Questions About the Standard Full Abdominoplasty Scars? (photo)

Hi, If you scroll down approximately halfway down this website, it shows a picture of four different types of standard full abdominoplasty scars. Can someone please explain to me what are the reasons for a doctor choosing one type of incision over another type of incision? I look forward to receiving your answers!

Doctor Answers 16

Tummy tuck scars

Tummy tuck scars vary depending on the aesthetic goals of the patient and on the shape of the patient.  Basically, when more skin and fat has to be removed the incision is longer.  If a lot of tightening needs to be done then a longer incision is also sometimes required. 

Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 202 reviews

Tummy Tuck Incisions

Doctors will generally try to place the incisions where they think it will be most hidden or have the best effect on your shape. It mostly depends on the bikini line, whether you typically wear lower cut or higher cut. Nowadays, most prefer a lower incision line, but in the 80's, many preferred a higher incision. We usually suggest you bring in your bikini or underwear to determine the line where you could best hide your scars.

Usha Rajagopal, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Placement and pattern of abdominoplasty scars

Scar design needs to reflect the lines of relaxed skin tension and the patient's own individual anatomy.  The scar should be located just above the pubic area, should not extend upwards above the panty line, and needs to be long enough to allow for full skin removal as needed.  The diagrams in your photo show all possible types of scar patterns, but many of the ones shown are obsolete and would not be used today.

It is important to see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who has  had a lot of experience with abdominoplasty. Be sure to review a comprehensive portfolio of pre- and post-op pictures so you can gauge your surgeon's expertise and so you can get a good idea of the type of results that are reasonable to expect.

Daniel Greenwald, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Where should abdominoplasty incisions be placed?

Abdominoplasty incisions should be designed as low as possible.  They have to be concealed below your underwear or bathing suit line.  The middle part is just at the top of the hairline, and then it should angle up and out (top left in diagram).  I have patients bring their underwear and/or bathing attire so that we plan the incision accordingly.  The "short scar" incisions are for tightening the muscles only, when the skin does not need tightening, as in a "mini-tuck".

Gregory Diehl, MD, FACS
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Questions About the Standard Full Abdominoplasty Scars?

Hello and thanks for your question and the image.

The scar is determined by the amount of excess skin that needs removal. If you have a very small amount of skin then you can have a small scar that is slightly bigger than a C Section scar. Most of the excess skin is around the love handle area and once you have performed liposuction ( as a part of the TT) the amount of excess skin is obvious. To get rid of this excess skin your Surgeon needs to extend the cut towards the love handle area. Your Plastic Surgeon will be able to advice you on the type of scar you are likely to have.

Hope this helps

Naveen Somia, MBBS, PhD, FRACS
Sydney Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 74 reviews

Abdominoplasty scar position selection

Great question.  I hope to provide you with a good answer.

The horizontal length of the incision is determined by necessity:  That means, how far around your body the loose skin which overhangs or is very loose extends.  If the loose skin extends further around than the length of the incision or scar, then the result won't look good. It will look loose or baggy at the sides.   In many patients in my practice, which has a high volume of people who have lost a lot of weight, the scar extends all the way around - that is, a body lift - because loose skin extends all the way around.

The vertical level and shape of the incison is determined by patient choice, plus the particular way that the person wears their underwear.  I prefer that the incision is completely disguised by the wearing of normal (not too brief) underwear for that individual person.  So what I do is get the patient to bring typical underwear on the day of surgery, and mark the incision shape by firstly marking on them exactly where they cover their body with underwear.  The scar is then planned to be exactly in this area, so pulling on normal panties will completely hide it.

As a generalisation:

Short girls tend to prefer higher side cut underwear - it make their legs look longer - so in them the incision might go up at the sides.

Tall girls tend to wear straight across underwear -  so the incision is very low and horizontal.

But whatever the typical pattern of underwear is, it should be able to completely hide the incision and that's the goal. 

Hope this helps,

All the best,

Howard Webster



Abdominoplasty scar location

The location of the incisions for an abdominoplasty is usually decided in consultation with the patient.

Most Plastic Surgeons will try to keep the scars as inconspicuous as possible and produce as good an abdominal shape as possible.

The factors taken into consideration include the location and amount of redundant skin and fat, and the patient's desires regarding final scar location. This latter point can be influenced by the style of clothing the patient wishes to wear.

Every case is unique.


Douglas McManamny, MBBS, FRACS
Melbourne Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

What's the standard Abdominoplasty scar?

The drawing you submitted includes a variety of abdominoplasty scars. The type of incision does vary from surgeon to surgeon depending on training and experience. But the incision must be individualized to take into account individual differences. But most plastic surgeons will place the incision as low as possible, although there are exceptions when the amount of skin to be removed may not be as excessive as desired. Ultimately you need to feel comfortable with your PS and rely on him when designing the incision. Good luck!

George Lefkovits, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
3.8 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Selecting an abdominoplasty incision is based on personal choice

Most patient's these days want the scar in a low bikini type shape. The direction or location of the scar can be individualized for each patient. I usually have my patients wear what ever underwear bottom or bathing suit bottom that they want to wear after surgery and we plan the incision to be covered. Just as Coco Chanel said "Fashion fades, only style remains the same."

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Abdominoplasty Scars

Hi 2619anon

The choice of abdominoplasty scar depends on the patient's shape and the surgeon's preference.

Most of us try to place our abdominoplasty scars low on the belly, at the junction of abdominal skin and the mons (or the top of the pubic bone). The diagram on the top right is an uncommon place to site and abdominoplasty scar, and may be used in patients with other scars that compromise the blood supply to the abdominal skin, such as a long gall bladder scar.

Generally speaking, the more pear shaped a patient is (or the more work that they request on their love handles) the longer the scar will be for a good result. Patients with good skin (thickness, no stretch marks) can sometimes get away with just liposuction (+/- variations of liposuction such as Vaser) to create a slim contour down their sides.

Minimal access abdominoplasty only works for very few patients, and poorly selected patients are often unhappy with the results.

Good Luck

Dr Gavin Sandercoe

Gavin Sandercoe, MBBS, FRACS
Sydney Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 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.