What factors determine tummy tuck scar placement, length and shape? (Photo)

I've seen such a variety of scar placement, shape and lenghth. It has been really hard for me to find someone that looks like me for me to gauge what my results maylook like. Ideally I would like my scar to be low as in a C-section and if needed curve upwards towards my hips, following the national crease of my thighs. Any thoughts ?

Doctor Answers 13

What factors determine tummy tuck scar placement, length and shape?

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Thank you for sharing your question and photograph.  Tummy tuck incisions are placed as low as possible to be hidden beneath a woman's undergarment, typically in the area of a C-section scar.  The variability in position will then depend on the location of excess skin for patients, and their normal skeletal anatomy.  In most cases a gentle sweeping curve towards the upper portion of each hip bone.  As you have some excess adipose tissue in your love handle/waist region yours can extend further along your back to remove this area or liposuction can be performed to narrow this region.  Hope this helps.

Tummy Tuck Scar Placement and Shape

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Your incisions and scars will be determined based on the type of procedure you have:

A variety of tummy tucks are available. Patients who only need a tightening of the abdominal muscles or removal of a small amount of skin may be best treated with a “mini-tuck.” Patients who have undergone massive weight loss, on the other hand, will probably require more extensive surgery. An abdominoplasty is usually done under general anesthesia. An incision is made along the lower abdomen at about the pubic hair line, and another incision is made around the belly button which stays attached to the muscle.

Mini-abdominoplasty tightens the lower abdominal wall and skin below the umbilicus, belly button, only (shortest scar).

Modified abdominoplasty addresses conditions where just the muscle wall or just the abdominal skin requires repair.

Standard abdominoplasty tightens all of the abdominal wall skin and muscles above and below the belly button. The scar can be altered or lowered to be hidden by most panty lines and bathing suits. (Standard scar).

Extended abdominoplasty tightens the abdomen and the flanks or sides (longest scar extending around the flanks onto lower back.)

Scar position with tummy tuck

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Thank you for your question and photograph. In general, the position of the scar for a tummy tuck should be individualized. For the most part this involves a scar centrally that is just below or at the level of the C-section scar. The scar then gently sweeps up toward the hips bones.  This may be flattened out for those patients that wear their clothing in more of a hip-hugger type fashion. The length of the scar is dependent upon the laxity in the hip region and the need for removal of additional tissue. Given your appearance in the photograph, I would think that a scar along your pubic hairline sweeping up toward your hip bones would be appropriate just as you described. Additional liposuction along the hip and flank regions would further enhance the end result. This should allow for a shorter hidden scar while providing an excellent contour.  Thank you and I hope this helps.

In most circumstances the incision for an abdominoplasty can be placed with the patient wants it.

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Most patients want an abdominoplasty low. Which you are describing is a fairly standard incision for an abdominoplasty. The plastic surgeon will mark you preoperatively to make certain that the final incision is to your satisfaction.

Individual Anatomy and in your case, concurrent liposuction

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The placement needs to be individualized to each patient, but some things are common guidelines. Centrally, it should be low enough so that even when the central skin is pulled up under tension, it will still be in a low position. I consider marking the central portion of the incision under tension of crucial importance. The incision should then gently curve laterally towards the hip bones. How far it has to go depends on the lateral skin laxity and fatty tissue excess. In your case, limited by only this one view, I would think that concurrent liposuction would reduce the fat bulges laterally and allow for a shorter incision. If the incision needs to go laterally and is placed appropriately, it will always heal nicer and with a much better contour than trying to make it shorter and leaving the patient with dog ears.

Tummy tuck incision placement

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Thank you for your question. A tummy tuck incision is placed ideally such that it can be concealed by underclothing or swim wear. In women who have had a c-section, the tummy tuck can basically be viewed as extension of this incision in a gentle upward curve to the hip bone. Care is taken not to place the incision too high such that it would be visible above the waistline. Consult with an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon in your area and explain your desires and expectations, and you will be able to make an informed, safe decision.

Best wishes,

Tummy tuck

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Hello and thank you for your question. Based on your photograph, you are a great candidate for a tummy tuck with liposuction.  This can be done through a low and short incision, all completely below the bikini line.  Your muscles can also be plicated resulting in a flat abdomen.  Make sure you specifically look at before and after pictures of real patients who have had this surgery performed by your surgeon and evaluate their results.  The most important aspect is to find a surgeon you are comfortable with. I recommend that you seek consultation with a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon who can evaluate you in person.

Best wishes and good luck.

Richard G. Reish, M.D.
Harvard-trained plastic surgeon

Good question.

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Your scar can and should be that low, just below your C-Section scar in order to remove it entirely and leave you only with your new tummy tuck scar.

How high the scar is placed toward the hips depends a little on the type of panty or bathing suit style you prefer. Your plastic surgeon (and you) would ideally like that scar to stay hidden even in a two piece. 

Make sure you consult with an experienced board certified plastic surgeon whose results in their before and after gallery give you confidence. Be open to one or more consultations until you are secure enough to schedule.

Best of luck to you.

What factors determine tummy tuck scar placement, length and shape?

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Placement of the abdominal incision can affect the result that is achieved with an abdominoplasty. The scar placement should ideally be placed low enough to remove the C section scar and be concealed by bathing suits or underwear. It should be individualized based on your anatomy and desired outcome. Often longer incisions can result in a greater amount of skin removal and greater tightening of the tissue. The fullness on the flank area can be improved with conservative liposuction of that area at the time of the tummy tuck.


I would suggest that you find a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and ideally a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) that you trust and are comfortable with. You should discuss the pros and cons of the various options and your concerns with that surgeon in person.


Robert Singer, MD  FACS

La Jolla, California



What factors determine tummy tuck scar placement, length and shape?

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Thank you for the good question. There are many factors involved when it comes to the exact "scarring" you see on different photographs. Sometimes, there is a difference because every plastic surgeon may have a different approach to placement of incision lines and exactly how the operation is performed. On the other hand, scars may differ because of different patient body types and because patients scar differently. Again, there are many variables involved.

My best suggestion: select your plastic surgeon carefully. Make sure that he/she is a board-certified plastic surgeon who can demonstrate significant experience achieving the types of outcomes you will be pleased with. Before/after photographs are helpful in this regard. You may also be able to meet/see/talk to previous patients who have had surgery with your plastic surgeon. Then, communicate your concerns/personal goals carefully as well. 

  I find that marking patients the day before surgery, as much as possible, with the help of the patient's planned swimming suit or undergarment, helps when it comes to placement of incisions…

You may find the attached link, dedicated to tummy tuck surgery concerns, helpful to you as you learn more. Thank you again for the good question.

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.