How Long Will my Incision Be with a Tummy Tuck?

I have had three children and I am considering option in getting a flatter tummy. I want a minimal length of scar if possible.

Doctor Answers 14

Scar from a Tummy Tuck

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Keep in mind that a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty involves removing excess skin and fat from the abdomen and tightening of the abdominal muscles when necessary. The scar that results from removing the skin follows the skin crease of the lower abdomen just above the pubic area and extends outward as necessary to remove the excess. In excessive weight loss patients this can be circumferential or in smaller skin removals can extend inches on either side of the pubic area. 

One trick to tell how long your incision will be, is to sit in a chair and see how far the abdominal redundancy extends toward the hip area. Where the skin creases ends so will your scar. Most Plastic Surgeons can use their skill and other techniques such as liposuction to shorten the length of the scar. As always, consult a Plastic Surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery to address your individual needs and concerns. 

Best of luck to you! 

Dean Johnston, MD FACS 

Tummy tuck scar length

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The length of the tummy tuck scar depends on the amount of excess skin you have.  It is usually from hip to hip.  Depending on the skin excess, it can be a little shorter or longer.  A good news is that the scar is usually low on the abdomen and easily hidden under bikini.  Any body contouring procedure will involve scars in order to give you a better contour.  You do have to accept that there will be a low-lying scar with a flatter tummy.

Tummy tuck scar length

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The length of the tummy tuck scar is determined by the amount of skin removed.  For every inch of vertical height of skin removed, the scar should be approximately 3 inches long horizontally to avoid puckering.  The specific length needs to be tailored to the individual patient's body.  Basically, the more skin tightening you desire, the longer the scar will need to be.  The scar should be positioned where it will not be visible in a bikini, if possible.

David Stoker, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Tummy Tuck Incision

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 A tummy tuck (also called abdominoplasty) is a very popular cosmetic surgery procedure. A tummy tuck can be an effective tool for shaping and sculpting the body for better body appearance and improved self esteem.  The basic principle applies in all contouring procedures: you must accept some degree of scar to achieve that much better form.   The length of your scar will depend on the amount and distribution of excess skin/fat in your lower abdomen.  Your plastic surgeon will guide you with this after a formal physical exam.

Sometimes no amount of diet and exercise can create a flat tummy. Tummy tuck plastic surgery actually tightens abdominal muscles and removes excess fat and skin from the stomach area to create a tighter, slimmer, smoother belly. A tummy tuck can be combined with other procedures such as liposuction of your waists or flanks (i.e. love handles) to fine tune your result

Patients choose abdominoplasty cosmetic surgery for a number of reasons, including:

Excess abdominal skin following weight loss; Weight gain (beer belly or spare tire) from a sedentary lifestyle; Abdominal fat that is resistant to diet and exercise; Stretched stomach muscles from pregnancy; Desire for a thinner profile; Desire to look younger and fitter; Desire to fit into clothes better.

I recommend you visit with an ASPS member plastic surgeon to further explore your options.

Best of luck.

Dr. Basu

Tummy tuck Scars

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I also agree that you should see a board certified plastic surgeon and once you decide who your surgeon will be, trust them to give you the best advice. I believe that most surgeons try to make the scar as short as possible without compromising the results.  Usually the scar is hip to hip and yes, if someone tries to make it shorter, you most likely will end up with dog ears and will need additional surgery.  

Tummy tuck scar length

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All the respondents have given you good information.  However, your question has not recieved a measurable length.  To assess the possible length of your tummy tuck scar, sit at 45 degrees and pinch your lower abdominal skin from the midline out laterally until you have less than two inches between your thumb and index finger.  Usually, this will take you out to just beyond your anterior hip bone area.  Most everything behind that point will respond to liposuction.

Ricardo Izquierdo, MD
Oak Brook Plastic Surgeon

Length Of Tummy Tuck Incision Varies

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The length of a tummy tuck incision varies with the amount of excess skin and other variables.  The typical incision which I use from anterior iliac spine(area where pelvic bone is palpable in the lower abdomen) to anterior iliac spine into the suprapubic area.  Occasionally a shorter incision can be employed and sometimes when the excess skin extends farther laterally I will extend the incision.  You should obtain a consultation with one or more board-certified plastic surgeons who can show you exactly where the appropriate incision would be for you.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Look at the dog ears and scar in this patient!

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The patient I refer to asked the following question on this site and included photos. Search the question: Fatty Pockets and Dog Ears 1 Month PO Tummy Tuck, is This the Norm? I suggest you also search the term "dog ears" on this site. Too-short scars = dog ears = another operation.

I absolutely understand your request for a "minimal scar length." But I would suggest that the length of the scar is really much less important than the quality of the scar, its location, the tightness and smoothness of the result, the anticipated flatness after muscle repair, and whether or not you end up with unsightly dog ears (usually the result of too-short incisions) and irregular "pleating" (a result of unequal top and bottom incision lengths and tension lines) that require another surgery and additional, longer scars to fix!

The more loose skin and abdominal wall stretch that you have, the longer the scar length that will be necessary to properly and smoothly tighten your abdomen.

See one or more ABPS-certified plastic surgeons for advice about the anticipated incision location, scar length, and type of closure he or she uses, and be sure to see examples of work each surgeon has done so you know what to expect. Look at the belly button scars! Be sure to ask about touch-up or revisional surgery costs, and who pays for what--FIND THIS OUT IN ADVANCE. Any reputable plastic surgeon will be happy to discuss this, as well as the anticipated likelihood of this occurring.

For examples of my patients with scars in varying degrees of maturation and fading, click on the link below. Length is much less important than the overall result and if the scar can be hidden by a bathing suit or bikini bottom. BTW, scars can be hidden if they don't fade completely, but pleats and dog ears cannot. Best wishes!

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 262 reviews

The Length of Scar For a Tummy Tuck

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The long low scar for a tummy tuck  is a good trade off  to get tighter skin and a smoother contour of the abdominal wall.  A longer scar means more excess tissue was removed.  The larger skin removal can improve adjacent areas such as waistline or thighs.  A shorter scar can be planned, but you may be sacrificing some of the advantages of your abdominoplasty.  Discuss options with your surgeon.

Mary Lee Peters, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

How long is a tummy tuck scar?

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Your scar should be as long as you need to get rid of the excess skin you possess. If you fail to excise or remove the skin adequately, then you will likely be back for a secondary procedure.  No patient wants a scar, but very few are ever concerned once they see the improvements made to their form. Discuss this with your surgeon, but the scar is almost never an issue after surgery. Best of luck Vincent Marin, MD San Diego Plastic Surgeon

Vincent P. Marin, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 52 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.