealed within the bikini line and then an incision around the belly button itself.  Some modalities as mentioned above can help to create the finest scar possible - discuss your concerns and desires with a plastic surgeon. 

Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

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Scar prevention after tummy tuck

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Thank you for your question. All surgeries with incisions result in a scar, including TT. What you don't want to get is an unsightly scar. Vigilant care of your scar with scar massage, silicone sheeting and following the recommendations of your surgeon should help give you the best scar possible.It is a mistake to go for a shorter scar at the expense of a pleasing contour. Good luck.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
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Scars after tummy tuck

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Unless you scar really badly, do not sacrifice a great contour for a shorter scar.  Usually abdominoplasty scars can be put way down in the bikini area where the sun don't shine and most scars get better over time.  I have my patients tape their incisions until the scars are faded. 

Early in my practice, I would really try to limit the length of the scar if the patient was really concerned and I think I compromised the contour in some patients.  Also, I sometimes settled for a mini because the patient didn't want the full abdominoplasty and I really think that was unwise in many cases. 

By all means, have your doctor show you examples of his/her work but beware of the doctor who tells you that he/she doesn't leave scars!  We all leave scars if we make incisions! 

If you scar badly or have a history of keloid, I would think twice about any type of cosmetic surgery.

Lisa Lynn Sowder, MD
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Making the Best Scar For a Tummy Tuck

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Although there is no way around a scar with a tummy tuck , it is important to have the best scar possible.  To start with, it helps to have an understanding with your surgeon about where your scar will be positioned and how long it is.  A short scar sounds good, but may compromise how tight the tummy tuck can be. Next the surgeon chooses a strategy for how to get the best quality scar.  A multi-layered closure distributes tension across multiple planes of the closure and results in a better scar. I usually close in 3 layers. The surface should be closed without stitch marks showing.  Aftercare of the scaer is important also.  There are a variety of treatments I individualize to get the best outcome possible for my patients.  We talk about how to get the most out of the procedure the whole way.

Mary Lee Peters, MD
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Tummy tuck scar and relevant issues

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Your question about a tummy tuck is a little ambiguous. If you are seeking a tummy tuck and need one then it is impossible to perform the procedure without a scar. As long as there is an incision, there will be a scar. The resultant appearance and aesthetics of the scar would depend on multiple issues including location, length, design, surgical technique, genetics, skin type, activities, etc. 

Obtaining standardized metrics in order to assess one physician versus another is impossible and just a few photos may not provide you with all the information that you may need. You do want to see a reputable board certified plastic surgeon.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
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Scarring after abdominoplasty

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When consulting with different board-certified plastic surgeons, you should always consider the appearance of post-operative scars - are they symmetric , in a position easy to conceal, thin, etc.  It is very important to remember, however, that different people scar differently, and different parts of the body (on the same person) can scar differently.  You cannot predict how your abdominoplasty scar will turn out based upon any other scar on your body.

The position of an abdominoplasty scar can be modified to accomodate various clothing, swimsuit styles, etc., so be sure to discuss your style preferences / desires with your plastic surgeon, and determine at the time of consultation where your scars will be located.  Finally, while surgical technique and post-operative scar care are important in achieving the best possible appearance, the only way to "avoid" an abdominoplasty scar is to not undergo the procedure.

Good luck.

Craig S. Rock, MD
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Minimizing Tummy Tuck Scar

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Absolutely consider scar location, symmetry, configuration, size, and appearance when selecting your surgeon. As perhaps the chief disadvantage of abdominoplasty, concealing the inevitable scar is of critical importance in the quality of your final result.

Steve Laverson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
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Tummy Tuck Scar

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Thank you for your question.  Unfortunately, it is not possible to undergo tummy tuck surgery without a scar (or an invisible scar).  Plastic Surgeon's generally use techniques to minimize the scarring as much as possible but  the resulting scar has as much to do with the technique as the way the patient heals.   Scars can take up to 12-18 months to fully heal after surgery.  I recommend a scar treatment that has a combination of steroid and silicone in it and patients seem to like the results.  Best Wishes!



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