Is the Incision for a Tummy Tuck Higher if There is Less Lose Skin Above the Belly Button?

Doctor Answers 10

Tummy tuck incision should be low

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Ideally, the placement of the tummy tuck incision should be low in order to hide it with underwear or bikini. If you have decreased amount of excess skin above the belly button, or if you are having a secondary abdominoplasty, the creation of a low abdominoplasty scar may require a small vertical scar where your belly button used to be. This is often preferred over a high ridding abdominoplasty scar. Your surgeon should be able to determine if this will be necessary prior to surgery. 

Tummy tuck questions

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The height of the scar depends on the pre operative planning. If you do not have a lot of skin, the surgeon may mark you a bit higher to avoid the possibility of a small vertical scar. An experienced surgeon should be able to tell you whether or not that is the case in your situation.

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Positioning of a Tummy Tuck Incision

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Much has to do with the dimension of your central torso.  It is my custom and practice to make the tummy tuck incision as low as possible.  It should also be sown in many layers and the patient must understand that strict adherence to a “jack-knife” position in bed is mandatory to produce the finest possible incision line.

Location of tummy tuck scar

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There are many factors that enter into where the scar will be including whether you have previous scars, so the best person to discuss with you where your scar would be is your board certified plastic surgeon. In general, though, I find that the amount of excess skin above the belly button does not affect the location of the scar much. Good luck to you.

Margaret Skiles, MD (retired)
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon

Tummy tuck scar location

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Without enough loose skin above the BB, the horizontal scar from a TT will be higher unless you have a vertical one.  The verticals are not my preference as they stick up from most 2 piece bathing suits.  Before accepting one make sure to see lots of photos.  For my patients, the horizontal without the vertical is the way to go.

Higher Incision of Tummy Tuck if Less Loose Skin

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   The incision can be made higher, or the incision can be made at the lower level with a midline vertical scar.  There are some other tricks in dissection technique, which can obviate the vertical scar.  Find the plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of tummy tucks each year.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Tummy Tuck Incision Placement

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The skin incision isn't really determined by the skin laxity above the navel usually.  Unless there is a unique situation, or special desire of the patient, the incision is placed where it can be best hidden below undergarments.  Of course, the incision placement is also determined by physical considerations of the patients too.



Tummy Tuck Scar Location

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The TT scar should always be as low as possible in order to conceal it beneath swim wear or panties. If the upper skin is not loose enough to allow movement of the bellybutton hole to a low enough point to remove the hole, then the hole is closed as a small vertical scar. This is visually much more acceptable than a high scar across the entire abdomen.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Tummy tuck incision does not have to be higher

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If there is less loose skin above the belly button, some surgeons chose to place the incision higher.  I prefer to keep the incision low and accept a small vertical scar from the old belly button hole.  The short vertical scar may be visible in a two piece bathing suit, but it is far less visible than a tummy tuck scar that is too high.

Michael S. Hopkins, MD (retired)
Albuquerque Plastic Surgeon

Is the Incision for a Tummy Tuck Higher if There is Less Lose Skin Above the Belly Button?

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Ideally, the skin from navel to breast bone will stretch down to the lower abdomen for a TT.  If not, several alternatives are possible. One is using higher than usual incision, but to me that makes little sense. Rather, I would have a short vertical incision where the hole from around the navel winds up, and if problematic, that can usually be addressed after a year under local anesthesia.

Other possibilities include lowering the navel, or leaving the upper abdominal skin as is. Each case has its own best solution. 

When you are ready for an in person consultation, RealSelf has listings of surgeons in your area. You should consider cross referencing the listings from the The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (plasticsurgery dot org). A listing in the ASPS website assures you that your surgeon is not only board certified,  but also is a member in good standing of the major plastic surgery organization in the U. S. Thank you for your question, best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

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.