Why Do Some Tummy Tuck Patients Look Like They Have Something Tied Tight Where Scar is? (photo)

Why on some people who have had tummy tuck surgery does it look like there is something tight tied around their waist where the scar is even long after it has healed. It is not completely flat. I am going to have this surgery soon, but I really dislike how that looks. Is there a reason having to do with each individual body? Did the Dr. Do something to make that happen? I can find no answers anywhere. I would really appreciate help with this question. Thank you!

Doctor Answers 10

Anchoring sutures

Thank you for your post. It is not common for surgeons to anchor the lower incision to the fascia or covering of the abdominal muscles to keep the scar low, however, I do use this technique and agree with it. All the tension on the incision is from above, not below, and thus the scar tends to move toward the area of maximal tension (towards the ribs/bellybutton). This moves the scar higher than desired. I like to keep my scars very low, and feel that anchoring the scar helps accomplish this. The following photo is an example of this.

Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

What Can I Expect After Tummy Tuck

You are asking a great question.  Unfortunately the answer depends on a lot of factors.  The first is the pre-operative appearance of the patient.  If the patient has a thick amount of upper abdominal fat pre-op, they can have a mismatch with the amount of fat they have in the lower abdomen causing this appearance.  The second is normal post-operative swelling.  The photo you submitted looks like an early post-op result and this appearance may improve with time.  The third reason is the amount of pull that the surgeon used in the operation.  Too much or too little pull can cause distortions in the area of the scar.  I would discuss your concerns pre-op with your surgeon so that they can tell you if you are at risk for the look that you find unattractive.

Sacha Obaid, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 133 reviews

Residual Skin or Fat after Tummy Tuck

   The photo you provided is still early and has a great deal of swelling.  This may produce an outstanding result if you were to fastforward 3 months.  Some plastic surgeons produce very flat, very tight-looking results, whereas others are more conservative in the amounts of skin and fat they take out.  Find the plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of tummy tucks each year.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 492 reviews

Tummy tuck scar tightness?

I assume this is a picture you found on the internet and without knowing details about the procedure  , length of time after the procedure, or examining the patient in person it is impossible to provide you with a meaingful answer. It is our experience with tummy tuck that the lower abdomen should be flat adjacent to the scar and that scars fade with time.  Without the above info or being able to examine the patient , the  fullness superior to the scar may be do to excess fat and skin.  My best advice: find a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery for a meaningful opinion..

Harlan Pollock, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Appearance of scar after tummy tuck

Each individual patient is a unique case and it is difficult to determine your result without a full examination.  In the photo which you show, the two most common reasons are the discrepancy in underlying fatty and soft tissue beneath the upper abdominal flap from the lower abdominal flap above the groin/pubis.  If there is such discrepancy noted preoperatively or intraoperatively, liposuction or direct excision of additional excess fat to remove the excess tissue and create an equal, matching volume would be appropriate.  Another possibility would be that the lower abdominal wall is having some bulging which needs to be addressed with plication (tightening) of the abdominal muscles at the midline to create a flattened appearance of the belly.   Hope that this helps!  Thank you for the question!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Fat Discrepancy

You have made a very good observation.  There is a difference in the thickness of fat on the upper flap as compared to the lower flap.  This occurs naturally but can be adjusted. Defatting the upper flap either directly or with liposuction can enhance the final result.  All the best.

Robert F. Centeno, MD, FACS
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Tummy tuck scars

While this is a great question, many answers contribute to the ultimate answer - every body is different.  Surgical technique, liposuction, underlying health, body shape, associated surgery, genetics... all play a part. Sorry, but get an individual evaluation and that will help best. Good Luck

Neil Gottlieb, MD
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Scar after Tummy Tuck

There are two reasons the abdomen bulges above the scar and the scar looks tight after tummy tuck. First, the lower abdominal muscles may be loose. These should have been tightened during surgery. Secondly, the abdominal fatty tissue may have been thicker than the lower tissue to which it is being attached. If this is the case, then the upper tissue should have been liposuctioned at the time of surgery to make the two match.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Tummy Tuck Scars

All patients heal different.  The Tummy Tuck scar is usually from hip bone to hip bone.  Your Plastic Surgeon will want to see you on a regular basis to monitor the scar, so that it does heal well.  You will need to keep it out of the sun while healing.  A scar is still healing if it is red or pink.  The younger you are, usually the longer it takes for the scar to fade.  Young people have grown hormones at work, and can make thick scars.  It is very important to follow your surgeons instructions for scar management.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Contour transition across the tummy tuck scar

The reason has to do with the thickness of the two layers of tissue above and below the scar.  In this patient there is more fatty tissue above than below, which is somewhat typical.  Her scar is not faded yet either, so it may accentuate the look if it is still tight.  The look can be improved by doing some liposuction to thin the upper layer later on, if it is displeasing. A weight as close as possible to your ideal weight before undergoing the surgery will help too

Deborah Ekstrom, MD
Worcester Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 39 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.